Equity and Accumulation: A Biblical Critique of Residual Interest

  • Bruce Gurd
  • John Rice


This paper takes a Biblical perspective to the accounting concept of equity is a cornerstone of teaching and practice as an essential element in accounting. In accounting, equity is “the residual interest in the assets of the entity after the deduction of its liabilities” (SAC4). While accumulation may be an outcome of hard work, the general thrust of the Scriptures is against the desire to accumulate. Two problems emerge from accumulation. First is a personal problem; Jesus’ teaching suggests that the desire to accumulate earthly riches robs the individual of the desire for spiritual accumulation. The second is the impact on others; for the desire to accumulate for oneself can be to the detriment of the other. We argue that this second problem is prevalent in 21st century capitalism and provides a significant challenge for Jesus’ disciples in business today. The paper suggests solutions both at individual, organizational, and societal levels.