John Avanzini Ministry

Financial Breakthrough


Financial Breakthrough

by John Avanzini

Abel Press
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Copyright © 2001 by International Faith Center, Inc., P.O. Box 917001, Ft. Worth, TX 76117-9001. Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. Contents and/or cover may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the express written consent of the publisher.

Financial Breakthrough. ISBN: 1-878605-55-0

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

For emphasis, the author has placed selected words from the Bible quotations in italics.

Abel Press
P.O. Box 702357
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74170-2357

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics


John Avanzini

Harrison House
Tulsa, OK

Copyright © 1992 by His Image Ministries,
P.O. Box 1057, Hurst, Texas 76053.
Printed in the United States of America.
All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.
Contents and/or cover may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any
form without the express written consent of the publisher.

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions
About Biblical Economics

ISBN: 0-89274-906-7
First Printing: 170,000 copies

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the
King James Version of the Bible.
Verses marked TLB are taken from The Living Bible. Copyright 1971.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton,
Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
For emphasis, the author has placed selected words from the Bible
quotations in italics.
Harrison House
P.O. Box 35035
Tulsa, OK 74153

We dedicate this book to
Patrick Ondrey,
our faithful son in the Lord.
John & Pat Avanzini

Question 1 Why should I obey the Bible about how I spend my
Question 2 Are tithes and offerings the same?…………………….15
Question 3 Should I tithe on my net income or on my gross
Question 4 How do I give a proper offering?………………………27
Question 5 Why do some people with money hold back in their
giving to God?…………………………………………………………………35
Question 6 Is it all right for me to give my tithe to the poor?…41
Question 7 Is it right to pay the tithe first when I have bills I
have promised to pay?………………………………………………………45
Question 8 Should I give to the Lord if my husband doesn’t
want me to?…………………………………………………………………….51
Question 9 Do I have to catch up all of my unpaid, hack tithes
in order to be right with God?……………………………………………57
Question 10 The Bible says we are not supposed to be the
borrowers, so why is there a mortgage on my church?…………..61
Question 11 Is it right for ministers of the gospel to have a
better-than-average lifestyle?…………………………………………….67
Question 12 Is it all right to make a pledge to God if you don’t
have the money in hand when you make it?…………………………73
Question 13 Does the Bible say God’s children should never
borrow money?………………………………………………………………..79
Question 14 Is it wrong for Christians to use credit cards?……85
Question 15 Is it all right to co-sign a loan for a friend or family
Question 16 Is it wrong for a divorced Christian to avoid paying
legal child support?………………………………………………………….95
Question 17 Is filing bankruptcy immoral or unscriptural?….101
Question 18 Is it all right for a Christian to save money?…….107

Question 19 How is it possible that my giving affects my
Question 20 Is there anything wrong with being rich?………..117

Answering the questions of God’s people is a legitimate
biblical function of the five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11).
Scripture tells us the Apostle Paul answered people’s
Now about those questions you asked in your last
letter: my answer is ….
1 Corinthians 7:1 TLB

I thank God for the new interest Christians are showing
in getting biblical answers to the questions of life. It is
evident that the true children of God have grown tired of
the canned answers they have been receiving from so-called
religious leaders. God’s people are now insisting on fresh
manna from His Word. They want straight answers, backed
up by Scripture.
In this book, you will find my answers to the twenty
most-asked questions about money. They range from
questions about the tithe all the way to whether or not a
Christian should use a credit card.
The answers on these pages are not the mere thoughts
of John Avanzini. To the best of my ability, I have based
them on God’s Word. If I had not, they would be of little
value to you, for the Scripture says:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly
furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 3:16,17


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

I have tried my best to mix sound biblical interpretation
with practical, common sense, for Scripture warns us to
avoid Bible teachers who give great discourses on
unimportant trivia.
… charge … that they teach no other doctrine,
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies,
which minister questions, rather than godly edifying….
1 Timothy 1:3,4

In selecting which questions to deal with, I have
avoided the foolish ones, for the Word of God warns
against answering them.
… avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and
contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are
unprofitable and vain.
Titus 3:9

Before you begin to read the contents of this book,
please allow me one courtesy. If, for some reason, you do
not agree with some of my answers, I most humbly ask you
not to judge me too harshly. I have not written this book to
divide us, but simply to answer your questions. Now, let me


Question 1
Question 1

Why should I obey the Bible about
how I spend my money?

Recently a man from Miami wrote, “Why should I let
the Bible tell me how I am supposed to spend my money? I
feel that if I earned it, I ought to have the right to spend it
the way I want.”
I would like you to consider some facts before you
agree with this person’s conclusion. As you know, it is
important for Christians to look at the Word of God as it
pertains to every part of their lives. We must do this
because the Bible is God’s word of instruction to those He
has saved. We are told that it is to be:
. . . a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105

Your Money Is Important to God’s Will
Since God’s Word shows us how to live the Christian
life, and seeing that the way we use our money is a large
part of our lives, it is imperative that we allow the Bible to
guide us in the spending of our money. In fact, the Bible
must be the final authority in all of our money matters, for
the very money we earn comes to us through God’s power.
That’s right! Money comes to us by God’s power, and
not by our own.

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
… thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he
that giveth thee power to get wealth….
Deuteronomy 8:18

There is no question about it. You did invest your time
and energy in earning your money. However, you must
remember that you are not like the children of this world.
You have been “bought with a price …” (1 Corinthians
6:20). You are no longer your own.
… old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Yes, you did spend your time to get an education. You
have worked hard to develop your own business. You have
vigorously participated in getting every dollar you have.
However, if you are in Christ, your finances have come to
you through a process totally different from the method of
the world. The Bible says you receive your money through
a supernatural miracle power that God has placed in your
hands. Not only did He give you the supernatural power to
get your wealth, He was also careful to tell you exactly how
He wants you to spend it.
Please notice that in the same verse that tells of our
God-given power to get wealth, God also tells us why we
have that power.
… [He] giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may
establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as
it is this day.
Deuteronomy 8:18

Let’s start looking at it God’s way. He has given you the
power to obtain wealth for the specific purpose of funding
the end-time harvest. If the Christians of this end time don’t
soon come into an understanding of this truth, some great

Why should I obey the Bible about how I spend my money?

problems will arise in the future.

God Will File Embezzlement Charges
Please note that I am not speaking only of the problems
that a lack of funds will cause. I am also speaking of the
problems the Christians of our era will face when they
stand in the judgment of God.
As most of you know, it is impossible to have a proper
judgment without filing an indictment against the accused.
With all of my heart, I believe the charge God will bring
against most Christians will be that of embezzlement.
Simply stated, God will accuse them of taking that which
belonged to Him, and using it for their own selfish

Seek Out God’s Purposes
Since your power to get money comes from God, it is
important for you to seek out carefully how He wants you
to spend it. It is obvious from Scripture that you should
spend a part of everything you earn to fulfill God’s purpose.
You will never be able to receive full satisfaction and
happiness from the money you earn until you have met
God’s expectations for it. Remember, sorrow-free money
comes from God’s own hand.
The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he
addeth no sorrow with it.
Proverbs 10:22

Now, that’s what I call good news! However, please
notice that something totally different happens to the person
who gathers money for the wrong purposes.

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a
snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which
drown men in destruction and perdition.
1 Timothy 6:9

The Scripture is clear. Money gained for the wrong
reason eventually leads to much sorrow and eternal

God Has a Right to Speak
With these things said, it becomes evident that God has
a right to speak to you about how you spend your money.
First, He has that right because He gives you the power to
get wealth. Second, if you gather and disburse money
improperly, it will be a big detriment to your happiness and
well being.
Remember, God has a purpose for every dollar He
places in your hands.

Become a Steward
I must say one last thing about this subject. It is
important for every Christian to acknowledge that the Bible
is the only authorized manual for living the proper
Christian life. As you read God’s Word, it will become
evident that He doesn’t look upon you as a proprietor. He
looks upon you as His steward. As we all know, Christian
stewards handle God’s money, not their own.
Now don’t let this truth trouble you, for God always
generously rewards His faithful stewards.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and
faithful servant [steward]: thou hast been faithful over a
few things, I will make thee ruler over many things….


Why should I obey the Bible about how I spend my money?
Matthew 25:21

God wants you to use a part of everything He puts in
your hands for your personal needs and pleasure. He is a
just Master, and He would not ask you to be His steward
without properly attending to your needs and wants.
Why should you obey the Bible about how you spend
your money? God has given you power to obtain your
wealth. If you don’t follow His instructions as to how you
spend it, your money will cause you sorrow, and it can
never bring you satisfaction.


Question 2
Question 2

Are tithes and offerings the same?

I continue to be amazed at the number of people who
are confused between the tithe and an offering. Even some
ministers of the gospel mistakenly interchange these two
words. One Sunday they may say, “It’s time to take up the
tithe.” The next week it may be, “It’s time to receive the
Tithing is not just another word for the Sunday offering.
The tithe and the offering are two different things.
First, the tithe is always a specified percentage of a
person’s increase. The offering is always a discretionary

The Tithe Is 10 Percent
It would be wrong to say, “Well, I think I’ll tithe $20.00
this month,” for the amount of the tithe is unchangeable. It
is always 10 percent of your increase. When you take time
to read what the Scripture actually has to say concerning the
percentage of the tithe, there is no room left for doubt.
When Abraham returned home with the spoils from his
victory over the five kings, in Genesis Scripture says he
… And he gave him tithes of all.
Genesis 14:20

When the writer of Hebrews gave an account of the

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

same event in the New Testament, he said Abraham gave
10 percent.
… Abraham gave a tenth part of all….
Hebrews 7:2

When you compare these two accounts, it becomes
obvious that when the Bible speaks of the tithe, it is
speaking of 10 percent of the increase.

The Offering Is a Discretionary Amount
The giver always determines the amount of his offering.
The New Testament states that it isn’t any set amount. Paul
made this absolutely clear when he explained to the saints
at Corinth how they should give.
Every one must make up his own mind as to how much
he should give. Don’t force anyone to give more than he
really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes.
2 Corinthians 9:7 TLB

The Apostle Paul said that an offering should reflect the
heart of the giver, and each individual Christian must
decide how much he will give. The one who receives the
offering is to use absolutely no pressure, for cheerful givers
add a special dimension of pleasure to God in each
Be sure to keep it straight. Tithes and offerings are two
completely different things. The tithe is a fixed percentage
of your increase. The offering is a flexible amount
regulated by your love for God.
There is another important difference between the tithe
and the offering. The tithe is a trust relationship. The
offering is a gift relationship.

Are tithes and offerings the same?

The Tithe Is a Trust
Let me illustrate the trust relationship of the tithe.
Suppose you were my steward in charge of caring for my
property, and I gave you $100.00 per day for expenses and
safekeeping. Let’s say I told you I wanted you to set aside
10 percent ($10.00) of every $100.00, and save it for me.
You were not to spend it under any circumstances. You
were to make sure it would be available to me whenever I
wanted it.
Suppose I also told you that with the remaining 90
percent, you could buy food, clothing, and anything else
you might need, as long as you continued faithfully to set
aside 10 percent for my account.
That would be a trust relationship. This illustration is
easy for a tither to understand, for it is parallel to the
relationship he shares with his God.
Here is an example from my own life. My house has a
lock on the front door. However, all of my trusted children
have keys to that lock. Because they have developed a trust
relationship with me, I have given them access to all of my
personal belongings.
In that same way, when you establish a trust
relationship with God through your faithful tithing, He will
give you access to heaven by opening the windows.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there
may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith,
saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows
of heaven, and pour you out a blessing….
Malachi 3:10


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

An Offering Is a Gift
The relationship you create with God through your
offerings is much different, for it is a gift relationship. An
offering is a present from you to God.
If you were to give me a present, I would have no right
to say, “Wait a minute. This gift just isn’t enough!” or, “I
think I need to see your financial statement, because this
gift looks a little skimpy.”
A gift is just that. It’s a gift. It doesn’t come forth by
command from the receiver, but it comes forth from the
heart of the giver.
Your offering should always be a statement of your love
and gratitude. Your tithe is always a statement of your
obedience to God’s command.

