What Does the Bible Say About Debt?
Debt is a common aspect of modern life. Many individuals find themselves burdened with loans, credit card bills, and other financial obligations. However, what does the Bible say about debt? As a book that offers guidance on various aspects of life, including finances, the Bible provides valuable insights into this topic. In this article, we will explore what the Bible says about debt and provide answers to frequently asked questions.
Biblical Principles on Debt:
1. Avoidance of Debt: Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” This verse emphasizes the importance of avoiding unnecessary debt. While it may not be feasible to completely eliminate debt from our lives, the Bible encourages us to be cautious and responsible in our financial decisions.
2. Honoring Commitments: Ecclesiastes 5:5 advises, “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” This principle highlights the importance of honoring our commitments, including repaying debts. As believers, we are called to be people of integrity and fulfill our financial obligations.
3. Owing No One Anything: Romans 13:8 teaches, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.” This verse encourages us to strive toward being debt-free, except for the debt of love towards others. It reminds us that excessive debt can hinder our ability to fulfill our primary calling of loving and serving others.
4. Seeking God’s Provision: Matthew 6:31-33 encourages us not to worry about our needs but to seek God’s provision first. By prioritizing our relationship with God, we can trust in His faithfulness to provide for our needs, which can help prevent falling into excessive debt.
5. Avoiding Co-Signing: Proverbs 22:26-27 advises against cosigning for loans, stating, “Do not be one who shakes 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.” This verse warns against cosigning, as it can lead to financial hardship if the borrower fails to repay the debt.
Q: Is borrowing money always sinful?
A: Borrowing money is not inherently sinful. However, the Bible encourages us to be cautious and responsible when borrowing, avoiding unnecessary debt and honoring our commitments.
Q: Can Christians ever declare bankruptcy?
A: Bankruptcy should be approached with careful consideration and as a last resort. Christians should seek wise counsel and explore alternative solutions before considering bankruptcy.
Q: What if I am already in debt?
A: If you find yourself in debt, it is important to prioritize repayment. Develop a realistic budget, seek financial advice, and explore debt repayment strategies. Remember, God’s grace and forgiveness extend to all areas of our lives, including our financial struggles.
Q: Should Christians avoid using credit cards?
A: Using credit cards in a responsible manner is not inherently wrong. However, it is essential to exercise self-control, avoid excessive debt, and pay off credit card balances in full each month.
Q: Is it wrong to lend money to others?
A: Lending money to others is not wrong, but it should be done with wisdom and discernment. Consider the borrower’s ability to repay, set clear terms, and be willing to forgive debts if necessary.
In conclusion, the Bible provides valuable guidance on the topic of debt. It encourages us to be cautious, responsible, and honor our financial commitments. While debt may be a reality for many, the Bible reminds us of the importance of seeking God’s provision, avoiding unnecessary debt, and prioritizing our relationships with others. By following these principles, we can approach debt with wisdom and integrity, striving to be good stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us.