Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:

Should Christians be minimalists? What is Christian minimalism?

Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:

Christian minimalism is combining the following of Jesus with a philosophy that eschews collecting material things along with any possessions or money not immediately needed.

There are no edicts in Scripture to become a minimalist. There are examples of biblical people who live a minimalist lifestyle, as well as those who are wealthy, such as Lazarus and his sisters (John 12:1–5). Jesus owned very little, if anything (Matthew 8:20), and was supported by others. He never commanded His followers to live this same way, though. Paul supported himself in many of his missionary journeys. Yet in 1 Corinthians 9:1–7, Paul makes an argument that workers for the gospel may accept financial support for the work they do.

Christians are taught to care for those less fortunate, such as widows and orphans (James 1:27). Giving is a part of Christian life, but God says to give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). Christians are also wise to save money, though we are not to have a love of money nor to save out of fear or worry nor be miserly. All this to say, certain aspects of a minimalist lifestyle do fit with Scripture, but there is no biblical command for it.

When we look at gray areas in Scripture, God gives us some guiding principles. Sin is clearly defined. Righteousness has its guidelines. Much of our lives in modern society falls in between. We are told in Romans 14:23 that "… whatever does not proceed from faith is sin."

Christians can choose to honor God by living a minimalist lifestyle. Some believe giving away so much of what they acquire is a way to worship God.

The Bible does not command or criticize minimalism, but does denounce greed and the misuse of wealth (James 5:1–6; Luke 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:9). A Christian can give biblically and be generous without being a minimalist. At the same time, the minimalist approach to life can encourage us to be more generous. Second Corinthians 9:6 says, "whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

Related Truth:

Why is giving such a focus in the Christian faith?

What does it mean to be a cheerful giver?

What does it mean to give alms? What does the Bible say about almsgiving?

What does it mean to exercise good biblical stewardship?

What is a Christian view of hobbies?

Return to:
Truth about Life Decisions

Compelling Truth HOME