Taken or Given
There is yet another difference between tithes and
offerings. Scripture usually speaks of the priests taking the
… the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes
of the people….
Hebrews 7:5

On the other hand, a minister does not take an offering,
but receives it. It is clear from Scripture that we are to pay
our tithe and bring our offering.
… [Levi] paid tithes in Abraham.
Hebrews 7:9
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar….


Are tithes and offerings the same?
Matthew 5:23

The Key and the Seed
Let’s quickly look at one more difference between the
tithe and the offering. Your tithe is a key, while your
offering is a seed.
The tithe is a key because it opens the windows of
heaven for you. Remember, God’s Word clearly directs you
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there
may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith,
saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows
of heaven….
Malachi 3:10

Your offering is a seed. The Apostle Paul said that
when we give money to God’s work, it becomes more than
a non-living metal such as silver or gold. God actually turns
it into a living seed.
But remember this—if you give little, you will get
little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a
small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much.
Every one must make up his own mind as to how much
he should give. Don’t force anyone to give more than he
really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes.
2 Corinthians 9:6,7 TLB

Remember, tithes and offerings are not the same. Your
tithe belongs to God, but your offering is yours to give. The
tithe is essential to your having an open heaven. The
offering is an expression of your love for God.


Question 3
Question 3

Should I tithe on my net income or
on my gross income?

One of the questions people ask me most often
concerning biblical economics is, “How do I calculate my
tithe? Does the Lord expect me to pay my tithe on the
amount of money I receive after my payroll deductions, or
am I supposed to tithe on the total amount of my earnings
before any deductions are taken out? Brother John, which is
the right way?”
Maybe a simple illustration will help you better
understand what is actually involved. Let’s say you earn
$10.00 an hour and regularly work a forty-hour week. Your
gross income would be forty hours times $10.00 per hour,
or $400.00.
If the withholding (taxes, etc.) equaled 20 percent, your
employer would deduct $80.00 from your weekly pay of
$400.00. This subtraction would leave a net take-home pay
of $320.00.
If you figured your tithe on the gross pay of $400.00, it
would be $40.00. If you tithed on the net pay of $320.00, it
would be $32.00. Notice that the difference is only $8.00.
$10 per hour x 40 hours per week =

$400.00 gross pay

Tax at 20%=

-80.00 tax
320.00 net pay

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

Tithe on gross pay of $400.00 =

$ 40.00

Tithe on net pay of $320.00 =


Difference =

8.00 per week

While the difference of $8.00 is not an insignificant
amount of money, it is not a tremendous amount either. It’s
not as if we are talking about a difference of $100.00 per
week or more.
Please get this clear in your thinking. In this example,
the difference between tithing on the gross and tithing on
the net is only about forty minutes of work per week.

Trust in the Lord
Before we go any further, let me interject a verse of
Scripture that will help us keep our answer based in God’s
Word instead of in our own reasoning.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not
unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct
thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5,6

Here God warns us not to try to figure things out
through our own foolish wisdom. He tells us to seek our
answers from Him.

Put the Tithe First
Notice how specific God is in answering our question
about whether or not we should pay the tithe first.


Should I tithe on my net income or on my gross income?
Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the
firstfruits of all thine increase.
Proverbs 3:9

When you calculate your tithe, start by adding up
everything God has graciously given you since the last time
you tithed. The sum of these things equals the amount of
your increase. According to the verse we just read, the first
thing that should come out of your increase is your tithe. By
paying God first, you actually honor him with the firstfruits
of your increase.
When you pay your tithe first, get ready for a pleasant
surprise. It will amaze you when you see what God does for
your remaining money. It will go farther than the original
100 percent would have gone. The reason is that God will
rebuke the devourer and remove the curse from your
remaining 90 percent.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse … and prove
me now herewith….
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he
shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall
your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith
the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 3:10,11

With this fact in mind, let’s read the discourse from
Proverbs 3 again.
Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the
firstfruits of ail thine increase.
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses
shall burst out with new wine.
Proverbs 3:10

God promises that if you present the tithe first, you will
have plenty left over.

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

God or Caesar
Think about it. Will you put Caesar first by tithing after
your taxes are deducted, or will you put God first by tithing
before taxes? This decision is not a new one. Jesus faced
this same question during His earthly ministry. The
Pharisees tried to trip Him up by asking Him:
Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to
give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

Not only did our Lord’s answer startle them, but it also
established the biblical priority forever.
… Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why
tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto
him a penny.
And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and
They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them,
Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are
Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
Matthew 22:17-21

Please be careful how you interpret what Jesus
answered, for some mistakenly think His words mean we
should pay Caesar first. However, that is not at all what He
said. Jesus would never make a statement that refutes
Scripture. His words were always in harmony with the
written Word, for He was the Word made flesh.
This is what our Lord was saying, “If Caesar has tax
money coming to him, pay it, for we must render unto
Caesar that which is due him. We must also give God what
is due Him.”


Should I tithe on my net income or on my gross income?

United States Citizens Have It Easy
In the United States, our government declares that we
are to put God first. Our money boldly bears these words:
“In God We Trust.” Beyond that, the tax laws of our nation
consider our giving to God to be tax deductible. Uncle Sam
says you may subtract your giving before you calculate your
income tax.
Don’t lose sight of this important fact. If you insist on
paying the tithe only on your net income, you will end up
having to pay a larger amount of taxes to the government.

Sanctified Money
After over thirty years of ministry and Bible study, I am
convinced that tithing on the gross sanctifies your entire
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy….
Romans 11:16

When you tithe on the gross (firstfruits of your
increase), the remainder of your income becomes holy. It
becomes sanctified money. Every Christian knows that
sanctified money will always go farther than unsanctified
Those who lean to their own understanding may go on
tithing on their net income. However, those who do only as
“thus saith the Lord” will tithe on their gross income. When
they do, they will see their barns filled with plenty.


Question 4
Question 4

How do I give a proper offering?

In my speaking engagements around the country, I often
ask my audience, “How many of you know how to give a
proper biblical offering?”
Their response to that question has been surprising.
Very few Christians have any specific Bible information
about giving an acceptable offering.
When I speak of an acceptable offering, I am not using
those words loosely. Your offering must be accepted by
God before He is obligated to multiply it back to you.
The Bible says some specific things regarding how to
give offerings that are pleasing in the sight of God.
According to God’s Word, certain ingredients must be
present in an offering in order to meet His specifications.

Accepted Offerings
First, God doesn’t accept everything Christians place in
the offering plate. Now don’t misunderstand. Your local
church or the ministry to which you give may accept it, but
remember that churches and religious organizations don’t
promise to increase your offerings. Only God speaks of
multiplying your offering back to you. His Word does not
obligate Him to do so unless He first accepts it.


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

The Condition of Your Heart
Keep in mind that God is not nearly so interested in the
size of your offering as He is in the condition of your heart.
Please notice that when Jesus watched the people putting
their offerings into the treasury, He did not focus on the
amounts they gave. He closely watched how they gave their
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld
how the people cast money into the treasury…. Mark 12:41

We can also see in the words of the Apostle Paul that
God looks upon the heart of the giver. When he took an
offering for the Church at Jerusalem, Paul said:
For if there be first a willing mind, it [an offering] is
accepted according to that a man hath, and not according
to that he hath not.
2 Corinthians 8:12

Notice that this verse plainly says the Lord accepts the
offerings of those who are of a willing mind. If you are
willing, you will place no obstacles before your giving.

Some Are Not Willing
Some folks actually put up walls in their hearts that
keep them from giving when God speaks. They come to
church with the predetermined decision that they are not
going to give to certain projects, or that they will give only
a certain amount and not a penny more. Many of these
people will actually go so far as to leave their checkbooks
at home so that there will be no possibility that the moving
of the Holy Spirit will sway them at offering time.
God will never accept the offerings of these unwilling

How do I give a proper offering?

minds. The Scripture says He responds favorably to a
willing and cheerful heart.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so
let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God
loveth a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Knowing that God loves the cheerful giver, it should
become easy to allow your giving to be spontaneous—the
kind of giving that comes from a heart full of love. Your
attitude should be, “Lord, I see what you’ve done for me.
Now, it’s offering time, and look at what I’m going to do for

Giving With Gratitude
In order for God to accept your offering, you must not
only give it with a willing heart, but also in accordance
with what you possess.
. . . it is accepted according to that a man hath, and
not according to that he hath not.
2 Corinthians 8:12

This verse is not saying that your offering is accepted
only if it is given out of what you already have. If God
accepted an offering only if it were given out of what you
have, He would not accept a pledge, for a pledge is
something you do not yet have.
Please notice the words according to. They mean
“based upon.” God accepts your offering if you give it
based upon (or in accordance with) those things He has
already given you. God does not accept your offering if you
give it based upon the things you do not yet have.
You should always give your offering in gratitude for

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

what you have already received from God You should
never determine the amount of your gift by the fear of
insufficiency. Don’t focus on what is still lacking in your
life. The motivation for a proper offering always comes
from a realization of the goodness of God in what He has
already manifested in your life.
If you choose the amount of your offering based upon
the things you do not have, you are likely to hold back. In
effect, you will be penalizing God for that which you don’t
have instead of blessing Him for what He has done.
God does not cause your lack. Don’t penalize Him for
it. God will cause you to overcome your lack.
Don’t make the mistake of letting what you don’t have
hinder you from giving generously to your God, or He will
reject your offering. When you meet God’s scriptural
requirements in giving, you can, with confidence, know He
has accepted your offering.

How You Feel About It
Secondly, your offering should express the feelings in
your heart.
It is important to understand this powerful biblical
principle. Whatever moves you, also moves the Lord. In the
same way, whatever fails to move you, won’t move God.
. . . we have not an high priest which cannot be
touched with the feeling of our infirmities….
Hebrews 4:15

A hundred dollar bill does not impress God any more
than a one dollar bill. A billion dollars is of no more
significance to Him than a penny. How in the world could

How do I give a proper offering?

the God who owns the whole earth be impressed with the
value of money? There is only one possible way to impress
God with the value of money. He will have whatever
feeling you have about it.
Each time you prepare to give an offering, take time to
reflect on the amount of the gift you are about to give. Be
certain it is an amount that projects your gratitude. Before
you release the money, be sure it is enough to convey your
innermost feelings.
Remember, $100.00 can be an enormous gift to
someone who earns minimum wage, but it may be
meaningless to someone who has thousands. If your
offering doesn’t stir emotions inside of you, don’t expect it
to touch the Lord’s heart. If your offering is insignificant to
you, it will be insignificant to God.
You can be sure that when your giving produces an
emotional response within you, it will produce a personal
response from our Lord.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw
in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto
them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath
cast more in, than all they which have cast into the
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of
her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Mark 12:42-44

Give for the Right Reason
Thirdly, you must give your offering to accomplish
God’s purpose. Over the years, I have noticed that much of
the money Christians give into the ministry has a selfish

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

motive attached to it. It is easy to deceive yourself when
you give. That is why you must be careful not to attach
strings to your offerings.
You should give every offering to accomplish God’s
intended purpose, and not your own. The purpose for your
offering should not be to build a tennis court so that you
can have a less expensive place to play tennis, or to build a
new church camp so that you can save money on your
vacation costs. These may be God-ordained projects, but if
your motive in giving is to benefit yourself, God will not
accept your offering. To give a proper offering, you must
never give it for your own benefit. You must always give it
to fulfill God’s objectives.

God’s Purpose Is Clear
The Lord is asking us to follow His simple plan. Look
closely at what God is telling us in the following verses.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord
shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not
believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they
have not heard? and how shall they hear without a
And how shall they preach, except they be sent?…
Romans 10:13-15

God’s plan is to evangelize the world. That is His
purpose. Next time the offering plate is passed your way,
make sure your giving is in line with His agenda. As
Romans 10:15 says, we should give so that we can send
those who preach.


How do I give a proper offering?

Harvest Size Is Established
Fourth, your offering establishes your future harvests.
Always keep in mind that when you give to God, a double
blessing takes place. First, you fund God’s purpose.
Secondly, your harvest is set in motion.
Remember, the law of the harvest never fails to reward
the sower.
. . . He which soweth sparingly shall reap also
sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also
2 Corinthians 9:6

Money given to God always becomes seed in His sight.
It takes on the explosive potential of harvest.
If you are a part of a good, soul-winning church, take
every opportunity to sow into that good soil. When your
favorite Bible teacher blesses you with the Word of God, by
all means, sow into that good ground. As Christian
television reaches out to your community, bless that station
with your offerings. Every time you plant your money in
good ground, you are planting a seed that will bring forth a
future harvest.

