Sunday, June 21, 2009

Neither Poverty Nor Riches: Summary, Conclusions, and Applications

From Neither Poverty Nor Riches by Craig L. Blomberg:

Biblical material summary:

Pentateuch – goodness of wealth and God’s desire to bless his people with material possessions

Law – restriction of use and accumulation of property

Historical – the negative effects of wealth consolidation

Prophets – economic injustice

Wisdom and Poetry – wealth as a reward for faithfulness and industry; warnings against the wicked rich and ill-gotten gain; justice will come at the end of time

New Testament – carried forth many Old Testament principles with the exception of material wealth as a guaranteed reward for spiritual obedience or hard work; all Christians should have access to houses and fields thanks to the generosity of other Christians

Bible – never views material poverty as good; God wills his people to distribute wealth more equitably; God and mammon are rival masters; almsgiving integral to kingdom of God (241-3)

Additional Conclusions:

  1. Material possessions are a good gift from God meant for his people to enjoy
  2. Material possessions are also one of the primary means of turning human hearts away from God
  3. A necessary sign of life in redemption is that of transformation in the area of stewardship
  4. There are certain extremes of wealth and poverty which are in and of themselves intolerable
  5. The Bible’s teaching about material possessions is inextricably intertwined with more ‘spiritual’ matters. (243-7)


  1. If wealth is an inherent good, Christians should try and gain it
  2. If wealth is seductive, giving away surplus is a good strategy for resisting the temptation to overvalue it
  3. If stewardship is a sign of a redeemed life, the Christians will want to give
  4. If certain extremes of wealth and poverty are intolerable, then those with excess (i.e., most readers of the book) will work hard to help those in need
  5. If holistic salvation represents the ultimate good, then our charitable giving should be directed to people or groups that minister holistically (247)

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