6 min read

What Is Biblically Responsible Investing? (Definition + Examples)

What Is Biblically Responsible Investing? (Definition + Examples)

What Is Biblically Responsible Investing? (Definition + Examples)

“What does the Bible say about money?” 

More than any other question, this is probably the one I get the most. Then, many people follow that up with: “What does it say about giving, tithing and investing?” (Or other financial topics they’ve heard their pastor or priest speak about.) 

Most of all, why should we care?

What Is Biblically Responsible Investing - Definition - Examples

When you look to The Bible as an authoritative source on life, we have to remember that money is one of our life’s key tools. So, if you’re asking these questions, you are in the right place.

In this article, we’re going to talk about what Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) is, as well as what The Bible says about investing overall.

What is Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI)? 

First, we’ll start with the short answer. Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) is an asset management system that screens the policies and actions of investments based on a Biblical standard. 

🔎 Related: Investment strategy, the Sound Financial way

It is akin to ESG investing (Environmental, Social, and Governance) because both have screening systems based on a moral standard. While an ESG investing standard is determined by the portfolio manager, investment company, or investor, a BRI standard is The Bible. Granted, investors do not always agree on this topic, but the standard is foundational.

But why are we asking this question?

Are you trying to get an edge, to make a profit? 

Or did you ask because you thought it was the right thing to do?

Come on, be honest.

For myself, I asked for both reasons and many more. I wanted to know what one of the world’s oldest, most trusted books said about money! So, I dove in and read everything I could get my hands on, which is kind-of our job. I wanted to be right when I advised my clients.

🔎 Related: How much does investment management cost?

And I wanted more than academic knowledge. I wanted something that stood the test of time. I discovered it in The Bible. 

So, let’s come back to those questions I hear the most:

  • What does the Bible say about money? 
  • What does the Bible say about investing? 
  • And why should I (you) care?

Because understanding the textbook definition of BRI is only the beginning.

What does the Bible say about money? 

Whole books have been written on this topic. In fact, we have published a few ourselves, including Failure and Success: The Story of Money. But we’ll be concise for this article. 

What is the Biblical purpose of money? 


You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion… (which) will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11) 

The purpose of money is to produce thanksgiving to God. I know that sounds like a very churchy answer, but think about it. Everything in creation moves in productive cycles that point to a Creator. Why would money be any different? 

🔎 Related: 25 most powerful bible verses about finances (+ key insights)

The oldest money on earth is a shiny yellow metal dug out of the ground. Humans didn’t create it; God did. And His creation gives Him glory. When we use money correctly, God’s glory is the result. 

What is the Biblical use of money? 

God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9: 8,10) 

Generosity, enjoyment, and investing are the three Biblical actions for money. God blesses you with the resources to invest and grow in the opportunities He gives.

🔎 Related: Tax savings strategies for high income earners (+ examples)

You have permission to enjoy the results of your work, grow by being generous, and invest for the future, which creates a healthy financial cycle. 

What are the Biblical warnings about money? 

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”(1 Timothy 6:10) 

Fear of loss and greed (fear of missing out, the dreaded “FOMO”) drive most people’s financial decisions to a devastating outcome. We all battle these two! And I have found that many of us trudge on in silent despair, endlessly attempting something new to achieve an old goal. 

But wouldn’t it be a shame to get to the end of your life and discover that you succeeded at something that did not matter? The love of money does that to us. We measure our success, status, and security with a mythical number representing “we made it.” 

All while God offers us so much more!

What does the Bible say about investing? 

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 11, gives us excellent investment instructions. King Solomon, the book’s historical author, was one of the wealthiest men in history. Some estimate his net worth to exceed $2 trillion!

He said this about investing:

Invest wisely, freely, and systematically

Invest in winners with a rules-based system. Search for profitable companies doing good work that do not harm people or the environment. Or discover mutual funds and ETFs that include such companies. Then invest in those whose prices are going up. 

Easier said than done, huh?! 

At SoundFSG, one of our methods is to measure profitability by searching for companies with at least two decades of stable or growing dividends. Then we screen out companies we have determined earn revenue by harming people or the environment. Last, we rank these by stock price growth over multiple periods. 

Our team’s investment strategy may be helpful for you to learn more. 

