Prepping in Biblical Perspective

The biblical "prepper" trusts in God's goodness and sovereignty and, therefore, doesn't succumb to being gripped by sinful fear.

As is evident from the passages above, faith and preparedness often go hand-in-hand. We see this so clearly the example of Noah. If you see danger coming–whether from a forecasted ice storm, home invasion, solar EMP, financial collapse, or a hurricane–you prepare. God has given us minds to use and guidance to follow. At the same time, we are called to trust in God and not to be plagued by worry or anxiety. 

 

Like any movement, the prepping community includes a wide range of individuals. From preparing for zombie attacks to doomsday scenarios to hurricanes to simply preparing for the winter season, the underlying motives behind this movement have taken many forms–spanning the spectrum of personal preparedness and personalities. Some, within the prepping community, simply enjoy a homesteading lifestyle while others seem to be preparing for World War III.To be transparent, I am sympathetic with the overarching idea of prepping. I learned early on as a boy scout to “be prepared.” As an adult, I have come to understand the sobering reality of buying insurance, locking the front door at night, and having a fire escape plan–all “just in case” something bad happened. From preparing for our week ahead to thinking through the coming year, we all prepare to some degree or another. But is preparation contradictory to biblical teaching? Didn’t Jesus tell his disciples not to worry and be anxious about tomorrow (Matt. 6:25-34)?

Before answering these questions directly, here is a survey of some biblical passages that speak about our need to be prepared–both by way of example and precept:

  • (Gen. 6-9) – the example of Noah, preparing for the flood. See also (Heb. 11:7) “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.”
  • (Gen. 41:47-49) – the example of Joseph. During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.”
  • (Neh. 4) – the example of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall and all of the preparations of both building and protection involved.
  • (Prov. 6:6-9) “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?”
  • (Prov. 16:9) “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” We see here the complementary truths of our planning and God’s sovereignty.
  • (Prov. 22:3) “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
  • (Prov. 24:27) “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”
  • (Prov. 27:12) “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” [note: repetition of Prov. 22:3]
  • (Eccl.  11:1-2) “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.”

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