Thinking biblically about business ethics

Thinking Biblically About Business Ethics” is a topic that is fraught with problems in today’s culture. The problems suggest keys to thinking biblically. Let’s look at two of them.

First, “thinking” is not encouraged by today’s cultural elites. “Feeling” is the flavor of 2017. TV, movies, video games, and images promote emotions, not deep thought. Reading, especially reading of complicated nuanced topics is seldom promoted. James Montgomery Boice argued that culturally, we have lost our ability to follow a complicated, detailed written argument. Think about this. How many of us have read one entire Supreme Court Ruling? News stories are dominated by individual-examples of carefully selected, emotionally-powerful, musically-enhanced illustrations of a preconceived point with little attempt at balance, or at inspiring deep thought. So, the first questions, one must ask if you want to think biblically are, “Do I really want to think deeply? Am I willing to expend emotional energy to stretch myself, and explore my life challenges constructively?” Not all of us will answer yes to these questions!

Second, “thinking biblically” implies knowledge. Paul praises God for “the riches of (his) wisdom and knowledge” in Romans 11. Therefore, if we are to think biblically we must know our Bibles. We ought know more than “Jesus loves me,” or the 15 other most-common verses. We should have immersed ourselves in the rich-treasury of human-history that the Old Testament gives us, we should savor the deep teachings of Paul’s church letters, and we must pray and ask God to imprint the truths that Jesus taught so ably about the practicalities of life. It is a tragic lie to tell ourselves we are thinking biblically, if we have never read all the Bible, and attempted to apply its teaching to our everyday hearts and lives. Thinking biblically means more than just, we are in our Bibles; the Bible must be in us, and it simply exudes out the pores of our everyday existence into the waiting arms of a pagan culture. Our ethics therefore, will not simply be better, they will be different! Different enough that they inspire questions. Questions like, “Why are you doing such an un-natural thing?” “Where did you get such a strange idea?”

The next question that must be answered then is “Are you willing to study your Bible?” I am not talking about a 15-minute devotional in the morning with a dandy sounding little ditty, but committed, serious thought and study with the hope that God will transform your heart and thinking. Paul tells the Roman Church that their spiritual act of worship is to be transformed by the renewal of their minds. How does that happen? It happens by asking God for a biblical hunger, biblical thinking and a biblical mind! There are not three easy steps to accomplish this, or any contemporary short cuts – just the glorious, gold-filled pages of wisdom that await the soul who pledges to this life’s journey.

There is far too much talk about “thinking biblically” and not nearly enough commitment to the fulfilling journey that “thinking biblically” demands. My hopes and prayers are that more of us will sign-up for the good of our families, churches, cities, and nation.