We continue on with the questions from Dunn's book.
How would you define “poverty” as spoken of in the Bible? Is it possible to be both rich and “poor”? What are the dangers of being “poor,” and the dangers of wealth? What relation has material well-being to “salvation”?
...Answer: I define poverty, as spoken of in the Bible, as not having an abundance of money (just enough to get by) or not having any money at all. I guess this could also relate to not having food and other essentials too. It is possible to be both rich and poor. One could be rich in material possessions but poor in spiritual things in that they have no relationship with God.
Material well-being has nothing to do with salvation. To say that it does ostracizes all poor people from God’s grace. Believing this would cause us to look at all poor people as “out of favor” with God. This is not true and a distortion of what it means to be rich in God. If God wanted to, He could bless us with material things (like He did with Job after he had been tested), but it has nothing to do with the salvation He offers. Millions of disciples have accepted God’s salvation with no blessing of material wealth. Does this mean they are not saved? By no means, it just means that wealth and salvation have no relation.
The danger of wealth is that it can cause us to rely totally upon money and ourselves. We begin trusting the material security money brings (e.g., a home, cars, food, friends, and no debt) and lose interest in the things of God and lack genuine trust in Him. Being poor also has certain dangers. It too, can cause one to doubt God’s provisions (for the opposite reason of the wealthy) and lead to sin.