Give With Confidence of a Harvest
Be certain of your harvest by giving in such a way that
you meet God’s requirements:
1. You must have a willing heart. What God has done for
you should motivate your giving.
2. Be sure you attach your emotions and feelings to your
offerings. Remember, if it is insignificant to you, it will

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

be insignificant to God.
3. Always give into God-ordained projects that honor
Christ. Never give to accomplish your own purpose.
4. When you have done these things, your offering will
become seed that will surely bring forth a bountiful


Question 5
Why do some people with money
hold back in their giving to God?

Question 5

If the Lord suddenly blessed you with unlimited
finances, what would you do with the money? Would you
become a great supporter of God’s work, or would you keep
most of it for yourself?
It may come as a surprise, but many of the wealthiest
Christians are actually stingy when it comes to giving to the
Lord. No doubt, time will reveal that some people with
money who call themselves Christians have never really
been born again. They might show an interest in feeding the
hungry or clothing the naked. They might even give
something toward the church building program. However,
many of them finance only that which brings them glory or
allows them a nice tax break.

Money Can Be a Barometer
Most people never realize it, but what we do with our
money is a barometer of our spiritual life.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be
Matthew 6:21

Wealthy people can use their money to do many
wonderful things that exalt our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. However, many, if not most of them, never really

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

glorify God with their substance. Money actually causes
some to have a false sense of security that eventually leads
them to depend upon their wealth rather than on their Lord.
This dependence upon money is the reason so few get
saved from the ranks of the rich.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many
wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble,
are called.
1 Corinthians 1:26

Paul’s observation is still true today. Not many wealthy
or powerful people are turning their lives to the Lord, much
less their wealth. In over thirty years of ministry, I have
noticed that a few prosperous people are saved. However,
the majority of people who receive salvation are those who
are barely getting by.

Some Are Ignorant
Many ask the question, “What about the wealthy
Christian who refuses to support God’s work? Is he really
Be careful not to make a hasty judgment on that
question. Some wealthy Christians may have only a limited
knowledge of what the Bible actually teaches about their
financial responsibility to God. The reason for this is that
many churches are reluctant to teach what the Scriptures
say about money.
Don’t misunderstand. The preacher will mention money
when there is a building program or a special stewardship
campaign. However, the people do not receive regular
teaching about finances.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….


Why do some people with money hold back in their giving to God?
Hosea 4:6

Ignorance has caused many wealthy Christians to feel
that tithing would erode their wealth. Their lack of biblical
knowledge has left them with the mistaken idea that tithing
will cause them to lose money.
Knowledge of Scripture will end ignorance. Good Bible
teaching on finances will quickly convince most people that
giving to God actually increases their wealth! Even more
than that, such teaching shows them that giving to God
helps shield their wealth from the things that would try to
deplete it.
And I [God] will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither
shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field,
saith the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 3:11

Some people mistakenly believe their money is their
own. They look upon tithes and offerings as an unfruitful
tax that preachers try to levy against their wealth. These
folks don’t know that not giving properly to God sets them
on the road to poverty.
… there is [a person] that withholdeth more than is
meet, but it tendelh to poverty.
Proverbs 11:24

I am convinced that if the men of God would
consistently teach what God’s Word says about getting
money to their people—rather than teaching about finances
only when they need to get money from their people—there
would be more than enough money available to meet the
need of every Christian endeavor.

Times of Insufficiency Affect Us

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

I have observed something else about Christians who
have money, but do not give. The problem with some of
them is not that they don’t love the Lord. It goes much
deeper than that. Their inability to give goes back to a time
of deep poverty in their past. During that time of scant
rations, they failed to support God’s work. They lived
through a time when their personal needs were so great,
they did not feel they could afford to give.
These folks may have experienced tremendous financial
pressures while they were getting an education or building a
business. Perhaps an economic reversal brought them to the
brink of bankruptcy. Maybe they had more children than
their income seemed able to support. They could have faced
any number of possible hardships that caused them to feel
they could not give.
Their problem with giving probably wasn’t evident to
them when it first started. It manifested itself only after they
came out of their poverty. Hear the Word of the Lord as He
explains the principle they put into motion by not giving
when they had little.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also
in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in
Luke 16:10

Give, Even If It Hurts
Please hear me on this matter. It is of the utmost
importance that you establish and maintain a pattern of
giving when you go through hard times. You must keep on
giving, even if that which you present to God is meager.
For the Word of God says that if you are not able to give
when you have little, you will not be able to give when you

Why do some people with money hold back in their giving to God?

have much.
I thank God every day that my wife and I made it a
practice to give when we had virtually nothing. I remember
the times we shared groceries with those in need when our
own table was almost bare. Because we were faithful when
we had little, we have no problem giving to God today.
Child of God, you must make it a practice to tithe and
support God’s work, even when your own supply is short.
In tight times, don’t be tight-fisted with the Lord, for the
spirit of stinginess will take hold of you, and it will not let
go when times get better.

Cast Off the Spirit of Stinginess
If you have failed to give to the Lord in past times of
shortage, don’t despair. You can still overcome the spirit of
stinginess that came with that type of behavior. Confess to
God your past inconsistency in giving. Firmly rebuke the
spirit of stinginess. Do this by boldly speaking that it must
leave. When you speak to it, use the name of Jesus, for
every knee must bow to His name.
. . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of
things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the
Philippians 2:10

Then ask God to forgive you. Promise Him you will
start giving as often and as much as you can.
God knows the longing of your heart. He will give you
deliverance from the spirit of stinginess or any other spirit
which takes hold of you. With deliverance will come a
fresh, new start.


Question 6
Question 6

Is it all right for me to give my tithe
to the poor?

“Our church has plenty, Brother John,” wrote a lady
from Wisconsin. “Wouldn’t it be okay with God if I just
gave my tithes directly to the poor?”
Let me begin to answer this question by saying that
where you present the tithe to God is not at your discretion.
Scripture is clear regarding this matter. You are to give the
tithe to the house of the Lord.
Now, before some of you get upset with me, let’s
examine the biblical reasons for making this statement.
Look again at Malachi 3:10:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse….
Malachi 3:10

Please notice the word all. You are to use no part of the
tithe for such things as educating your children, making
personal trips to the mission field, or to buying blankets for
the homeless. The Word of God says we must bring all the
tithe into God’s storehouse.
Where is the storehouse of God today? Malachi 3:10
says that when the tithe is brought to the storehouse, there
will be meat in God’s house.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there
may be meat in mine house….
Malachi 3:10


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

The storehouse is clearly God’s house. Compare this
statement with the Word of God from the Book of Timothy.
… that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave
thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living
God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1 Timothy 3:15

There it is in black and white. The church is the house
of God.
Two things about the tithe never change.
1. The tithe is always 10 percent.
2. The tithe always goes to God’s house.
Scripture establishes those two constants.

Lending to God
You may have never before heard what I am about to
say. When you give to the poor, God does not look upon
your gift as being a tithe, a seed, or an offering. God looks
upon your giving to the poor as a personal loan to Himself.
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord;
and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
Proverbs 19:17

Contributing to the poor is completely different from
the types of giving with which most Christians are familiar.
In fact, it is not even giving. Contrary to most teaching, it
does not carry with it the promise of a multiplied return to
the giver.
Think this thought through with me. When a person
takes out a legitimate loan, he doesn’t have to pay it back at
enormous interest rates such as 30, 60, or 100 percent.

Is it all right for me to give my tithe to the poor?

Many people repay the exact amount that they borrowed,
especially when they receive the loan from a friend. God’s
Word says not to charge usury from a brother. (See
Deuteronomy 23:19.)

The Tithe Is Not a Loan
When you feel led to give to the poor, God looks upon
your giving as a loan. He takes on the personal
responsibility of seeing to it that you receive back what you
have given.
The tithe is totally different. It is not a loan from you to
God. The tithe is the Lord’s property. According to
Scripture, it never belonged to you in the first place.
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the
land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto
the Lord.
Leviticus 27:30

Now don’t misunderstand. Your church may decide to
use a part of your tithe to help the poor. However, it is not
to go directly from your hand to the hand of the poor. You
must first place it into the house of God, for the tithe
belongs to God.

Don’t Turn a Deaf Ear
In no way am I encouraging you to turn a deaf ear to
those in need. Don’t be like the man who came to me after a
recent meeting and said, “I’m never going to give to the
poor again. From now on, I’m going to give only where I
can get a good harvest!”
I immediately warned him to take heed of what God

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

says in Proverbs 21 before he put his plan into action.
Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also
shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
Proverbs 21:13

If you turn a deaf ear to the destitute, God says He will
someday turn a deaf ear to your cry for help. Don’t invite
unnecessary problems into your life. Always be generous
with your offerings to those in need.

God Promises Unending Opportunity
Sharing with the poor is clearly very important to God,
for He said we would always have an opportunity to do so.
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever
ye will ye may do them good….
Mark 14:7

We find this practice of lending to God through giving
to the poor throughout Scripture.
But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his
brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of
compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in
1 John 3:17

It is proper to feel compassion for the poor. However,
you must keep in mind that the tithe should never become
designated giving. Always do the scriptural thing, and let
the church decide what to do with your tithe.
Can you give your tithe to the poor instead of to the
local church? The Word of God says no!


Question 7
Is it right to pay the tithe first when
I have bills I have promised to pay?

Question 7

When I talk about putting the tithe above everything
else a person owes, many Christians become upset with me.
They say, “Brother John, how can God expect me to tithe? I
don’t even have enough money to pay my bills. God must
know I have signed legal contracts. I’m sure He wants me to
have a good testimony, and to do that, I must pay my bills
on time!”

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
Perhaps we should approach this question a little
differently. Would it be all right for you to skip the house
payment because the car payment was due? You may say,
“Why, that would be foolish, Brother John. I have an
obligation to both of them, and as an honest Christian, I
have to pay all of my bills.”
That’s right. It wouldn’t be right to pay one and not pay
the other.
When you begin to understand what God’s Word
actually says about tithing, your view of this whole
situation will drastically change. You will realize it is just
as wrong to say no to God as it is to say no to the landlord,
car payment, or utility bills.


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

Whom Did You Owe First?
There is no question about it. All Christians have a
moral and scriptural obligation to pay the bills they owe,
but let’s get our priorities straight. Long before you ever
talked about buying a house, purchasing a car, or turning on
the lights, God had established a valid claim on 10 percent
of your income. He clearly stated that it belonged to Him.
. . . all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the
land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto
the Lord.
And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he
shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
Leviticus 27:30,31

Notice that God looks at your tithe as a bill you owe
Him. He charges a late fee if you don’t bring it to Him on
time. Why, God’s late fee on the tithe is much stiffer than
the late fees on any of the other bills you agreed to pay. He
charges 20 percent. It sounds as if God believes your tithe
belongs to Him, and He expects to get it on time.
“Well, Brother John, why should I pay attention to that?
Isn’t God a loving God? Surely He won’t hurt me for not
You had better pay attention to what the Word of God
says. If you don’t tithe, you hurt yourself, for the windows
of heaven close over non-tithers. How will you ever pay off
that mountain of bills you owe if your heaven is closed?
Your health, job security, even the tires on your car, all
need the blessing of God that He gives to those who live
under an open heaven.


Is it right to pay the tithe first when I have bills I have promised to

Don’t Make the Big Mistake
It is a big mistake to believe you must pay your bills
first, and then if there is anything left over, pay your tithes
last. God established His instructions to tithe at the
foundation of the earth.
God expected Adam and Eve to tithe. If you remember,
it was their job to take care of all of the trees in the garden.
However, God did not allow them to eat from one
particular tree. They bestowed their labor on it, but they
could not eat of its fruit. It was their tithe to God.
God expected Cain and Abel to tithe. The Bible tells us
that Abel brought the firstlings and the best of his flock.
That was the first and the best of his increase, or his tithe.

God Has First Claim
God has always had first claim on man’s income. His
claim began with the first man, Adam, and it continues
today. Let there be no confusion as to which obligation you
should pay first. God’s instructions are clear on this matter.
Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the
firstfruits of all thine increase.
Proverbs 3:9

God says to pay Him first out of what He has placed in
your hands. When you do, your health and your entire life
will be blessed and peaceful.
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my
For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they
add to thee.


