Proverbs 13:8-18 Not The Prosperity Gospel

A person’s riches may ransom their life,
    but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes.(K)

The light of the righteous shines brightly,
    but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.(L)

10 Where there is strife, there is pride,
    but wisdom is found in those who take advice.(M)

11 Dishonest money dwindles away,(N)
    but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.(O)

13 Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it,(P)
    but whoever respects(Q) a command is rewarded.(R)

14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,(S)
    turning a person from the snares of death.(T)

15 Good judgment wins favor,
    but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.[a]

16 All who are prudent act with[b] knowledge,
    but fools expose(U) their folly.(V)

17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,(W)
    but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.(X)

18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame,(Y)
    but whoever heeds correction is honored.

Not The Prosperity Gospel (But Health and Wealth Anyway)

The prosperity gospel, or health and wealth gospel, is a style of preaching that majors on the promises and blessings of God.  It takes passages like those in Proverbs and transforms them from principles that reflect reality into recipes for gauranteed success.  In some cases the prosperity gospel chides people who are not wealthy or healthy for their lack of faith.  Since everyone dies in the end, I guess they suffer from a serious lapse in faith at some point.  The major falsehood of the health and wealth gospel is that the individual is on a road, not to God, but to self.  They try and use God to further their own agenda.  The principles that God has built into the creation works with them when they make wise choices, but there are no gaurantees and God can not be manipulated.

However, riches and success do tend to follow from wise living.  When one seeks God and adopts His principles, poverty and strife are often lessened and sometimes eliminated.  Following God’s path leads to things being the right way up and peace and prosperity often follow.  The right response to godly success is to redistribute what we receive and bless others. 


  1. Which verses in this passage talk of wealth?
  2. Why does wisdom often lead to wealth?
  3. What is often the financial outcome of foolishness?
  4. Why are ‘prosperity gospel’ preachers so popular in North America?
  5. In what ways does God actually want you to prosper?

Going Deeper

How would you evaluate this presenter’s views that God wants you to be rich and prosperous?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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1 Response to Proverbs 13:8-18 Not The Prosperity Gospel

  1. I don’t quite see how God wants me to be rich and prosperous. Does God really want me to have a large, $400,000 house and a few cars? Or would he rather me take the wealth I’m earning and put it to good use in the community? The more I read the Bible, the more I’m questioning the things we’re all told we should be striving for in this country.

    Also, would God ever want us to wear a tie like that? It’s so incredible, it’s distracting from the message!

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