Business Principles for Christians – Exploring the Passages

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What does Proverbs 21:6 (printed below) tell us about “a fortune acquired by a lying tongue?”

A fortune acquired by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor for those who seek death. (Proverbs 21:6)

Wealth accumulated by dishonest and unscrupulous means is described as a “fleeting vapor,” or, a vapor driven by the wind; i.e., it is very insubstantial and temporary. Men who resort to such means of accumulating wealth are described as “those who seek death.” Far from enjoying the “solid joys and lasting treasure” of the righteous, if you resort to unscrupulous practices you will not only find your wealth in jeopardy, but your soul as well.

2. To whom is Proverbs 11:24 (printed below) referring when it speaks about the man who “withholds more than is fitting?” What does this proverb tell us will happen to such a man?

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another man withholds more than is fitting, but it leads only to poverty. (Proverbs 11:24)

The latter part of verse 24, “another man withholds more than is fitting, but it leads only to poverty,” is describing the selfish, miserly man: he holds back more than is right or proper. This proverb is referring to the man who refuses to be generous and charitable, the man who is selfish rather than compassionate. The consequence of a selfish, miserly character is stated as follows: “it leads only to poverty.” The miserly man seeks to wrongfully and selfishly hoard all the wealth he accumulates, thinking to ever increase his riches. But the Lord, who desires a balanced use of His good gifts, a use that includes compassion and charity, is able to nullify the miser’s objective: cutting off the miser’s supply of wealth, or cutting into that supply and causing it to diminish.

3. What does Proverbs 11:25 (printed below) tell us about the generous man?

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

Verse 25 declares, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” “A generous man” is literally “the blessing soul;” and that soul shall be abundantly blessed. If you are generous, benevolent and compassionate, the Lord will heap great blessing upon you. The proverb goes on to assure us that “he who refreshes others” (the Hebrew word means “to give a drink,” or, “to abundantly satisfy with drink”) shall also” himself be refreshed.” If you show kindness and benevolence to those in need, you will receive kindness in return (note Luke 6:38).

4. What does Proverbs 25:14 (printed below) tell us about “a man who boasts about abilities he does not have?”

Like clouds and wind without rain, so is a man who boasts about abilities he does not have. (Proverbs 25:14)

The appearance of clouds and wind hold out the promise of rain—a welcome prospect in the arid Middle East. But if those clouds fail to provide the needed rain, they prove to be the source of bitter disappointment. Likewise, if you boast of your abilities, and inspire the confidence of your employers (or employees), but fail to produce, you become the source of great disappointment. As a Christian, you are obligated to give an honest evaluation of your abilities. One dimension of reliability is making an honest assessment of your abilities and an honest communication of your abilities to those who will be depending upon your performance.

5. Consider Proverbs 29:21 (printed below). What do you think it means to “lovingly train” a servant (or an employee) and what is the result of such training?

The man who lovingly trains his servant from childhood, will finally have him become a son. (Proverbs 29:21)

This proverb is relating to us the value of “lovingly (literally, “delicately”) training” a servant. In other words, investing the time and effort it takes to patiently, painstakingly train him. The final outcome of such loving training: the servant shall become “a son.” In other words, there shall develop a bond of loyalty, respect, affection and almost kinship between the employer who so trains and the man who is receptive to such training.