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
Proverbs 3:1,2

Don’t follow the path of reason, for it will keep the
benefits of an open heaven away from you!

Give God That Which Is His
When He told the Pharisees to give Caesar the things
which are Caesar’s, and to give God the things which are
God’s (Matthew 22:21), Jesus gave a tremendous word of
clarification on this subject. We are to give to the landlord
the things that are his, not the things which are God’s. We
are to give to the power company the things which belong
to the power company, not the things which are God’s. We
are to give to the automobile financing institution the things
that are theirs, not the things which are God’s.
Even though you may have made purchases on credit,
you must never forget that before you give Caesar what is
his, you must first render unto God that which is His. He
says the firstfruits belong to Him.
I cannot tell you which bill you should pay after you
pay the tithe. The rent, the car note, the phone bill—you
will have to decide that for yourself. However, I can say on
the authority of God’s Word that you should pay the tithe
first, for it is to be the firstfruits of all your increase.

The Greatest Claim
Thousands of people in the Church don’t tithe because
they don’t understand their relationship to the One who has
given them life. God has a greater claim on your finances
than anyone. His claim is greater than any bill you owe, for
He is your Creator, Savior, King, and Lord!

Is it right to pay the tithe first when I have bills I have promised to

Which obligation should you pay first? By all means, it
should be your tithe!


Question 8
Question 8

Should I give to the Lord if my
husband doesn’t want me to?

In the past several years, people have asked me this
question dozens of times. “Should I pay tithes if my
husband doesn’t want me to? Should I give offerings if my
spouse has told me not to do it?”
Let’s look at first things first. A proper biblical marriage
is one in which the couple bases important decisions on
God’s Word and then mutually agrees upon them. A
marriage based in Christ is more than a relationship in
which one partner dominates the other.
Strange as it may seem, the only Bible verse that some
husbands seem to know is, “Wives, submit yourselves unto
your own husbands….” (Ephesians 5:22).
Please note that the verse just before this one is equally
as important. It says husbands and wives should submit
themselves “one to another in the fear of God.” (See
Ephesians 5:21.)
There is a big difference between a husband who is the
head of his home and one who is the dictator of the home.
The scriptural job of the husband is not shouting orders to
his wife like a military general. If he is a biblical husband,
he will not rule with an iron fist. He will operate in great
love and will allow the Scripture and the Holy Spirit to
guide him.

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

The Head and the Heart
Someone gave me some real wisdom several years ago.
That person told me a husband should, indeed, be the head
of the home. However, for that home to operate properly,
his wife should be the heart of the home. When you find a
combination like that in a marriage, you have found a rocksolid home. It will be heaven on earth.

Proper Husbands Are Not Terrors
As the leader in the home, the husband should avoid
being a terror to any good work his wife or children might
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the
Romans 13:3

There is no question that tithing is a good work. Giving
to God is always a good work. Feeding the hungry or
sheltering the homeless is a good work. If he wants to
exercise biblical authority in household matters, a man will
never rebel against doing what is good and right in God’s
Time and time again I see wives who love the Lord, are
active in their churches, and have powerful Christian
testimonies. However, they cannot give to God because
their husbands won’t allow it. The Word of God warns
those husbands not to be a terror to good works in their
homes. Proper husbands should do everything in their
power to promote tithing and giving offerings.


Should I give to the Lord if my husband doesn’t want me to?

Let Your Wife Help You
How wonderful it would be if these rebellious men
would realize that their godly wives can help them stay out
of trouble. Let me tell you about a woman of the Old
Testament who saved her husband’s life by doing God’s
will. She was Zipporah, the wife of Moses.
The Scripture tells us that God was ready to release
Israel from Egyptian captivity. Moses was His chosen man
to bring about their deliverance. However, Moses had left
one important matter undone. He had never circumcised his
On the way from Midian to Egypt to deliver the
children of God from bondage, the Lord spoke to Moses
and told him he would soon die if he didn’t immediately
circumcise his son.
And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the
Lord met him, and sought to kill him.
Exodus 4:24

For some unexplained reason, Moses hesitated in doing
what God had clearly commanded. Thank God for his
obedient wife, for she stepped in and circumcised the boy
Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the
foreskin of her son….
Exodus 4:25

Let me speak a word of wisdom to the husband who
doesn’t have a heart for tithing. I strongly recommend that
you allow your wife to lead you in this good work. Her
obedience to God’s Word in this matter may be the only
thing that will keep you from being laid off your job. It may

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

even be that the open heaven which your tithe would cause
will someday allow the healing power of God to save your
physical life.

There May Be an Alternative
If you cannot reach a compromise, and your husband
continues to say no to your tithing and giving of offerings,
don’t give up hope. There may be an alternative. You may
consider tithing on whatever household funds you have in
your control. If you work outside your home and earn your
own paycheck, you should be able to tithe on it.
Keep a list of God’s blessings, and when you have
established a track record of the miracle-working power of
the Lord in stretching the money you tithe on, show your
husband the goodness of God. Surely when he sees how
God’s hand has moved on your behalf, he will change his
decision and allow you to give the Lord what is rightfully

The Power of Two
Always do your best to have total agreement in your
home. A husband and wife will see the best results when
they are in agreement. Remember, one can chase a
thousand, and two will put ten thousand to flight. (See
Deuteronomy 32:30.)
Share with your husband how powerful agreement can
be. Show him from the Bible what Jesus said about it.
. . . if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any
thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my
Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 18:19


Should I give to the Lord if my husband doesn’t want me to?

If your husband has never given his heart to Christ, pray
fervently for his salvation. Your fervent, effectual prayers
will accomplish a great deal.
… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
availeth much.
James 5:16

If you and your husband have both confessed Christ as
your Lord and Savior, and your husband still won’t allow
you to tithe, here is my recommendation. Have a serious
discussion with him concerning what kind of marriage he
envisions. Is it a Christian marriage, one that is being led by
the Bible? Does he understand what the Bible means when
it tells both husband and wife to submit to each other?
Does he believe a marriage should be filled with mutual
respect and loving negotiations and compromises? When it
comes to giving to God, is he leading the family with good
ideas, or is he basing his decisions on God’s own Word?
Every wife should have the right to ask for clarity on
these matters. Do you have a Christian marriage or a
heathen marriage?
If you cannot reach a compromise, do not tithe or give
offerings behind your husband’s back. You should lovingly
and respectfully keep the issue before him. Bring it up to
him as often as possible.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Remember, it takes
patience as well as faith to obtain God’s best.
… be … followers of them who through faith and
patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6:12


Question 9
Do I have to catch up all of my
unpaid, hack tithes in order to be
right with God?
Question 9

The question of back tithes gnaws at the consciences of
many Christians. Those who gave their hearts to Christ as
children and have always obeyed the Lord in tithing have
no cause for concern. However, what about the person who
was saved as an adult? What about his earnings of all those
years before he started tithing? Does God require that he
pay those back tithes?

The 20 Percent Penalty
We have already discussed the Word of God in
Leviticus 27:13 regarding the Lord’s demand of 20 percent
interest on unpaid tithes. (See Question 7.) Does that mean
you must add 20 percent to all your unpaid tithes and
immediately pay the whole amount in order to be right with
Those who have studied the issue generally agree that
God does not require New Testament saints to catch up
their back tithe. The born again are not commanded to look
at their past years of income, add 20 percent, and pay the
This conclusion has a biblical basis. Look closely at this
often-quoted verse.

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there
may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith,
saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows
of heaven, and pour you out a blessing….
Malachi 3:10

God simply states that if we begin to tithe faithfully, He
opens heaven over our lives. He doesn’t say anything about
our having to catch up everything from the past. The Lord
asks only that we begin, and He reinstates our open heaven.

Provision and Protection
Every Christian needs to know that God has presented a
clear plan regarding paying the tithe. When we violate that
plan, we sin. God even identifies the kind of sin we
commit. He calls it “God robbing.”
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye
say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Malachi 3:8

As we all should know, the blood of Christ washed
away our sins. At the time of our new birth, we became
new creatures in Christ. However, for many people, a year
or more may have passed before they began to tithe. Others
may tithe only sporadically, and some may have stopped
tithing altogether.
When God gave His Son as the ultimate remedy for sin,
He also made Jesus our ongoing advocate (lawyer) to help
us gain forgiveness for any sins we might commit after
. . . if any man sin, we have an advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
1 John 2:1


Do I have to catch up all of my unpaid, hack tithes in order to be right
with God?

The Bible says we are saved by grace. However, if we
occasionally fail to obey God’s instructions, Jesus will
plead our case with the Father to obtain our forgiveness.
I hope you will get this knowledge into your spirit. If
you belong to the Lord, you should be a tither. Tithing is
one of His clear commands to you as His child. If for some
reason you have failed to tithe, you must immediately begin
anew. Start tithing today. Just as surely as God forgives any
other sin, He will forgive all the back tithe and open the
windows of heaven over you. He promises to extend a
helping hand to those who have drifted away from tithing.
… Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith
the Lord of hosts….
Malachi 3:7

In the same way that He made provision for our other
transgressions, God has made a way back for the one who
has robbed Him of the tithe.

Get Into a Good Church
Be sure you attend a church where you will get the
whole counsel of God. Many Christians do not receive
proper teaching in the ways of God. Some churches teach
only a limited gospel. The message of salvation is
wonderful, but some pastors rarely preach anything else.
Christians also need to hear about sanctification,
justification, discipleship, the second coming of Jesus, the
doctrines of faith, and the deity of Christ. They should also
receive regular, in-depth teaching on biblical economics.
I hope your church teaches the whole counsel of God.
However, if it doesn’t, and no church near you does, get
some reliable books on biblical economics and study them.

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

As an obedient believer, tithing
uncompromised part of your daily walk.




Do unpaid back tithes have to be caught up? No. God
has made provision to cancel all past-due tithes
automatically, and to rebuke the devourer. Once you begin
to tithe faithfully, He marks your account paid in full and
opens the windows of heaven, freely releasing His abundant
If you are not a faithful tither, start tithing today. Watch
how quickly things change for the better in your life when
you live under an open heaven.


Question 10
The Bible says we are not supposed
to be the borrowers, so why is there a
mortgage on my church?
Question 10

Many Christians are puzzled about church mortgages,
especially when they read God’s promise that they are to be
the lenders and not the borrowers.
… thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt
not borrow.
Deuteronomy 28:12

“If that scripture is true, why is my church strapped with
building payments?” asked a viewer of our television

Like Begets Like
Let me begin by saying that no God-called pastor
carries a note on the building because he prefers a mortgage
to a debt-free church. I have never met a preacher who pled
with his congregation, “Please don’t pay off the church
mortgage. Let’s stay in debt so that we can pay all of our
money in interest instead of using it to win the lost.”
We need to understand that church mortgages exist
because of certain biblical principles. The first one is the
principle that like always begets like.
Apple trees bring forth apples, and watermelon seeds

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

will produce watermelons. Genesis records that at the time
of creation, God programmed all the creatures to bring forth
only after their own kind.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living
creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and
beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Genesis 1:24

This same principle is also at work in other realms. A
person who is friendly attracts friends (Proverbs 18:24).
The law of the harvest declares we will reap what we sow
(Galatians 6:7).

Mortgaged Houses Cause Mortgaged Churches
You may wonder what all of this has to do with your
church mortgage. People who live in mortgaged houses,
drive mortgaged cars, and live up to their eyeballs in debt,
will usually cause the institutions that serve them
(churches, schools, etc.) to have mortgages as well. It works
like the domino effect. Their debt impacts every aspect of
their lives.
In a community where nearly all the people are in debt,
the city will have to issue bonds (debt) to build new
schools, roads, and utilities. Their industries will have to
borrow in order to do business.
Here is the bottom line. If mortgaged people make up
the membership of an organization, that organization will
usually carry a mortgage on its physical facility (lands,
buildings, equipment).
On the other hand, institutions in areas where the
population is essentially debt free are usually also debt free.
The same principle works with churches. If they have

The Bible says we are not supposed to be the borrowers, so why is
there a mortgage on my church?

mortgages on their homes, most of the members are going
to use the greater part of their cash for paying their lenders
instead of helping their church pay off its mortgage.
Let me say it another way. People who live in debt will
probably belong to churches that are also in debt.

