What Does the Bible Teach About Debt?
Not only has America become a debtor nation, but most Americans are drowning in debt. Our day–to–day dependence on debt begs the question: What does the Bible say about debt?
First, the Bible warns that “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). As such, we are warned against the folly of being excessively indebted to those who may be unforgiving in their demands for repayment. We ought to take seriously the wisdom of the proverb “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you” (Proverbs 22:26–27).
Furthermore, Scripture condemns the failure to repay our debts as wickedness. In the words of the psalmist, “the wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously” (Psalm 37:21). Likewise, the apostle Paul urges believers to diligently repay their debts (Romans 13:8).
Finally, whether in the theocracy of ancient Israel or the democracy of modern America, God’s people are called to be good stewards of the resources with which he has entrusted them. If we lend we should do so with kindness, and if we borrow we should do so with prudence.
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, “Is the Tithe for Today?” The Bible Answer Book Volume 1 (Nashville: J Countryman, 2004): 74–78.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law, (Romans 13:8).
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