Principles of Successful Business from Proverbs

Author Greg Koukl Published on 06/24/2013

Principle #1: Exercise complete dependence on God.

  • 3:5–7 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord, turn away from evil.
  • 16:3 Commit your works unto the Lord and your plans will be established.
  • 22:1 A good name is to be more desired than great riches.

Principle #2: Work hard and stick to it, don’t let laziness or sleep rob you of success.

Work hard.

  • 13:11b The one who gathers by labor increases (wealth).
  • 27:18 He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit.
  • 12:11 He who tills the land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues vain things will have poverty in plenty.
  • 28:19 He who tills the land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.
  • 18:19 He also who is slack in his work is brother to him to destroys.
  • 21:25–26 The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work. All day long he is craving while the righteous gives and does not hold back.

Stick to it.

  • 12:24 The hand of the diligent will rule but the slack hand will be put to forced labor.
  • 12:27 A slothful man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence.
  • 10:4 Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Don’t be lazy.

  • 19:15 Laziness casts into a deep sleep and an idle man will suffer hunger.
  • 22:13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside. I shall be slain in the streets.”
  • 10:26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy one to those who send him.
  • 30:15 The leech has two daughters, “Give”, “Give”...

Get up!

  • 20:13 Do not love sleep, lest you become poor. Open your eyes and you will be satisfied with food.
  • 6:9–11 (also 24:33–34) How long will you lie down, oh sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest”—and your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man.

Principle #3: Exercise honesty and uprightness in all business dealings.

Dishonesty offends God.

  • 11:1 A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.
  • 20:23 Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false scale is not good.
  • 16:11 A just balance and scales belong to the Lord, all the weights of the bag are his concern.
  • 20:10 Differing weights and differing measures, both of them are abominable to the Lord.

Dishonesty is bad business.

  • 10:2a Ill-gotten gains do not profit.
  • 13:11a Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles.
  • 15:27a He who profits illicitly troubles his own house.
  • 19:22b It is better to be a poor man than a liar...
  • 20:17 Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.
  • 21:6 The getting of treasure by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.
  • 28:16b He who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

Principle #4: Wise planning provides long term stability.

  • 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.

Look to the Lord in your planning.

  • 16:9 The mind of a man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.
  • 21:31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

Sow timely to reap bountifully.

  • 6:6–8 Go to the ant, oh sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in harvest.
  • 30:25 The ants are not strong folk, but they prepare their food in the summer.
  • 20:4 The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.

Organize your efforts.

  • 24:27 Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field. Afterwards, then build your house.
  • 27:23–24a Know well the condition of your flocks and pay attention to your herds, for riches are not forever...
  • 30:27 The locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks.

Be a learner.

  • 24:4 By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Principle #5: Be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of wealth.

  • 30:8–9 Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is my portion lest I be full and deny Thee and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be in want and steal and profane the name of my God.

Riches can give you favor and opportunity.

  • 19:4 Wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friends.
  • 19:7 All the brothers of a poor man hate him. How much more do his friends go far from him? He pursues them with words, but they are gone.
  • 14:20 The poor is hated even by his neighbor, but those who love the rich are many.
  • 10:15 The rich man’s wealth is his fortress. The ruin of the poor is their poverty.

Riches can provide a false hope.

  • 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall.
  • 18:11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city and like a high wall in his own imagination.

Riches can be temporary and fleeting.

  • 23:4–5 Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it’s gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like an eagle, that flies toward the heavens.

Riches can breed egotism and arrogance.

  • 18:23 The poor man utters supplications but the rich man answers roughly.

Principle #6: Generosity leads to financial success.

Give to the Lord.

  • 3:9–10 Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce, so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats overflow with new wine.

Give to others.

  • 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous and he who waters will himself be watered.
  • 19:17 He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord and He will repay him for his good deed.
  • 11:24a There is one who scatters yet increases all the more.
  • 19:16 Many will entreat the favor of a generous man and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.

Principle #7: Avail yourself frequently of wise counsel.

  • 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.
  • 20:18 Prepare plans by consultation and make war by wise guidance.
  • 11:14 Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in the abundance of counselors, there is victory.
  • 24:6 By wise guidance you will wage war, and in the abundance of counselors, there is victory.

Principle #8: Act on each opportunity presented you. Don’t wait or procrastinate.

  • 10:5 He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.
  • 14:23 In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only poverty.
  • 26:15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish. He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.
  • 19:24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

Pay your bills and your taxes.

  • 11:24 There is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want.

Beware of credit.

  • 22:7 The rich rules over the poor and the borrower become the lender’s slave.

Discern proper and improper advantage.

  • 22:16 He who oppresses the poor to make much for himself, or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Pursue excellence.

  • 22:29 Do you see a man who is skilled in his work? He will stand before kings.