The Church Is a Body
In addition to the law of like begets like, there is
another reason that churches have monthly payments. As
believers, we are not many bodies, but we are many
members of one body. Read what Paul wrote to the church
at Corinth:
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and
all the members of that one body, being many, are one
body: so also is Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12

When the church doors open, with our natural eyes we
see many bodies, or people. However, when the Lord looks
into the church, He sees all of the people as if they were
one person. Let’s read the rest of what Paul said:
And whether one member suffer, all the members
suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members
rejoice with it.
1 Corinthians 12:26

When we consider this verse, it should come as no
surprise to find that the church as a whole will be just as the
members are. The way in which the members purchase
their real estate, automobiles, business equipment, and so
on, will be the same way in which the church purchases
those items.


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

I am aware that there are exceptions to every rule, but
most churches will mirror the financial philosophy of the
majority of their members.

How to Pay Off the Church
How do we get our churches out of debt? One pastor
approached the situation like this. He said, “I’m going to
ask my people to take out second mortgages on their homes
and give the proceeds to the church so that we can pay off
the church debt.”
I couldn’t help but discourage this action. I said,
“Pastor, stop and think. What would that program really
accomplish? The debt burden would still be on the body.
The money of your people would still be going to interest
instead of to the great commission.”
After many years of seeking a workable solution to the
problem of church debt, God has led me to this conclusion.
The best way to cancel the debt of a church is to
concentrate on canceling the debts of its members.
My prayer is that every pastor throughout the world will
put into practice the following words. Dear Pastor, if you
want your church building out of debt, get your individual
church members out of debt. Focus on getting the Smiths,
the Johnsons, and everyone else mortgage free, and then
just watch the principles of the Word go to work and
quickly remove your church debt.
Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth,
the same shall he receive of the Lord….
Ephesians 6:8

You will find that whatever happens to the majority of
the members of the church will also happen to the church

The Bible says we are not supposed to be the borrowers, so why is
there a mortgage on my church?

corporation. If you have worldly members, you will have a
worldly church. If you have spiritual members, you will
have a spiritual church. If you have debt-free members, you
will have a debt-free church.
Churches have mortgages because their members have


Question 11
Question 11

Is it right for ministers of the gospel
to have a better-than-average

In recent years the media has persistently bombarded
the nation with so-called exposes about ministers of the
gospel that they feel are experiencing too much of the good
life. These reports have caused uninformed Christians to
question whether or not the men and women of God—
apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers—
should receive more than just an average wage.
Let me begin by saying I am in no way defending the
financial abuse of which some are guilty. However, when I
answer a question about the proper lifestyle for God’s
ministers, I am duty-bound to do so according to the Word
of God.

Tradition and God’s Word Differ
Most people are amazed when they find that the
Scripture addresses the issue far differently from how they
would imagine.
Traditionally, most people believe the lifestyle of a
minister of the gospel should be average, or probably even
below average. Many Christians and non-Christians alike
hold this view. However, God’s Word doesn’t tell it that

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

One of the hardest things to accept is that God’s Word
on this subject will probably not make much difference to
many folks because of their traditional beliefs.
. . . ye made the commandment of God of none effect
by your tradition.
Matthew 15:6

If we are to have God’s mind about the lifestyle of His
ministers, it is evident that we will have to go beyond the
traditions of man.

Double Pay for the Men and Women of God
It is interesting to read what the Bible has to say about
how the Church is to pay its ministers. It’s much different
from the traditional view.
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of
double honor, especially they who labor in the word and
For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox
that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of
his reward.
1 Timothy 5:17,18

The Word of God clearly states that ministers are to
receive double honor. The word honor doesn’t mean we are
simply to open the car door for Pastor or take off our hats in
his presence. The word honor speaks of the money he is to
receive for his labor among us. The Bible is talking about
how much we should pay our spiritual leaders. Those who
labor in the Word and doctrine should receive at least
double pay.
Notice that after saying that ministers should receive
double pay, Paul backed up his statement by quoting from

Is it right for ministers of the gospel to have a better-than-average

the Old Testament.
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the
Deuteronomy 25:4

Then, he further emphasized his statement by quoting
the words of Jesus. These words clearly spoke of wages.
… the laborer is worthy of his hire….
Luke 10:7

Only the spiritually blind could miss the fact that Paul
was speaking of financial remuneration!

The Blind Cannot Lead the Blind
Satan wants to keep the Church from grasping this
truth. He knows exactly what will happen when we
financially bless the ministers of the gospel. When he leads
a better-than-average lifestyle, a pastor will be able to lead
his congregation into a better-than-average lifestyle. The
devil would rather see your pastor live in need, never
realizing the prosperity God promises. Satan knows that if
the blind leads the blind, they will both end up in a ditch.
He also knows if a poor man leads poor people, they will
all stay in poverty.
… if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the
Matthew 15:14

This truth operates between a pastor and his
congregation at every possible level. If the pastor has never
been baptized in water, chances are no one in his
congregation will ever be baptized. If the pastor is not born
again, there is a big chance that nobody else in his church

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

will find the Lord. You see, a pastor can’t lead his people
where he has not been.
This truth operated in my own life. For fully half the
years of my ministry, I did not believe God gave the gifts of
the Holy Spirit to us today. During that time, I never
brought even one of my church members into the fullness
of the Holy Spirit. It was not until I personally experienced
His fullness that I was able to bring it to the members of my
How does that truth relate to your pastor’s lifestyle? If
he walks in constant shortage, he will not be able to lead his
congregation into biblical abundance.

Being Average Is Not God’s Best
Someone told me a long time ago that average is twice
as good as the worst, and half as good as the best. If he is
ever going to lead you into God’s best, your man of God
must first experience the best. If he has to live his whole
life with average or below-average finances, most of his
congregation will have to live there with him. If your pastor
is not well paid, it is unlikely that he will be able to lead
you into God’s abundance.
Allow your man of God to move up financially. Let him
live in a nice house. It won’t hurt him to have a good, new
car. New clothes will not corrupt him and his family. Think
about it. Will he be a better person if you keep him in an
old car and used clothes? I think not.
Lift up your voice so that other members of your church
can hear you. Let them know that you feel Pastor should
have extra funds to take his family on special vacations.
Encourage them to help you financially bless him. When

Is it right for ministers of the gospel to have a better-than-average

they do this, a church will immediately see a dramatic
change in the financial condition of family after family in
the congregation.
Keep God’s leader in abundance, and he will be much
better qualified to lead his people into God’s abundance.
Remember, your man of God cannot take the congregation
into spiritual dimensions he has not experienced.
Should the men and women of God have better-thanaverage lifestyles? Tradition says no. The Word of God
says yes.


Question 12
Is it all right to make a pledge to
God if you don’t have the money in
hand when you make it?
Question 12

The biblical concept of vows and pledges has stirred up
the church of our day. Even with everything people are
teaching about it, most folks are not searching the Word of
God for the truth.
At the outset of this discussion, let me say that pledges
and vows are biblical ways of giving. Just because we don’t
totally understand something is not a good reason to judge
it as unscriptural. The Bible contains several different kinds
of pledges, vows, and pacts that God not only honors, but
actually promotes.

A Faith Promise
One type of pledge or vow is commonly called a “faith
promise.” This is a promise to give a certain thing or
amount by faith. The person who makes a faith promise
asks God to provide the thing he wishes to give. This type
of pledge is a special blessing to those who don’t have the
funds they would like to give.
A faith promise is the type of pledge Hannah made
when she asked God for a son.
And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid,
and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt
give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him
unto the Lord all the days of his life….
1 Samuel 1:11

By using a faith promise, people who would never be
able to give any sizeable amounts of money to God can get
started doing so. Here is an example of how it works.
Suppose you desire to give $1,000.00 into the work of
God. However, you don’t even have 10 percent of that
amount. Don’t give up on the idea of giving the $1,000.00.
Just use the faith promise form of giving. Pray to God and
say, “Lord, you know I don’t have $1,000.00, but I believe
you can give me $1,000.00. When you do, I promise
faithfully to put it into the ministry.”
Your first vow of $1,000.00 may seem like a
tremendous leap of faith. However, if you just think about
it, you will realize it isn’t any harder for God to provide
$1,000.00 than it would be for Him to provide $1.00.
The hardest part of a faith promise is passing the money
on into the ministry after God provides it. You see,
producing $1,000.00 takes no special effort on God’s part.
The only possible problem in the process is getting the
$1,000.00 through the person who asked for it and into the
hands of the church or ministry to which he promised it.

Faith Promise Turns Into Cash Giving
Today my wife and I are able to give to the Lord in
ways we would have thought impossible just a few years
ago. When we reviewed our giving at the end of last year,
we looked at each other and asked, “How is it possible that
we were able to give that much? Why, just a few years ago

Is it all right to make a pledge to God if you don’t have the money in
hand when you make it?

we were living on less than we now give.”
How did we get this situation to take place in our lives?
Believe it or not, we started with faith promises. We simply
promised God, and then we faithfully kept our promises. As
we fulfilled each one, the money we gave became seed.
Then that money seed began to multiply. The more we
promised and gave, the more we received from God until
our cup literally began to run over. If it worked for us, it
will work for you.
… God is no respecter of persons.
Acts 10:34

A Conditional Promise
We call another form of pledge or vow a “conditional
promise.” This is a promise to give a certain thing to the
Lord if He meets a certain request. This is the type of vow
Jephthah made.
And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If
thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Amnion into
mine hands,
Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the
doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from
the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I
will offer it up for a burnt offering.
Judges 11:30,31

Jephthah made a conditional vow. He said if the Lord
would provide deliverance, he would give Him the first
thing that stepped out of his door when he returned home
How could this type of vow apply to you? Let’s say you
have a piece of land or a house to sell. Your conditional

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

vow might be that if the Lord helps you sell the house, you
will give Him an extra 10 percent of your profit. (Please
notice that you will also owe a tithe on the profit. You are
promising an additional 10 percent on the profit when it
It might work for a farmer like this. He might pray,
“God, if you help me have an exceptional harvest this year,
I’ll put an extra $2,000.00 into the building program at our
Another way it could work for you might be this one.
Let’s say several people are in line for a promotion at your
place of employment. You might make the following
conditional promise. “Lord, for one year I’ll give you half
the increase I will receive with the new position if you will
help me get the promotion.”
These are only a few examples of conditional vows.
Once you try this method of pledging and see how effective
it is, you will use it again and again.

A Time-Delayed Promise
Another kind of pledge or vow is the “time-delayed
promise.” Let’s say God is directing you to give something,
but you don’t have it with you. Perhaps you are watching a
telethon on a Christian television station, and you feel God
wants you to give a certain amount. You call the station;
however, you can’t hand them the money at that moment.
You will have to send it in the mail. So, you promise to
mail it the next day.
Notice that your gift won’t be given instantly. It will
take a few days for it to get to the station. What you have
made is a time-delayed promise.

Is it all right to make a pledge to God if you don’t have the money in
hand when you make it?

Maybe you want to give a certain amount, but the
money is in your savings account. You promise it, but you
can’t actually give it until you go to the bank and make a
withdrawal. This is the same thing. It’s a time-delayed

A Word of Warning
There is always a danger when a person makes pledges
or vows. Many times a person will make a vow, and then he
will forget all about it and never fulfill the promise.
Forgetting pledges is easy since most Christian ministries
do not send collection letters.
Hear God’s Word on this important subject.
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it;
for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou
shouldest vow and not pay.
Ecclesiastes 5:4,5

Some people read this scripture and understand it to say
we should never make vows to God. That conclusion is
wrong, and it will rob you of the blessing that proper
pledging brings to the child of God.

The Way to Make Vows Work
There is a way to make a pledge and not miss the mark.
Don’t wait until you have the entire amount you pledged
before you give. Start giving toward your vow as soon as
possible. Give the first extra money you get as partial
payment of your pledge. If you keep up this process, before

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

long you will have paid the entire amount.
If you make a faith promise, a conditional promise, or a
time-delayed promise, the most important thing is to make
it with a pure and honest heart before God. If you do, God
will always help you fulfill your promise.
Is it all right to make a pledge to God if you don’t have
the money when you make it? The answer is yes. It is all
right to make a pledge. However, it is not all right to make
a promise to God and then not pay it.


