In OT times wealth was measured in terms of cattle or sheep and silver and gold (Gen. 24: 35). It is recognized that these possessions came from God, who had ordained that material blessings are given to some so that they can help the poor (Deut. 15: 10).

While the NT also accepted that riches are given in order to assist the poor (2 Cor. 8: 8–10), the possession of wealth is viewed more negatively, especially in the gospel of Luke (6: 20–21, 24–9). Any display of luxury is condemned (Luke 16: 19–31) because of the probability of injustice (Jas. 5: 1–6) and because it is a distraction from the basic purpose of life (Matt. 6: 21).