What About Prosperity Theology?

Have you ever heard the expression, “You can’t out give God”? It’s true, but folks don’t always apply it correctly.

Do you think it means that God will pay you back in the here and now for all that you do and give? Do you think that you are entitled to prosper if you give enough? Do you think God guarantees it?

God is not an IRA, or a lottery, or a slot machine, or a CD from the bank. Where did this notion come from? When scripture is taken out of context, you can make it say anything you want.

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 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. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 3:8-12

“If I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” may sound like prosperity. Put this passage in context and you realized it is about not stealing from God. It’s about trusting God to provide.

What about the reaping and sowing verse? If you give a lot to God, don’t you get a lot back?

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11

You sow bountifully and you reap bountifully. Where and in what way do you reap? Nothing is said about getting rich in this passage, and some of what you reap – increased fruits of righteousness – will be after you leave this earth.


Our challenge today is to consider Paul. He was a tent maker with a thorn in the flesh. He spent a lot of time in prison. The Bible either doesn’t promise an easy life with a lot of riches or God lied. I choose to believe God over a man taking scripture out of context. How about you?