(The following is a transcription from a video Linda and I recorded. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
I read a passage from Craig Hill’s book Five Wealth Secrets 96% of Us Don’t Know that got me thinking about why so many Jews are wealthier than Christians.
So I did some research and Forbes released its annual list of 400 richest Americans and Jews took 30 of the top 100 spots.
Less than 0.2% of the world is Jewish, yet 22% of Nobel Prize winners are Jews. 41% of Nobel laureates in economics are Jewish, as are 11% of the world’s billionaires, and 20% of the world’s richest 50 people.
On one hand you might say that it is because they aren’t as generous and just hoard, but statistically that isn’t true. The average annual Jewish household donates $2,526 to charity yearly, far more than the $1,749 their Protestant counterparts give or the $1,142 for Catholics, according to data from Giving USA.
I sat down with my wife, Linda, and discussed the topic of wealth, Jews compared to Christians. We welcome you to view our discussion with our SeedTime community, here:
And if you’d rather read the transcription from our conversation, you can find that below. Enjoy!
Are Jews Wealthier Than Christians?
Bob: So we’re going to talk about something, a weird title, but are Jews wealthier than Christians? Let’s see. Let’s talk about how we got here.
So I’m reading this book, see if you can see that, Five Wealth Secrets. There’s a passage in here that I read that got me thinking about all this, and then we’ll dive in a little bit deeper with all of it.
But I think there’s a lot of really important lessons for us to learn here as we go through this. So I’m going to start reading some of this passage to you, and there’s a good amount in here that I want to read to you, so bear with me, because I think it’s really good and I think there’s some deep wisdom here that I want to share.
Linda: Yeah, let’s hear this.
Bob: So this is actually in the introduction of this book. I’m really only a chapter or two in. So far it’s good.
Linda: I think this is a marker, not a highlighter.
Bob: It gets the job done, so it’s highlighter. All right. So the author of the book, name’s Craig Hill, actually met him last summer.
Linda: Oh really?
Bob: Yeah, we met him at the CF thing, just for a second. I only talked to him for a minute. I didn’t even know and then I came home and I found his book on a shelf that I had bought and hadn’t read it.
Linda: That’s cool.
Bob: Crazy small world. Anyway. So he has a story in here where he goes and talks to his accountant. And I’ll just read this. He said, “Tell me honestly, who is more prosperous, who has larger financial statements, your Jewish clients or your Christian clients? And as one might expect the accountant chuckled and responded, “My Jewish clients, of course, probably about 10 to one in magnitude.”
Linda: So are we talking Jewish, just the race of people or Jewish, in the religious? We don’t know.
The Bible And Financial Principles
Bob: I don’t know. It just says Jewish clients, I don’t really know. So he says, “One more question, being Jewish yourself (the accountant being Jewish), what is your personal opinion as to why that is?”
And this is how the accountant responded, he said, the accountant mused for a moment and then picked up the Christian Bible, which he had with him and then said something like the following, “You Christians tend to live out of the back of this book, while we Jews tend to live out of the front of the book. Fortunately for Christians, or unfortunately for Christians, most of the financial principles are in the front of the book, so we Jews believe in and abide by these principles, while you Christians seem to ignore them and discount them because they’re “old testament.” However, I believe that the adherence to these principles is what causes people to prosper financially.”
Bob: Yeah. So that’s interesting, I’m going to continue because there’s some more interesting stuff here.
Linda: Okay, because you read me that last week and I feel like I was like, “What does this mean?” So yeah, keep going.
Being Under The Law Of The Old Testament
Bob: All right. So he said, “I’ve heard several times from Jewish friends, explanations similar to the following. I don’t really fully understand your Christian beliefs, but from what I understand, it seems most Christians have the idea that they can violate the basic principles described in the Bible and then because of the grace of God extended by the sacrifice of Christ, they are forgiven and therefore everything will be all right.
Thus, it seems to me that most Christians feel that they don’t have to pay any attention to the financial principles explained in Proverbs or the rest of the old Testament, because these are part of the law. And since Christians are in Christ and no longer under the law, they feel no need to abide by these old Testament financial principles.” All right. So one more section here and then we’ll talk about this a bit.
And so the author, Craig, says this, “My personal observation has been that many evangelical and charismatic Christians, like to study the Bible. Many can tell you exactly where in the Bible, a particular passage is located and even quote the verse to you.
However, frequently, when you have studied a Bible passage such Christians have in practice violated the life principle contained in the passage. On the other hand, many Jewish people can not tell you where in the Bible a particular passage is, but because of the culture and the teaching of their family, they inherently practice the principle.”
Linda: Does he have an example of that?
Borrower Is Slave To The Lender
Bob: Yeah. For example, Proverbs 22:7 tells us that the borrower is slave to the lender. It may be common in our day for a Jewish banker to be the mortgage holder or lender on the home of a Bible believing Christian, a borrower, who holds a weekly Bible study group in his home regarding biblical principles on finance.