Question 13
Question 13

Does the Bible say God’s children
should never borrow money?

“Brother John, the Bible clearly states that we are to
‘owe no man anything.’ Does that mean I should never take
out a loan?”
I have received many letters asking this question.
Basing your understanding of God’s Word on just one verse
can be a dangerous way of interpreting Scripture. To keep
from misinterpretation, it is important to see each
individual verse in its immediate context, as well as in the
context of the whole Bible. This is one reason that God’s
Word calls for two or three witnesses to establish truth.
. . . In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every
word be established.
2 Corinthians 13:1

Here is a perfect illustration of the importance of this
principle. A few years ago, the Lord instructed me to wage
the war on debt. I have no doubt that He spoke this
command into my heart. However, I would never have been
able to follow His leading successfully if I had based the
whole strategy on just a few words from part of one verse.
Before we can establish biblical doctrine, we must be sure
we have a full picture of what God is saying.

Keep Things in Context

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

Many people are concerned with the five-word
statement from the Book of Romans, “Owe no man any
thing.” Please notice that these five words are only part of
the verse. Romans 13:8 actually has nineteen words, and
beyond that, there are fourteen verses in the chapter.
To understand properly what the apostle was saying
with those five words, we must look at the complete verse
and the verses that surround it. That is where we will find
the biblical context of the words, “Owe no man any thing.”
Pay close attention to the verse immediately before this
Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom
tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear;
honor to whom honor.
Romans 13:7

Upon close examination, we find that the command
from verse 8 to owe no man anything has to do with
rendering honor to whom honor is due, taxes to whom
taxes are due, and customs (import/export tariffs) to whom
they are due. These scriptures are speaking of our
relationship with the governing authorities and our speedy
payment of taxes and customs. It is not a command never to

Good Men Borrow
A verse from the Book of Psalms applies to our
discussion. It is what I call a neglected verse. For some
reason, nobody ever uses it when discussing the biblical
principle of borrowing. As you read it, notice that it speaks
of the difference between a good man’s attitude toward the
lender and the evil man’s attitude.


Does the Bible say God’s children should never borrow money?
Evil men borrow and “cannot pay it back”! But the
good man returns what he owes with some extra besides.
Psalm 37:21 TLB

Before we read that we are to “owe no man any thing,”
and then decide that God’s Word tells us we should never
borrow, let’s realize that God’s Word also says, “… the good
man returns what he owes….” This verse clearly implies
that the good man borrowed something.

The Bible and Borrowing
The Old Testament is specific about lending and
borrowing. For example, it says not to lend for extremely
long periods of time. Israelites were not to charge one
another interest. Every seven years and every fifty years,
they were to cancel all debts.
God gave special laws about borrowing oxen and
borrowing grinding stones. There were even rules about
collateral and how the lender was to hold it. For instance, if
you took a man’s blanket as collateral, you had to return it
to him each night so that he wouldn’t be too cold. You
couldn’t totally take away a person’s grinding stone or one
of his vital farm instruments. If a man used his millstone as
collateral, God’s law required you to return it to him when
he needed to grind meal.
It is obvious that God understood people would have to
borrow from time to time, or He would never have
addressed the subject so extensively. Nowhere in Scripture
does God absolutely prohibit the borrowing of money!

A Season Is Appointed to Everything
Solomon gave some sound advice we can apply to

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every
purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up that which is planted.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,2

Solomon said our lives should have cycles of events
and activities. For example, you should not stretch out the
payments on your house so that it takes all your life to pay
it off. If you have to borrow when you buy a home, you
should set aside a reasonable season of time to pay for it.
Most people make the mistake of paying the smallest
payment possible when they borrow. Worse than that, many
people attempt to borrow the greatest amount they possibly
can for the longest period of time they can. They do so,
usually because they fall into the trap of multiple debts.
Multiple debts come from borrowing to purchase
everything from vacuum cleaners to vacations. Before long,
these people lose control of their finances, and they find
themselves literally fulfilling the Word that says:
… the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

Don’t Encumber That Which Belongs to God
You should always remember that when you are in
debt, you are no longer your own. If the Lord were to
inspire you to give a large gift to a ministry, and you were
up to your eyeballs in debt, you would not be able to give it.
As long as you owed that money, your allegiance would
have to remain divided. You would have to say no to God
and yes to the creditor, for your debt would make you the
servant of the lender.

Does the Bible say God’s children should never borrow money?

Debt not only makes you the servant of the lender, but
also constantly prohibits you from being everything God
wants you to be.
Does the Bible say God’s children should never
borrow? No, it doesn’t say that. However, it does warn us
against a lifestyle that keeps us continually burdened with
financial obligations.


Question 14
Question 14

Is it wrong for Christians to use
credit cards?

If you look back through history, you will find that the
greater part of the Church has opposed almost every new
concept or invention to come along. When I first entered
the ministry, I was amazed when I read some of the
sermons that had been preached around the turn of the
century. Of all things, some ministers had preached against
automobiles. They said cars were instruments of the devil
sent for no other reason than to scare the horses. This
mentality still prevails today among some people. It is
common knowledge that the Amish people still hesitate to
ride in mechanically powered vehicles.
When radio came along, you would have thought Satan
himself had arrived. Preachers began to say the prince and
power of the air was the radio (Ephesians 2:2). Movies
were even worse. Surely they were the mark of the beast
(Revelation 19:20). With the advent of television, many
preachers immediately renamed it the hellevision.
Without even putting up a fight, we literally handed
over to Satan the mass media and modern communications!
Instead of rushing in and taking the radio frequencies for
our Lord, we left them for the world to take. Instead of
seeing the potential for motion pictures to present the
gospel story, we handed them over to Hollywood without
any opposition. If Christians had applied for television

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

channels when they were virtually free, we would now
dominate that most powerful media. Instead, we must
spend millions to buy just a few channels back from the
devil’s crowd.
Many years ago when I became born again, very few
people ever placed personal checks in the offering plate. I
can remember when offerings were mostly cash. Christians
usually didn’t give checks to the church. They prided
themselves on using only real money.
Personal checks were new, so the Church was against
them. Some thought they might even be the mark of the
beast. However, if you were to look at an offering today,
you would find that most of it is usually in the form of
personal checks.

An Electronic Check
Amazingly, the Church today has that same old
mentality about credit cards. Folks constantly ask me if it is
wrong for Christians to use them.
First of all, let me make one clarification. Banks don’t
actually issue credit cards. They issue bank cards. Their
users turn them into credit cards when they decide not to
pay them off at the end of each month.
I believe with all of my heart that a plastic bank card is
nothing more than an electronic check. Instead of writing
out a personal check on a piece of paper, we use a plastic
bank card to write out an electronic check. This practice is
not evil. It simply transfers funds electronically from the
bank of the giver to the bank of the receiver.


Is it wrong for Christians to use credit cards?

Bank Cards Help Win the Lost
Bank cards (credit cards) have helped greatly in world
evangelism. Many Christian ministers who share the gospel
around the world would not be able to do so if they had to
carry cash. I cannot imagine how I would safely carry
enough currency to take care of my needs for thirty days in
Australia, Africa, or Asia. Once the word got out that I was
carrying cash, the crooks would say, “Here comes
Avanzini,” and there would go my money. If it weren’t for
bank cards, I would have to hire a full-time security guard
to protect me from being robbed.
I believe evaluating bank cards is easy. If people use
them correctly, they will be a blessing. If they misuse them,
they will become a curse.

Bad Checks Hurt the Gospel
You may not realize that people can abuse personal
checks just as easily as they can abuse bank cards. Our
ministry accepts cash, personal checks, or bank cards at our
book table. When a person pays us with a bank card, we
can process the transaction immediately and receive
approval or disapproval as to whether or not the person has
funds to cover his purchase. Because of this ability, we
don’t usually lose any money on bank card sales.
However, personal checks are a totally different story.
We regularly receive and deposit checks that the bank
returns to us marked “insufficient funds.” Then we not only
have lost the price of the books, but also must pay a fee for
processing the bad check.
Sometimes a bank will return a check to us indicating

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

that the account has been closed for six months. Sometimes
we even receive checks back from a bank with a notation
that no such account ever existed! The truth is, bad checks
hurt ministries financially more often than bank cards do.

Use Your Bank Card Properly
There is nothing wrong with using your bank card as an
electronic check. Just pay off the balance at the end of each
month. Never use a bank card as a quick loan. If you do,
you will soon be paying 18 to 20 percent interest on the
Scripture tells us to:
Let all things be done decently and in order.
1 Corinthians 14:40

It is not decent, nor is it orderly behavior to pile up
debts on a credit card. Such a practice can lead only to
disaster. Never forget what Jesus said:
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth
not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have
sufficient to finish it?
Luke 14:28

God wants you to be responsible in your use of money,
even when you spend it in the form of a bank card.
Is it all right for Christians to use credit cards (bank
cards)? The answer is yes. Should Christians misuse credit
cards? The answer is no. We should use credit cards only
for one purpose, to transfer funds electronically.


Question 15
Question 15

Is it all right to co-sign a loan for a
friend or family member?

How would you respond if one of your friends or
relatives called and said, “I have a big favor to ask. The
bank will give me a loan of $5,000.00 to start my new
business if I have a co-signer. Will you co-sign the note for
On the surface it sounds so simple. You don’t have to
put up any money. You won’t be making the payments, and,
best of all, you will be blessing a friend. You answer,
“Sure. I’ll be glad to sign for you.”
Before you sign your name on the dotted line, you need
to consider a few facts. First, co-signing gives you all the
liabilities of a loan without any of its benefits. The lending
institution always gives the money to the person requesting
the funds, not to the co-signer. Then, if your friend fails to
make the monthly payments, the responsibility of making
them falls squarely on your shoulders.

The Bank Probably Knows Best
Many people fail to realize that when the bank requires
a co-signer, it is a clear signal. They have determined that
your friend or relative is not likely to pay the money back.
Keep in mind, the bank made its decision based on an
extensive investigation of your friend’s credit report. They

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

checked his qualifications for running the business he
proposes to start, and they have checked his income
potential and expenses.
Remember, the bank wants to loan money. That’s how
they make their money. So if they have turned down your
friend, it is for a number of good reasons.
When he told your friend or relative he needed a cosigner, in essence the banker was saying, “Bring us
someone who qualifies to pay back this loan, and we will
lend the money.” This fact will become evident to you
when the bank insists on examining your credit record.
They will require you to be credit worthy before they will
allow you to co-sign. They will base their decision to loan
the money to your friend solely on your own ability to pay
them back. Make no mistake about it. The bank will look to
you for payment.

You May Need a Loan
Another reason to think twice about co-signing a loan is
the possibility that an emergency or an opportunity may
arise, and you may need to borrow some money yourself.
The banking community may not want to lend you any
money if you have co-signed for someone else, for until
your friend has repaid that loan, the bank considers it to be
your loan.
I recommend that you pause a moment before cosigning for anyone. Consider carefully what you have just
learned. Are you really better qualified than the bank to
judge the credit worthiness of your neighbor? Have you
ever seen his credit report? Is it worth losing your money as
well as your friendship if he fails to repay?

Is it all right to co-sign a loan for a friend or family member?

A Case When Co-signing Might Work
There is one circumstance when co-signing might be
beneficial. If someone already owes you money and is not
paying you back, you might consider going to the bank with
him and helping him take out a loan so that he can repay
you with the money. Make it clear that you will co-sign the
loan, but he will be responsible for every payment. Let him
know this will give him a chance to build up some good
credit. Then, from the very first month, you must become
personally involved with seeing to it that he pays each
payment on time.
Please note: Do not spend the money from the loan
until your friend has repaid the bank. If for some reason he
defaults on the note, you will have to use the money he
borrowed from the bank to pay it off yourself.
This plan is only a suggestion and will not work in
every instance.

The Word of God Speaks
Let’s now turn to the Bible for some input. What does it
have to say about co-signing?
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast
stricken thy hand with a stranger,
Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art
taken with the words of thy mouth.
Proverbs 6:1,2

Surety means “to guarantee against loss, or to be a cosigner.” If you co-sign the note, the Word of God says you
have become caught in a trap, or snared. Hear yet another
verse of warning against co-signing.