Manage risk

Everything cycles; the seasons move from spring to summer to fall to winter. The economy and markets also ebb and flow. Therefore, you must manage risk. At SoundFSG, our first investing rule is to avoid large losses — those losses that ruin your chances of reaching your financial goals. 

As Warren Buffett once said: 

"The number one rule in investing is 'don't lose money,' the second rule is ‘don't forget the first rule.’" 

Notice I said "avoid large losses," not avoid all losses. 

🔎 Related: How does the U.S. economy work? (an accessible overview)

If you invest money, you will lose money occasionally. But if you have a proper investment system and stick with your approach, you should avoid significant losses. Again, check out our investment article below for a further explanation. 

Manage your emotions

Fears, biases, emotional decisions, and knee-jerk reactions cause some of our worst financial mistakes. I named two earlier — fearing loss or missing out — but let’s add to the list following traditional norms and succumbing to peer or family pressure. 

This is where we focus on managing our emotions.

I emphasize this a lot because I cannot overstate the importance. As a financial advisor, I spend much of my time helping people manage their emotions. And I am a very emotional person, so I fully understand! But the worst financial outcomes I have seen in my career have all been caused by an unfortunate emotional decision. 

You must learn how to find calm in a financial storm. However, the great news is The Bible helps with this! 

🔎 Related: Asset vs. wealth management (What’s the difference?)

So, why might you care what the Bible says about money? 

An old saying is, “You are either in a storm leaving a storm, or entering a storm.” 

I learned to find calm in life’s financial storms by changing my focus. Think about that statement. Our focus matters tremendously. If money is what you keep score with, how you measure success, whether or not you feel secure, or with what determines your status … well, you will never be satisfied. 

You will never have enough money. 

But your identity changes when you recognize that Christ removes your sins (and  petty financial failures) and gives you His righteousness. (2 Corinthians 5: 17-21) You no longer identify with success, security, or status. You are free to succeed or fail because neither determines who you are. It is a magnificent and fulfilling feeling. You can be driven and ambitious while being radically content! 

Consider these Biblical truths

  • We were made in God’s image and tasked to manage His creation. The word Steward is often used, meaning you care for an asset on the owner’s behalf. You were built to be creative, a leader, caretaker, and investor of and in God’s creation. Ambition, success, and profit are His ideas. And these are meant to be good. Genesis 1:28-31

  • God gives you His blueprint for success throughout the Bible. And those words are “Be strong and courageous, obey scripture, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” You are never meant to shy away from risk and potential failure because of fear. But God created and instructed you to be courageous and wise. He gives wisdom in His word, the Bible. And He promises to walk with you in the ups and downs of life. Joshua 1:6-9

  • Ill-gotten gains have no lasting value. I could write an entire book on this topic alone. The Bible states and experiences show that profits earned through nefarious actions, at least, leave a terrible taste in our mouths and can lead to total life destruction. Consider this when you profit from stocks that earn revenue from pornography! Proverbs 10:2-5

  • There are three actions with money – generosity, enjoyment, and investment – all for God’s glory. In church, we often imply that giving is the only good financial action. And yes, generosity and tithing are clearly God’s instructions. However, He provides food, shelter, clothing, and goods for you to enjoy – without materialism. And you should invest to be more generous and enjoy more in the future. All in a uniquely blessed financial cycle in which we glorify God. 2 Corinthians 9:10-12

  • God’s blessing and methods are best. You live in a wealthy nation with tremendous assets and opportunities. He has given you skills and the ability to think and work and describes a proper and good rhythm in life. Because He is continually enticing you to trust Him more. Deuteronomy 8 

The SoundFSG approach to Biblically Responsible Investing

Here, we practice Biblically Responsible Investing by investing in profitable companies doing good work with rising stock prices that do not earn revenue in ways that harm people or the environment. We build these ideas into our rules-based investment strategies and our financial plans. 

Because we believe The Bible gives us a foundation of truth and the highest likelihood of success. Moreso, The Bible gives us an excellent foundation for financial planning and success. Through experience and study, we've learned that a high moral standard, a love of learning, and a steady work ethic are common traits among successful people. 

🔑 Free resource: Financial planning template for individuals and families

So, we strive to incorporate these ideals into all we do. If you want to learn more, contact us for an appointment – let’s talk! We look forward to meeting you soon. 

 

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