The Christian mortgagee can tell you all about where to find the passage in the Bible about debt, while the Jewish banker may not know where in the Bible to find these passages. Yet who is a master and who is the slave? Who is making money and who is spending money? In reality, the Jewish lender has chosen to be the master, while the Christian borrower has chosen to be the slave.
Which is better, to study the Bible and not live out the principles contained therein, or to live out the principles and not study the Bible? And the author Craig says, “I would suggest that we do both, study and live out the principles.”
So with that, so reading that, because this is something I’ve thought about a decent amount in the past, but I’ve never thought about it in this context and it’s pretty interesting to think about. Because in my experience, I feel like I’ve experienced something similar where I just feel like I see a lot of Christians who know Bible verses, who can spout them off, but who aren’t living them.
Researching The Statistics
So I did some research on this just to confirm a little bit of what’s talked about here. So Forbes, if you look at the 400 richest, they have the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans or whatever, maybe it’s a whole world. Anyway. So of the top 100 spots, 30 of them are Jewish people, Jews. And this is interesting too, so less than 0.2% of the world population is actually Jewish. So under 1% is Jewish, but yet, 22% of Nobel prize winners are Jews. That’s mind boggling.
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a statistics class. I took one in high school and looking at those numbers like that, that just doesn’t make any sense, there’s something going on there. That’s not just random. 11% of the world’s billionaires are Jewish, even though again, less than 1%, 0.2% of the world is Jewish and 11% are billionaires. That just doesn’t add up. 20% of the world’s 50 richest people are Jews as well.
So these are just the facts of what the numbers are. And somebody might be really cynical and just say, “Well it’s because they’re not generous. And we Christians, we give more money away. And that’s not true at all. Statistically Jews give way more than Christians. So that’s not the case either.
And I would think, and this is based on another book I read, which I have laying around somewhere, something about the Jewish faith and there tends to be a stronger adherence to tithing, and I think giving as a whole, within the Jewish faith, than with Christians. And anyway, so I don’t know the answer. I don’t know how all these pieces tie together, but I think there are definitely some things that we can take from this.
Linda: Yeah. It’s definitely got us thinking because where I am with this is, this is true, we no longer gain our salvation. Casey says, “How do I become Jewish, seriously?” We no longer gain our salvation by following the law. However, the idea that this is sparking in me is, is it just that everything in the old Testament that we’ve dismissed as it being old Testament? Exactly what this guy said.
Bob: It’s a law, we’re redeemed from the law.
Linda: It’s the law that we don’t have to follow it anymore, but could it be that there are just blessings attached to living the way that God asked us to live? For example, let’s just go back to the basic Ten Commandments, don’t steal, there is a blessing attached to not stealing, you’re not going to get in trouble, you’re not going to need to go to jail if you’re not stealing or murdering.
Forgiveness Of Sins And The Grace That Is Provided
Bob: They are. But the important thing to mention here is that on the one hand you have the forgiveness of sins, you have the grace that is provided to us by Jesus, his righteousness that we have taken on by accepting him. But that doesn’t nullify and take away any consequences of negative actions.
And so if you violate whatever, one of the Ten Commandments, it’s like, yes, you can ask for forgiveness and be forgiven of that, but there still might be consequences to your actions. If you murder someone, you’re still going to go to jail, and you should go to jail. And whatever that thing is and if you are stealing from people all the time, you’re going to have to look over your shoulder and you’re going to have to run and you’re going to have to deal with that.
And so part of this is the wisdom component of just following these things and not for the sake of earning your salvation or earning righteousness, but I think God was doing, like with so many things that God does, He’s doing two things at one time or multiple positive side effects. And so offer this as a law, but it’s actually for your good. You know what I mean?
The Bible And Science
Linda: Yes. So like another one that we found out about, we have two boys and he talks about circumcising your children or your boys, on the seventh day is it?
Bob: Eighth day.
Linda: Eighth day. And come to find out the eighth day is when vitamin K kicks in in your body.
Bob: It’s scientifically the best day to do it, in which I love that stuff when science proves the Bible. But that was like, once I discovered that, it’s like, “Oh, how cool is that?” That God laid this out, I don’t know, back in Leviticus or somewhere, instructed them to circumcise on the eighth day.
And that’s what the medical professionals are doing now because they know that’s the day when vitamin K kicks in or whatever, enough to clot the blood or whatever the thing is. Anyway, and I think there’s just a lot more like that.
There’s a couple things that come to mind for us, one being Sabbath and it’s like, so many Christians just ignore the Sabbath. And I understand, again, in no way am I or Linda, suggesting that, all right, let’s go, I’ll go get under the law and just go find our big books to do’s and do all that. But to not ask the question, could there be blessings tied to some of these old Testament principles that a lot of us are not taking as seriously as maybe we should?
Linda: Yeah. And for us, this has been … I feel like there’s been something brewing already in our hearts about the Sabbath and really looking at what that actually used to look like and how can we bring that into our life right now.
So one of the things we’ve been talking about that is really hard, that it’s one of those things that we’re like, is purchasing things on the Sabbath. I’ve heard it … let’s see, what was that book I read, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. And he talked about not buying anything on the Sabbath. And that idea of trusting God for whatever you need, is going to be there the next day.
