By Gina Calvert

What is the definition of “Steward” in the Bible?

The definition of steward in the Bible lends itself to the idea of an “overseer” or “manager” over someone else’s matters.
In Genesis 15:2, the original Hebrew word for “steward” is `al bayith, which literally means “man over the house.” (Source) During Bible times, most notable households would have had a steward, so the term was familiar and not originally tied to spiritual matters. The steward might be in charge of the master’s:

Today someone who works on a ship is still called a steward, but the term is mostly used in church circles to describe how believers are to manage things that belong to God. And ultimately, everything belongs to God.

These 8 physical and spiritual applications of the term “steward” in the Bible help us understand how it applies to our lives:

How we exercise authority over the earth

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

How we steward personal finances and offerings

“Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” ((1 Cor. 16:1-2)

How elders care for the church

“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain.” (Titus 1:7)

How stewards use Spiritual and Physical Gifts

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Our responsibility to care for others

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim. 5:8)

Our duty to steward the gospel

“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Cor. 4:1-2)

Our accountability to grow spiritual resources

“If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:11)
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them…” (Matthew 25:14-29 tells the story of the way the three servants performed their duties and the master’s response to each one.)

Our reward for taking stewardship seriously

The definition of steward in the Bible includes reward: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

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