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Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis Hardcover – January 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this comprehensive review of statements in the Bible about economics, wealth and poverty, New Testament scholar and author Witherington (The Brother of Jesus) analyzes canonical texts and their contemporary applications for Christians. Aiming to help the faithful avoid perils of selective misuse of scripture (the sin of prosperity preachers who focus on the Jabez prayer and isolated wealth proverbs), Witherington uses a creation theology lens: all things ultimately belong to God. While acknowledging the wisdom of Old Testament guidance, the author urges a New Testament theology of stewardship and giving, which calls Christians, guided by the Lord's Prayer, beyond tithing to sacrificial giving. From unpacking perplexing gospel stories like the dishonest steward to offering concrete advice on how to separate from a culture of conspicuous consumption (discerning between necessities and luxuries and practicing debt forgiveness are among the practices he advocates), this cogent, accessible scholarly analysis contributes to the current economic conversation and urgently calls people of faith to review and reform their role as God's stewards. Appendixes include popular Christian myths about money, and a powerful and apt 18th-century sermon on money by John Wesley. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Inside Flap

"In Jesus and Money, Ben Witherington has done something that is not nearly as easy as it looks: he has presented a clear, accessible, and carefully balanced Christian view of wealth. He draws from a range of scholars of different theological stripes, embracing necessary complexities while ruling out popular views that are simply untenable. This will be of help to any church group that wants to take an honest look at what the Bible teaches us about money."--Sondra Ely Wheeler, Martha Ashby Carr Professor of Christian Ethics, Wesley Theological Seminary

"This timely book blends Witherington's exegetical skill and his pastoral concern to address a very relevant issue. His interpretations of various passages reveal the complexity of issues involved in interpreting and applying texts about money that many take for granted. While this work is a welcome retort to the Scripture-twisting of prosperity preachers, it will also challenge many who have been living large without sustained theological reflection on their lifestyle."--Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Palmer Seminary
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587432749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587432743
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,514,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of Witherington's best books. It is a sharp critique of our materialistic, consumer oriented, self-centered society. The author takes proponents of the health wealth gospel to task and points out that financial resources are to be used to support the needs of our families and for the furtherance of the gospel message. Witherington expertly interprets both Old and New Testament texts related to money and possessions and challenges believers to live fiscally frugal lives for Christ. Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very well researched, the book is a welcoming relief from the guilt of not being one of 'God's favourites' in the misleading prosperity philosophy. The author convicts us not on the basis on not being rich enough because we do not have faith, but not giving enough away , not being good enough stewards of what God gave us.
The author combs the Scriptures for examples of the sayings of Jesus on money and being rich, and also Paul's attitude to work and accepting charity, harmonizing each statement carefully with other passages elsewhere in the Bible, both New and Old Testament. A worthy book.
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Format: Paperback
The subtitle of this book is "A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis." The synopsis on the back cover says, "Everyone concerned about making sense of money in a world of economic uncertainty will value this book." Based on these two statements, I was expecting to read a book that explores the question of how Christians should practice biblical principles of stewardship specifically during times of economic crisis and uncertainty. This is not that book. This is a book that critiques the prosperity gospel and consumerism. While I agree with what the author writes on those topics, that is not what I expected this book to be about. The principles the author lays out are principles that, in my opinion, we as Christians should practice at all times regardless of the state of the economy. Therefore, this book needs a different title. If you want a book that debunks prosperity theology and consumerism, this is an excellent book. But if, like me, you were expecting a book that explores how Christians should handle money in uncertain economic times--which is what the back cover says--then this book doesn't discuss that question at all.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is timely and welcome. The insidious rise of the 'health and wealth gospel' needs to be solidly refuted and Christians led towards a God-centred view of wealth and its use. This book does that very well. Witherington does a good job of exegesis - explaining the socio-economic backdrops to the NT, before moving on to solid hermeneutics - applying these enduring truths into the 21st century Western socio-economy. If you're looking for a book to tell you exactly what you should do with your money, this is not it, and you won't find a good book like that. But this book can help you get your heart, faith and balance lined up with God's will.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Point: All wealth is owned by God, given by God, and is to be managed with His interests in mind.

Path: Witherington presents a biblical theology of wealth by looking at the subject through the scope of biblical revelation. Beginning with God as creator and owner in Genesis, he then moves on to Proverbs and money. He focuses on Jesus in the Gospels, James on riches, and wealth and poverty in Acts, followed by Paul’s epistles, then the revelation of John on Patmos. He ends with a chapter entitled “Towards a NT Theology of Money, Stewardship, and Giving” in which he attempts to tie in all the strings of the various studies. His final chapter is more of a practical outworking of this theology.
His book includes two appendices, one on myths about money, and the other a sermon by John Wesley.

Sources: Witherington cites and interacts with authors such as Sondra Wheeler, Luke Johnson, Justo Gonzalez, and Craig Blomberg, all of whom have written important works on wealth and the Scriptures. He also cites early church fathers, other primary sources, commentaries, etc.

Agreement: This book is an effective tool to help the believer look at money through the lens of Scripture. The way we worked through the topic in a biblical theological way was much more helpful than attempting to systematize “everything the Bible says about money.”
His study on particular passages were helpful (with some exceptions) and informed.
His notes are very helpful for those seeking more information.
His observation on culture today are worth reading.
His critique of the prosperity “gospel” is good.

Disagreement: I agreed with much of his work and was only disappointed in several areas, none of which ruin the value of the work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Witherington's book has more depth than any book I have read about finances and Christian discipleship. It avoids the simplistic notions of the "prosperity" preachers as well as the notion that giving a fixed per cent to the church is all that is needed. He also talks about our responsibilities to impoverished peoples in other parts of the world and the business practices we either support or do not support. The author makes a genuine attempt to understand what Jesus taught about money, at the same time relating those precepts to money in today's world. This book would be good for small group study in a church, with discussion and dialogue among group members.
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