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
A man void of understanding striketh hands, and
becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
Proverbs 17:18

The Bible says co-signers don’t have any understanding.
This statement makes it clear that it is better not to be a cosigner.

Those Who Are Caught
I can hear some say, “Good advice, Brother John, but
what about me? I’ve already co-signed a note for someone.
Does the Bible have any instruction for me?”
Yes, the Bible also answers that question. After
warning against becoming surety for your friend, the Bible
goes on to say:
Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou
art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself,
and make sure thy friend.
Proverbs 6:3

Go to the person with whom you have co-signed and
say, “You know I am concerned about your well being. It
must be evident, because I co-signed your note to help you
get the loan you needed. However, I didn’t go far enough. I
don’t want you ever to need a co-signer again, so I
personally want to help you manage your finances.”
In effect, you are becoming his financial advisor. Offer
to meet with him weekly or monthly. Make sure you
schedule your meetings on the day he receives his
paycheck. Diligently help him plan and maintain his
budget. Continue to emphasize that your goal is to help him
so that he will not need a co-signer in the future. Then be
sure to guide him in his budgeting so that there are always

Is it all right to co-sign a loan for a friend or family member?

funds available each month to make the payment on the
loan you have co-signed.
The Bible says clearly that you should not waste any
time getting this program started.
Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine
Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter,
and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:4,5

Don’t let another day go by until you have addressed the
issue. The Word says you are like a deer in the cross hairs
of the hunter’s rifle when you have co-signed a loan. Move
quickly to release yourself from this jeopardy.
Should you co-sign for a friend or relative? The Bible
says an emphatic no!


Question 16
Is it wrong for a divorced Christian
to avoid paying legal child support?

Question 16

“The courts have ordered my former husband to pay
child support,” wrote a lady from Los Angeles. “He calls
himself a Christian, yet he doesn’t send the money. Does
the Bible say anything about his responsibility?”
Let me begin by saying my answer will not be a
discussion of whether or not divorce is right. We will be
talking about the economic dilemma that many Christians
face by either paying or trying to collect child support.
I will be addressing this question with some first-hand
knowledge, for divorce has touched some of my own
children. With each of those divorces came the problem of
either paying or collecting court-ordered, child support

Impossible Demands
Sometimes the law can seem unfair when it comes to
child support. I have known fathers that the courts ordered
to pay child support every month, yet they allowed them to
see their children only two or three times a year. The law
ruled that some fathers had to pay the support, and never
allowed them to see their children!
In some cases, the court imposed financial demands that
were nearly impossible to pay. I know of a father who did

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

not contest the divorce. He agreed to every demand. Then
the court issued him an order for a monthly payment
amount which has now become impossible for him to pay,
because his circumstances changed drastically. He was in
the construction industry and earned large sums of money
for a long period of time. Then a sudden downturn to the
economy brought the building industry to a stop. This
father is now on unemployment, but his child support
payment has remained the same.
We could go on indefinitely, discussing the unfairness
of the system to the father. However, we must also
understand the tremendous difficulty the mother and
children may face if they don’t receive their monthly

Think of Your Children
The children of the marriage did not cause the divorce,
and they should not have to suffer because of their parents’
decision. So often the divorced father adds to his children’s
confusion and misery by his lack of financial support. His
unscriptural behavior causes the mother and children to live
in constant insufficiency.
Day after day their mother must say things such as, “No,
we can’t afford to buy you new shoes. No, we can’t go to
McDonald’s tonight. Daddy didn’t send the check.”
It’s difficult for children to believe that God the Father
is their heavenly provider when their own earthly father
fails to provide for them.

Look to the Word of God

Is it wrong for a divorced Christian to avoid paying legal child

Let’s go beyond these circumstances and see what the
Bible has to say about child support. To begin with, it tells
us to obey the laws of our land.
Put them in mind to… obey magistrates….
Titus 3:1

We are to obey the magistrates, or those who legislate
our laws. Please don’t misunderstand. This verse doesn’t
mean we can’t appeal unfair legal decisions. However, keep
in mind that until a legal court order lowers your support
payment, the law requires you to pay it. Court-appointed
child support is not optional for the Christian. The Word of
God instructs him to obey the law.
The Bible also says we who are believers have an
obligation to support our children.
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for
those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is
worse than an infidel.
1 Timothy 5:8

The Bible plainly says the person who does not provide
for the children he brought into the world has “denied the
faith.” Scripture declares such a person to be worse than an
unbeliever, or an infidel. It further says:
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:
but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the
Ephesians 6:4

Some fathers may say, “Well, Brother John, I don’t get
to bring them up anymore since the divorce took place, so I
don’t feel I should have to pay.”
That’s no excuse! Even after the divorce you are to care
for them to the best of your ability, or you are worse than an

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics


Some Godly Advice
I have some advice for those who pay child support. It
may someday make all the difference in the world to your
relationship with your children.
If I were paying child support, I would make every
check out to my former spouse and clearly write the names
of my children in the memo section of the check. I would
write a personal letter to the children, make a photocopy of
it, and mail the original letter along with the check each
After the bank returned the check to me, I would
photocopy both sides. I would neatly arrange the
photocopies of each check and every letter in a scrapbook.
Along with those two items, I would also keep a record of
every visit I had with my children.
Then, if they ever asked, “Daddy, why didn’t you love
us and care for us?” or said, “Mother said you never sent
any money to help us out after you and she were divorced,”
I could show them the scrapbook. I could tell them that
even though I couldn’t always do everything I wanted to do
for them, I always did everything I was able to do.

You Have a Responsibility
Is it wrong for a divorced Christian not to pay legal
child support? Yes, it’s wrong. No matter how unfair you
may think the judge has been, it is your obligation.
Regardless of how your former spouse may be spending
that money, you must financially support your children, and

Is it wrong for a divorced Christian to avoid paying legal child

thereby show them your love.
Hopefully a day will come when you can sit down with
your children and show them that even though the court
didn’t allow you to spend every day with them, you were
still a good Christian and did what the Word of God
commanded you to do.
For those mothers who struggle to collect child support,
please know that as I have written this chapter, I have been
praying for you. If your children’s father is a Christian and
still won’t pay, send him a copy of this book. Ask him to
read this chapter. It is possible that the Holy Spirit will
convict him concerning his God-ordained responsibility to
his children. I pray that when he reads it, he will start doing
that which is right in the eyes of God.


Question 17
Question 17

Is filing bankruptcy immoral or

With legal bankruptcy at an all-time high, an everincreasing number of Christians are writing and asking,
“Brother John, is it a sin for a Christian to file bankruptcy?
Does the Bible teach against it? Is it immoral?”
Please don’t think I am trying to escape the issue by
giving you these two answers. However, they are both
1. Yes, filing bankruptcy is an unscriptural action.
2. No, taking bankruptcy is not an unscriptural action.

Unscriptural Bankruptcy
Let’s look first at when bankruptcy would be
unscriptural. It would always be unscriptural behavior to
file bankruptcy for the sole reason of not paying your bills.
God’s Word tells us we are to be honest in business matters.
Christians, of all people, are not to defraud their fellow
man. Paul clearly stated this principle to church leaders.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which
are without….
1 Timothy 3:7

We need to have a good record, both inside and outside
the church. The community should have confidence that we

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

are honest people.
Let me say again, if you file bankruptcy simply to avoid
paying your bills, it is wrong.

The Origin of Bankruptcy Law
Contrary to common belief, modern-day bankruptcy
law does not find its origin in man’s system. U.S.
Bankruptcy law came to us by way of British Jurisprudence
(law), which bases its bankruptcy law on a principle found
in the Holy Bible.
The bankruptcy codes of today are rooted in Leviticus
25. A close reading of that chapter will reveal two special
processes that God instituted and made a part of the Mosaic

The Seven-Year Release
One of those ordinances was the seven-year law of
release. The law automatically cancelled all debts at the
end of every seven years. No matter how large or small they
were, the law permanently cancelled every liability at that
God did not establish this law because He wanted to be
unfair to the creditor, for any lender who had any sense at
all would simply not issue a loan for longer than seven
This release had two positive effects. It kept the nation
from long-term borrowing, and it took care of
uncontrollable debts. If a man owed money after the sevenyear period had passed, this rule automatically cancelled his

Is filing bankruptcy immoral or unscriptural?

Please notice that this law wasn’t for the purpose of
allowing deadbeats to get out of paying their legal
obligations. God designed this law for a totally different
reason. It was a merciful way of releasing those who just
could not pay. It also showed the creditor exactly how to
handle the debt of someone who experienced an unforeseen

The Jubilee
The second ordinance was called the year of jubilee. It
took place after seven cycles of seven years (49 years). The
people would hold a special celebration in the fiftieth year,
and they would release every debt and obligation. This
release was so complete that the original owner would
receive back every piece of property he had ever owned.
In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man
unto his possession.
Leviticus 25:13

Christians should realize that the bankruptcy law is not
a tricky, legal maneuver to avoid paying bills. When a
person approaches it in honor and righteousness, it is a
form of God’s grace extended to the business affairs of His
children. Bankruptcy comes from a foundational truth
found in Scripture, and it exists for our benefit.

Scriptural Bankruptcy
With this said, maybe now you will understand why I
must say that in certain circumstances, bankruptcy can be
both scriptural and moral. Extreme disability is a good


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

How do you treat the debts of a man who is suddenly
involved in a horrible accident? Suppose his spinal cord is
severed, and he is in a coma. He no longer has the ability to
earn a living. Since he did not get into that accident to keep
from paying his bills, releasing him from his debts would
be the only Christian thing to do.
What about a wife whose husband suddenly deserts her,
leaving her with a houseful of children? Suppose he goes to
another state and she can’t locate him or make him pay
child support. The bills he ran up before he left were in
both their names. Now, the collectors are knocking at her
door. Her only outlet may be to say, “It’s out of control. I
have to file bankruptcy, for there is no way I can pay these
bills and still feed my children.”
The same problem can occur if the wife deserts the
husband. I know of a man whose wife ran up enormous
credit card bills. Then she left him holding a financial
bagful of unpaid debts which he could not pay. After
looking at all of his options, he had no choice but to file for
What about the victims of natural disasters such as
earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes? What if a disaster
suddenly destroys a new home, but the mortgage is still
Think about it. Legitimate circumstances can arise
when there is no foreseeable way of financial recovery.
Should the law require a person to pay and pay until he and
his family are utterly destroyed?
When there is no way to pay a debt, when every cent a
person can earn won’t be enough to pay the bill, God’s
Word says, “Release him!”
Please hear me on this point. I am not suggesting that

Is filing bankruptcy immoral or unscriptural?

bankruptcy is a biblical way to avoid paying your legal
debts. Instead, we should view it only as a merciful release
for those who, because of uncontrollable circumstances,
have no possible hope of ever paying back what they owe.

A Word to the Lender
If you are a lender faced with a loss through a properly
motivated bankruptcy, let your attitude toward the debtor be
tempered with compassion. When you are dealing with
people in the dire straits of financial collapse, ask yourself
what the Lord would do in this situation. Instead of trying
to get blood out of a turnip by extracting every penny you
have coming, remember there may come a day when you
are totally unable to pay what you owe. The Word of God
promises that the mercy you show now, may be shown to
you later.
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also
to them likewise.
Luke 6:31
… whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Galatians 6:7

Let me say again that I am not advocating bankruptcy.
However, I do believe that in certain situations, God
approves of the process.
Bankruptcy can be either moral or immoral, scriptural
or unscriptural, according to the reason behind it.


Question 18
Question 18

Is it all right for a Christian to save

Recently I received this question in the mail. “The Bible
says we are to take care of the poor and hungry, and we
should also give generously to evangelize the world. Does
that mean Christians should give away everything and
never put any of their money in a savings account?”
In my travels around the country, I have found that
people hold a wide variety of views on this topic. One man
I highly respect told me, “Brother John, I believe if I have a
penny left in the bank when the Lord returns, it will prove I
have been a total failure.” He felt he should put all of his
extra money into the work of God.

Base Your Life on God’s Protection
One of the first things we need to understand is that
Christians should base their lives on faith in God. For our
very existence we depend on God and His ability to supply
for us. His provision and protection should be the
cornerstone of every Christian’s financial plan.
David had this type of faith, for he clearly recognized
God as his source in the Book of Psalms.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he
leadeth me beside the still waters.


