Did you know that Jesus talks about money more than heaven and hell combined?
No, He wasn’t asking for it, nor was He condemning it. He was helping people understand how to use it because how we earn and spend money says a lot about our hearts. Yet many Christians are completely clueless when it comes to what the Bible says about money.
This is the first of a series of posts about books that Christians need to read.
The Bible isn’t on any of these lists because I think you should be reading it daily anyways.
If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of sitting down and reading your Bible, I get it. The Bible can be very intimidating, especially if you’re reading a difficult translation. Maybe you need a Bible that is better suited to you. In this post, we compiled a list of the nine best Bibles for every stage of life.
If you don’t have time to get out a physical Bible and read it, you should check out the First Five App. It’s a free app for your phone that gives you a daily Bible study and a chapter of the Bible to read. And it all takes five minutes or less.
Getting back on track now –
Not only does managing money help shepherd our hearts, managing money the right way honors God and allows Him to use you to grow the Kingdom. But if your finances are in such disarray that you cannot obey or serve God, it’s time to get back on track.
These four books are a great read whether you’ve never heard of a budget or you’ve been successfully rocking a budget for years.
1. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
A few days after my husband proposed to me, he brought me a copy of this book and asked me to read it before the wedding. Being an avid reader, I said yes and jumped right in.
I was pretty surprised that it was a book about managing money because we had no money to manage. I was a full time college student with a part time job and he was a youth minister making $18,000 a year.
But I’m so glad that he was able to see past our current situation and set us on a good path for managing and communicating about money.
The primary focus of Financial Peace is get out of debt and live beneath your means, thus saving for the future.
Dave Ramsey wrote an accompanying workbook that is great to go through with your spouse if you are at the beginning of your debt free journey. It leads you through an incredibly thorough evaluation of your where your money comes from and where it is going so that you can be in complete control of it.
There is also a free printable copy of the very detailed budgeting form Dave Ramsey created at DaveRamsey.com.
And if you feel like you’ve got your money situation under control, but you’re looking for a way to teach your kids, he’s developed a system for them too!
2. Live. Save. Spend. Repeat. by Kim Anderson
This book is the most detailed, plain spoken book about finances I’ve ever read. Kim Anderson walks you through each step of getting your finances in order, and she does so with practical advice and relatable examples. She is a Christian and her faith is obvious without being overbearing.
Live Save Spend Repeat is a quick read because of it’s conversational tone, but you’ll probably want to buy a physical copy and reference it often. She lays out a step by step plan in each chapter complete with some hard hitting self evaluation questions, momentum milestones to help keep you focused, and fill in the blank budgeting examples. She has recommendations for budgeting methods based on several different levels of technological savviness.
In addition to the book, Kim has a free 24 page printable workbook that helps to keep you on track. It’s also great for those of you that don’t like to write in books. 🙂
To get the workbook, you just enter your purchase information on the Live Save Spend Repeat website.
3. How to Be Rich by Andy Stanley
I’m going to be honest here. When I borrowed this audio book from the library, I really thought it was a guide to becoming rich.
About five minutes into the book, I realized the book was about how rich Americans already are and how to use that wealth in a way that honors God.
I immediately felt quite convicted.
Now before you rule this book out because you think you aren’t wealthy consider this- according to a Forbes article, “the bottom 10% of Americans live better than the top 10% of people in Russia, Portugal, and Mexico.” To put those percentages into dollar amounts, the bottom 10% of Americans annual household income is about $12,000 according to a New York Times article.
I often get caught up in the hustle mindset – if I work harder, I’ll make more to be able to spend more to have more for me.
But that’s completely opposite of what the Bible says is good.
Luke 21:1-4 tells the story of a widow who gave all she had.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Jesus didn’t talk for the sake of hearing His own voice. So the fact that he deemed it worthy of speaking about means that this story should be listened to. We are supposed to give until it hurts. When is the last time you gave sacrificially? I don’t mean just the 10% that you budget each month for tithe. I mean when did you give your going out to eat money for the month to Compassion International and eat PBJs for dinner instead?
We don’t do that. We live comfortable lives and complain about a lack because our neighbor appears to have more.
Like the great philosopher/comedian Louis C.K. said,
“The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”
4. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
The book has been referred to as the “stock market bible” because it contains such a wealth of investing information. With that being said, it is not an easy read. It is a read in silence for complete concentration while holding a highlighter and a dictionary.
But it’s totally worth it.
Many people are afraid to invest their money because they don’t know how. This book will teach you how to make long term investments that will lead to greater financial security. It isn’t written from a biblical perspective, but it is based in wisdom. I mention this and put this book last on the list because this book is great if you already have the right mindset about wealth. If you’re already in the mindset to use your wealth to further God’s kingdom, then the more money you make, the more good God will do with it.
This book was originally published in 1949, but the version linked below is updated to be relevant for today’s market conditions. It also has commentary to provide current examples and parallels to help people apply Graham’s principals.
This book is a favorite of Warren Buffett, the world’s wealthiest stock investor. Benjamin Graham was Buffett’s professor at Colombia and was the most influential financial advisor he ever had.
If the prospect of diving deep into this book is too intimidating, try starting out with Warren Buffett’s Three Favorite Books by Preston Pysh. It is a concise summary of the three books that Buffett said shaped the financial decisions that made him over $39 billion dollars.
If you’d rather read the actual books, here are my affiliate links to Buffett’s other two favorite books.
I hope that these books will help you on your financial journey. They have helped my family a lot. Whatever else you read or hear about wealth, just remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:21.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
What are your recommendations for must read finance books for Christians?