Capitalism is Not a Biblical Principle: Giving Is
Capitalism is not a biblical principle and should not be analogous with the mysteries and gifts of God to mankind. God has only one economic principle by which He operates, and that is giving.
Many of today’s preachers justify the economic concept of capitalism using select bible verses, and they condemn the concept of socialism or communism, but they give no bible verses when doing so, which reveals how political church leaders have become. The bible speaks to neither concept but reveals its own theory of social and economic development.
Theoretically, the bible contains verses emphasizing care for the poor and vulnerable more often than any other concept of economics, which can be interpreted as advocating for social safety nets and regulations of socialism to mitigate the negative aspects of capitalism. Yet, preachers do not teach this.
Instead, their motivation behind emphasizing capitalism in the bible mixed with worldly economic theories is to rationalize persuading politicians to pass legislation favorable to the wealthy class and as counteractive measures to the poor. We will look closely at selective verses to interpret them correctly and with spiritual understanding.
While there are some verses that can be interpreted as supportive of certain economic and moral principles associated with capitalism, there are also verses that can be used to argue against it. Below are some Bible verses that are often cited in support of capitalism's economic and moral principles.
One popular concept of capitalism is private property rights.
Taken from Exodus 20:17: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." This verse is used to justify wealthy-building using home ownership, and to the extent that men have a right to protect their home from government intrusion or any outside invasion.
Though basically, the scripture is merely talking about covetousness, not private property value or rights. Spiritually, as long as a man and his household are worshipping the Lord, no ill will come to him, and ironically, those who place much emphasis on personal property over community care, are revealing a form of covetousness themselves.
Another extremely popular bible verse that preachers use to justify capitalism is Thessalonians 3:10 in relation to work ethic and personal responsibility, values often associated with capitalism. "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." Unfortunately, too many believers use this verse more so to deny the poor necessities than encourage work ethic.
If read in its original context, this verse was speaking to the disciples who were bad stewards of the work they were given by the Lord. They were sponging off those they were supposed to be ministering to for free meals and financial support. Paul was chastising them by commanding that they dedicate themselves wholly to the ministry instead.
“For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” Verse 11, 12.
Instead, preachers today use this verse to condemn the poor for being poor. The bible clearly admonishes those who are lazy that if they slumber and sleep, they will surely come to poverty. “Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; And an idle soul shall suffer hunger.” Proverbs 19:15. This is the correct way to admonish the poor, instead of harshly leaving behind people who struggle against the forces of capitalism’s survival of the fittest economics.
One of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood bible verses preachers use is the parable of the talents. There are two renditions to this parable, one from Matthew 25:14-30 and one from Luke 19:12-27. Both are speaking to the mission of the ministers of Christ and not to bankers and investors. Unfortunately, preachers have taken this mystery to mean financial stewardship instead of spiritual stewardship.
In this parable, a nobleman gives his servants talents (a form of currency) and expects them to invest and grow it. The servant who invests and earns more is praised, which can be seen as promoting entrepreneurial spirit and investment. However, the talents are not literal forms of money, but gifts and talents of the spirit given to men by God.
Preachers have become so intertwined with financial gain and the love of money that they are blind to the mysteries and parables of the Lord and have chosen to incorporate His messages to fit their capitalist agenda. The scripture clearly says, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” Matthew 25:14.
The kingdom of heaven is the topic, not capitalism. The goods are gifts and callings, not money; and the man’s travels is the Lord’s ascension to heaven and His return in the Second Coming. But this mystery escapes the carnal minds of today’s preachers seeing they are blind leaders of the blind and advocates of entrepreneurial spirit and financial investment.
Work, however, is a biblical concept required by God for man to replenish the earth, but the labors of man are not to be exploited by the wealthy for their gain only. Rich men are warned throughout the bible not to mock the poor or take their plight for granted, it says, “Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker:” Proverbs 17:5.
Capitalism, like any economic system, has both positive and negative aspects, and its moral implications can vary depending on how it is practiced and regulated. It is not a biblical principle and should not be analogous with the mysteries and gifts of God to mankind. God has only one economic principle by which He operates, and that is giving.