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod
and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup
runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for
Psalm 23

We must recognize God as our source just as David did.
God is the one who meets our needs.

Fear of Economic Collapse
People have many reasons for questioning whether or
not they should be saving any money. Some ask out of fear,
“What about the coming economic crash? What will
happen when my money is not worth the paper it’s printed
on? What if the government fails? Please help, Brother
John! What can I do to protect myself?”
If you have faith in God, you don’t need to worry about
what is going to happen to our society. It doesn’t have to be
the end of your world if the stock market crashes. Whether
interest rates rise or fall, your lifestyle shouldn’t fluctuate to
any great extent if God is really your source.

Savings Accounts Are Scriptural
Let me go on to say that it is both scriptural and
responsible for Christians to have some money set aside.

Is it all right for a Christian to save money?

The Bible specifically states that God’s children are to
have savings.
Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
Deuteronomy 28:5

The basket speaks of your daily needs. The store speaks
of your savings, or that which is placed in your storehouse.
Scripture also tells us that a good man will leave an
inheritance to two generations.
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s
children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the
Proverbs 13:22

From this verse you can see that we should make some
kind of financial provision for our offspring. This proverb
makes it clear that God expects us to have savings.

Savings, not Treasure
Now, please notice I said savings. There is a marked
distinction between savings and treasure. When he speaks
of his treasure, a person is talking about his most valued
possessions. However, when you operate in true biblical
economics, you must see yourself as the steward over
God’s possessions. Your earthly belongings are not your
own. If you are God’s steward, everything you have belongs
to Him. It is impossible for a true steward to have earthly
Consider this lesson from the ant about planning for the
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and
be wise:


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her
food in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8

The ant shows us the wisdom of setting something
aside for the future. However, just as surely as we can have
a wise attitude toward our savings, we can also be foolish
in this matter. Think about the story of the rich farmer who
operated his savings plan in such a way that God Himself
ended up calling him a “fool.”
… The ground of a certain rich man brought forth
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I
do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns,
and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and
my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods
laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be
Luke 12:16-19

This man’s mistake was in putting his soulish nature in
charge of his savings. The one who chooses to put his soul
in charge of the important decisions of his life will never
have the right attitude toward his savings. Your decisions
must come from your redeemed spirit, not from your soul.
If you walk a spirit-led life, you will please God. If you
walk a soul-led life, God will call you a “fool,” for only a
fool would lay up treasure for himself and not be rich
toward God.
But God said unto him, Thou fool….
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not
rich toward God.


Is it all right for a Christian to save money?
Luke 12:20,21

Christian Stewards, Take Note
As a Christian steward, I believe it is wise to hold a
reasonable amount of funds in reserve. It should be an
amount you consider to be prudent in relation to your
In our own ministry, we have a number of employees. I
would be irresponsible if I were to spend every dime that
comes in. God demands that I keep a reasonable surplus in
store, for several families derive their livelihood from our
If you are the head of a family, the same policy should
apply. I’m not saying you should try to save enough money
to cover everything that could ever go wrong. It would be
impossible for anyone to do that. The foundation stone of
your savings plan should always be your dependency upon
God to provide. If your family tithes and gives proper
offerings, you will place yourself under the open heaven of
God. In that position, God guarantees you protection if the
unforeseen comes to pass.
Christians should save for the foreseeable future. That
might include the major purchases every family must make
from time to time, educating your children, special desires
such as vacations, and, of course, retirement.
The following verse is special to my wife and me. It has
helped us so much with making decisions about things for
which we cannot find an absolute dollar amount given in
God’s Word.
… let the peace of God rule in your hearts….
Colossians 3:15


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

The word translated rule in this verse actually means
“umpire.” The writer of Colossians was saying, Let the
peace of God be the umpire in your decision-making

Guideline to Savings
How much savings is enough? Follow these
suggestions, and I believe you will be safe. Faithfully tithe,
give generously into the Kingdom of God, then seek the
guidance of the Holy Spirit as to how much you should set
aside. He will give you peace about the correct amount.
Is it all right for Christians to save money? Yes, if they
save according to biblical principles, relying on God as the
ultimate protector and provider of the family. Remember,
God will call you a “fool” if you allow your savings to
become your treasure.
Instead, go ahead and set aside a reasonable amount.
Then, handle your savings with prudence, wisdom, and
responsibility, and God will be sure to bless your


Question 19
Question 19

How is it possible that my giving
affects my praying?

When I was a new Christian, I believed my giving and
my praying were totally separate activities. Then one day,
God opened my eyes to see that everything we do for the
Lord is linked together.
For many years I agreed with the theologians about
prayer. I thought God would either answer a prayer request,
or it would go into a golden vial, awaiting the end of time
when God would pour it out. (See Revelation 5:8 & 8:4.)
While this is what I believed the Bible taught, it surely
didn’t give me much comfort. However, when I began to
understand what the angel told Cornelius in the Book of
Acts, I realized there was a third possibility.

Giving and Praying Mixed Together
The story of Cornelius totally changed my perspective.
His praying affected his giving, and his giving affected his
praying. When he merged together these two activities, it
was as if a spiritual explosion took place.
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius,
a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
A devout man, and one that feared God with all his
house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to
God alway.


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of
the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto
him, Cornelius.
And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said,
What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and
thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
Acts 10:1-4

As you can see, Cornelius had been crying out to God.
He had also been giving generously. While these two things
might have been separate in Cornelius’ mind, they surely
were not separate in God’s mind. The angel told Cornelius
that God viewed his praying and giving (alms) as
something bigger than praying alone, and bigger than
giving alone. They had merged together before God to
become a memorial. Read these further words from the
And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until
this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and,
behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine
alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
Acts 10:30, 31

As a result of his giving and praying, his request was
permanently suspended in the presence of God. It hung
there awaiting God’s speedy answer.

The Widow at Zarephath
This same type of thing happened in the Old Testament
to the widow in the city of Zarephath. Without a doubt, she
was a woman of prayer. The Word says that God spoke
audibly to her. (See 1 Kings 17:9.) In the midst of terrible
famine, I have no doubt that she prayed to God often about

How is it possible that my giving affects my praying?

her dwindling barrel of meal. However, as hard as she
prayed, nothing happened. Her barrel just kept getting more
and more empty.
Then one day she added giving to her praying. When
she gave of her food to feed the prophet, God immediately
answered her prayer. The moment she joined giving to her
prayer, God’s hand reached down into her barrel of meal
and multiplied it.
It was a miracle answer, for as long as she gave and
prayed, God supplied her need.
… she, and he [Elijah], and her house, did eat many
And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the
cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which
he spake by Elijah.

1 Kings 17:15,16
Every time she fed the prophet, more meal appeared in
the widow’s barrel.

The Widow With Two Mites
Because of my Calvinist education, I didn’t believe God
would still perform miracles in that same way today.
However, I couldn’t deny the Scripture, for it surely teaches
that this type of miracle is available to us. It became more
clear when I studied the account of Jesus at the treasury.
One day Jesus went into the temple to watch people put
their money into the offering box.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw
in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics
them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath
cast more in, than all they which have cast into the
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of
her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Mark 12:42-44

Notice that the Scripture says the widow gave because
of her want. I cannot overemphasize this fact. She had a
definite prayer request attached to her giving. She wanted
something. When she attached her two mites to her prayer
request, she got the attention of Jesus. Here again we see
giving and praying mixed together.
As Cornelius, the widow at Zarephath, and this widow
with the two mites can testify, when you mix praying and
giving together, the whole is greater than either of its two
parts. When you link giving and praying together, Scripture
says your gift definitely affects your prayer. Together they
turn your request into a memorial that stands before God,
awaiting His answer.


Question 20
Question 20

Is there anything wrong with being

I have been asked this question hundreds of times.
“Does the Lord want Christians to be wealthy? Is there
anything wrong with being rich?”
Perhaps the best way to answer is to go back to the
roots of our faith. As God’s children, our roots are not
planted in poverty. We did not come forth from people who
lived in constant insufficiency. In fact, our spiritual
ancestors were people of tremendous wealth.

Our Wealthy Forefathers
What does the Scripture say about the financial
condition of our spiritual ancestors? Let’s begin where it all
started, with Adam and Eve. The Bible says they were rich.
God gave them more than just the garden of Eden. The
Lord told them to take dominion over the whole earth. (See
Genesis 1:28.)
Noah was also rich. With the great flood, he took
possession of everything of value on the earth. He took the
wealth of the world with him in the ark. I believe I would
be safe in saying he was the most prosperous person in the
whole world on the day the flood came. (See Genesis 6 &
When Abraham came out of Egypt, the Bible says he

John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

was very rich. (See Genesis 13:2.)
Isaac had such large possessions of flocks, herds, and
water wells that the Philistines actually envied him. (See
Genesis 26:14.)
Jacob also had great possessions, and he recognized that
God was the One who had made him rich. (See Genesis
Joseph rode in the second chariot in Egypt and wore the
king’s ring on his finger. During the world’s worst recorded
famine, he had control of all the food in the known world.
He was obviously wealthy. (See Genesis 41:57.)
King Saul was rich, and so was David. King Solomon
was wealthy beyond description. Even the Old Testament
prophets had servants who traveled with them.

Was Jesus Poor?
Jesus was prosperous enough to own his own home.1
When two men asked Him where He lived, He invited them
over to spend the night.
Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith
unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi,
(which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest
He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw
where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was
about the tenth hour.
John 1:38,39

Please note that when Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air
have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head” in Luke
9:58, He was not saying He had no house. He was simply stating that He
had no place to stay that night, because the Samaritans had cancelled His
meeting and refused to give Him lodging.


Is there anything wrong with being rich?

It is well-known that Jesus had a treasurer, and He
wouldn’t need a treasurer unless He handled large sums of
money. He also wore expensive clothes. The Bible says His
coat was seamless. A seamless garment was the most
expensive and highest quality clothing available.
The apostles had plenty of material wealth. Why else
would Jesus have to tell them not to take any money with
them when they went out on the road? (See Luke 9:3.)
The Apostle Paul was rich enough for a Roman proctor
named Felix to lose his soul trying to get a bribe from him.
(See Acts 24:25,26.)
Both the Old and New Testaments are clear regarding
the financial condition of our forefathers in the faith. They
were people of substance. Then what about you and me?
Does God want His children to be rich today?
The answer to that question is yes. God says financial
riches are a part of His blessings.
The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he
addeth no sorrow with it.
Proverbs 10:22

The Apostle Paul also declared God’s desire for His
children to prosper.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that,
though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, 2
that ye through his poverty might be rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

Please note that when he spoke of Jesus becoming poor, Paul was
comparing our Lord’s wealth in heaven to His wealth on earth. From the
moment Jesus left the splendor of heaven, anything He owned on earth was
poverty by comparison. A paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 8:9 might be: Our
Lord Jesus Christ left the glory of the riches of heaven and entered the
poor realm of the inferior riches of earth, that we might become rich.


John Avanzini Answers Your Questions About Biblical Economics

Look further. The Apostle John wrote:
Beloved, I wish [pray] above all things that thou
mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul
3 John 2

John’s number-one prayer was for you to live in health
and prosperity.
Is there anything wrong with being rich? For some
reason, many religious leaders think there is. However,
according to the Bible, the answer is no. There is nothing
wrong with Christians being rich.


Thank you for considering the answers I have presented
in this book. To the best of my knowledge, they are in
agreement with the Word of God.
If any of these answers have offended you, I apologize
for the discomfort I may have caused. However, I cannot
apologize for any discomfort the Holy Spirit may have
If you feel you have a different answer to one or more
of these questions, please write and share your biblical
view. I would like to hear from you.
I know there are many questions I have not answered. If
you have a question I have not dealt with, drop me a line. I
will try to get back to you and attempt to give you an
answer as soon as I can. You may address your questions
and comments to:
His Image Ministries
Attn: T.L.C. Department
P.O. Box 1057
Hurst, TX 76053

Let me close with this verse of Scripture. It applies to
the answers of theologians, denominations, and critics, as
well as to your answers and mine. This verse makes a clear
statement to anyone who gives an answer contrary to the
Word of God.
. . . let God be true, but every man a liar….
Romans 3:4


For other books by John Avanzini, or to contact this ministry, write to:

John Avanzini Ministries
P.O. Box 917001
Fort Worth, TX 76117-9001