What Does the Bible Say About Simplicity?

Simplicity is a virtue that is valued throughout the Bible. God calls His people to live simple, uncomplicated lives that are focused on Him. Here are some key things the Bible says about living a simple life:

Key Takeaways:

  • Simplicity helps us focus on God rather than earthly things.
  • We should be content with simple provisions rather than desiring riches.
  • Simplicity combats greed, covetousness and overindulgence.
  • Jesus called us to have childlike faith and trust in God.
  • Simplicity allows us to generously share our resources with others.
  • God disciplines those He loves through difficult times that strip away complexity.
  • Wisdom, not complexity, should be our pursuit.
What Does the Bible Say About Simplicity?

Simplicity Helps Us Focus on God

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A simple life, uncluttered by the cares of this world, allows us to set our sights on God.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV)

When our lives become too complex, we can lose sight of what’s most important. Simplicity helps us filter out distractions and fix our eyes on God.

The apostle Paul said he focused solely on Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). That kind of simplicity in teaching allowed the power of the gospel to work in people’s lives.

We may be involved in many good things, but simplicity means narrowing our focus to the absolute essentials so we can live purposeful, God-honoring lives.

Be Content with Simple Provisions

God promises to provide what we need, but living simply means being content with adequate provision rather than desiring riches.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (1 Timothy 6:6-9 NKJV)

The writer of Hebrews encourages us to be content with what we have.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV)

Rather than continually striving for more, a simple life recognizes the provision we already have. It finds contentment in God rather than chasing material wealth.

Simplicity Combats Greed and Covetousness

Greed and covetousness are rampant in our consumerist culture. The temptation is always to want more. But the Bible warns against letting our appetites control us.

Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:4-5 NKJV)

And Paul writes:

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 NKJV)

The antidote to greed is finding contentment and staying focused on the spiritual rather than the material. Simplicity combats our tendency to acquire more than we need and to value possessions over people.

Jesus Calls Us to Childlike Faith and Trust

Jesus’ teachings emphasize utter dependence on God. He calls us to have the kind of simple, childlike faith and trust children have in their earthly fathers.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? . . . For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25-26, 32-33 NKJV)

When we worry and stew over how our needs will be met, we fail to trust our Heavenly Father. Simplicity flows from confidence that He cares for us and will provide all that we need in His perfect timing.

Simplicity Allows Generosity

When we aren’t consumed with acquiring more for ourselves, we have freedom to be generous toward others. We can share our resources – material goods, time, talents.

Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. (Luke 16:9 NIV)

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV)

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13 NIV)

Because we know God will provide, we can freely share what we have. Simplicity combats selfishness with openhanded generosity.

God Uses Difficult Times to Strip Away Complexity

Sometimes God allows His people to go through difficult circumstances that strip away everything nonessential and teach simplicity and utter dependence on Him.

The Israelites wandered in the desert, living in tents and receiving just enough manna for each day. Here’s how God summed up the purpose behind this time:

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3 NKJV)

Similarly, difficult times can simplify our lives and strengthen our dependence on God. Illness, job loss, calamities can strip away the inessential and surface idols competing for our affections. Though painful, those times can renew our first love for Christ and remind us to live by every word from God.

Wisdom, Not Complexity, Should Be Our Pursuit

The book of Ecclesiastes observes that increased knowledge often leads to sorrow, grief and headaches! True wisdom consists in fearing God and keeping His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Ironically, the stresses and distractions of modern life can actually impair our ability to think and reflect on what really matters. Simplicity allows room for meditation, Scripture reading, and thoughtful communion with God.

Forsaking the chase to know more and experience more clears space to pursue true wisdom. As James writes:

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17 NIV)

Let’s seek heavenly rather than earthly wisdom.


The Bible makes a strong case for living a simple life, free from the endless pursuit of wealth and status. Scripture encourages contentment, reliance on God, generosity, and wisdom. Though the world may value complex, fast-paced living filled with ceaseless activity, the Bible lifts up the virtues of stillness, simplicity, and focus on the eternal.

He who loves simplicity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known. (Proverbs 10:9 NKJV)

May we walk the simple path that leads to life!

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