Thinking Biblically About Business Ethics

Andrew Spencer | November 30, 2015

We live in a crazy world.

Data streams to us at a rate that prevents absorption and complete comprehension. Making decisions, whether in the workplace or at home, is often based on prior reasoning that may or may not be biblically sound. Particularly in the marketplace, as consumers and producers, we’re required to navigate a labyrinth of transactions laden with ethical significance. While it’s simplest to default to simple ethical reasoning based on utilitarianism, egoism, relativism, or any other method, there’s a deep need for us to pursue a biblical perspective on our daily ethical choices in our business transactions.

One challenge in developing a biblical business ethic for the 21st century is that the marketplace has changed since the books of the Bible were written. There are principles and analogies that can be brought forward, but the cultural distance is significant. In his new book Business Ethics in Biblical Perspective: A Comprehensive Introduction, Michael Cafferky begins with the recognition that “the Bible writers were aware that the primary readers (or hearers) of the Bible story were living, buying, selling, working, and playing among people who did not accept biblical ideals” (23). It takes critical thinking to get from the text to present…

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