And that giving, doing our part to give everyone else a break on that day, we can’t change society just by deciding that we think this is a good idea. But if we start doing our part and if the Christians as a whole start doing this. I don’t know what it would look like for the world, or it might make it so that they can close at 8:00 PM instead of midnight or something.
I don’t know. It’s just an interesting thought. And it’s something that I’m kind of like, “I don’t really know that I want to do this.” But at the same time I hear stuff like this and it makes me want to not dismiss it so quickly and just be like, “Well, that was for the Old Testament because that’s how society was back then and it’s so different now.” Because it’s easy to do, it’s really easy to do that and we’re not under the law anymore and just completely dismiss all that.
Bob: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, another one of these principles is tithing and this is such a controversial topic. I’ve never written about anything that is more controversial than tithing. And this is the exact reason, is that you have people who will say, “We’re New Testament believers. We do not have to tithe. That was the old covenant, whatever.”
And then you have New Testament Christians who have done it and who have experienced the blessing from it and who are all for it. And it’s just this huge, huge debate. And we fall in the camp of, I agree, we’re not under the law. I don’t believe that we’re cursed if we don’t tithe any anymore because Jesus redeemed us from that curse.
But at the same time, like I think that there’s a blessing attached to it that was not nullified by the fact that Jesus came.
Linda: That’s it, the blessing isn’t nullified.
Bob: Yeah, it’s still there and we’ve experienced that in our lives.
Linda: Big time.
The Freedoms In God
Bob: I mean, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have as well. And so it’s just another thing where we see this Old Testament principle that God lays out, that again, we’re not tied to the law, but there’s something else wrapped up inside of it that … yeah. I mean, Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law, not to abolish the law. And so what does that look like? That’s the question that I’m asking right now about a lot of things and really …
Linda: Well, and I don’t know if you have ever experienced, other than just the sheer fact, which is enough in itself, of being saved from hell. So once you realize that you can be saved.
But once you realize you can be saved from that, that freedom is just like this weight off your shoulders. But when you start experiencing other freedoms in God, that you’re like, “This is the opposite of what it should be. I thought this was going to tie me up more, but it’s actually giving me more freedom.”
Then you start asking the question, well, what else am I missing? Because if this is here, then there’s other stuff that’s going on. And I think that’s where we are right now, is we have honestly been living a really, really blessed life, but Jesus paid way too high of a price for us to sit here and just be like, “Yep, that’s good.” There’s so much more for us to tap into, that we don’t even know yet. And yeah, I’m on a quest to take him up on it.
The Blessings Of God
Bob: Yeah, there’s no limit to how deep we can go with God. The blessings of God that are available to us, there is no limit to what’s there. And I feel the same way. I want to hunt that down and chase after it and figure out what those things are.
And by blessing, for anybody who’s not sure, I’m not talking about just financial blessing. I feel like financial blessing is one of the lower blessings on the rung, on the ladder rungs. There’s just so many other important blessings and things that I value so much more than that. It’s really interesting. So where do we go from here?
Linda: So what’s the question again, are Jews wealthier than Christians? It kind of looks like it.
Bob: So somebody mentioned the Jews being God’s people. Yeah, they absolutely are. I just want to keep learning. So I got into this whole thing, just because I started reading in the book of Proverbs about … really Proverbs just has so much good money wisdom in it and business wisdom. Now we’re just fascinated with what it’s talking about.
Linda: Lifestyle, I think too.
Bob: Yeah, just a lot of good wisdom. And in a lot of these Proverbs, you will see, they’re strewn within the New Testament as well, the basic idea and principle, many of them come out through Jesus’ teachings as well. So that’s a great place to start for anybody who is wanting to dive into more of this. But there’s just a lot of power there and a lot of wisdom wrapped up in that book.
For years, I did the Proverb a day type thing because it’s 31 books and so you can just knock one out and spend five minutes each night and just read a chapter and it’s really, really great.
Linda: Wisdom in your brain. I like that last one. Go to the very bottom. We show God how much we love him when we obey his commands, it’s not out of obligation, it’s out of love.
So yeah, this is just food for thought. Really, we have no answers here, no final answers, it’s just what we’ve been thinking about and talking about in our house.
God’s Communication Through Questions
Bob: Yeah. And so many times I feel like, this is how God communicates with me, is by asking me questions and so I like to ask questions.
Some of our, well, really most of our courses are not based around this way. Even the couple, most of our articles are very, “how to.” I try to, be to the point, but I also like asking questions and getting people to think, and I think there’s well, just really good things come from that.
And so for me, that’s how I feel like God communicates with me a lot of times, is by dropping a question in my heart. It’s like, “What if He did this?” Like, “Ohh.” And that’s normally my response.
Linda: And that’s it, that’s all you get.
Bob: Are you saying this is what you want me to do or are you just asking a question?
I’ll keep you guys updated on this book, when I finish it. But so far, I’m about two or three chapters in and I think it’s good, but I’ll let you know when I finish it.