Does the Bible speak against going into debt?

The Bible warns against going into debt but does not forbid it. Paul‘s teaches, “Owe no one anything except to love one another” (Romans 13:8). Although the Scriptures allow the needy to borrow, it doesn’t encourage borrowing for it makes the borrower the slave of the lender (proverbs 22:7).

The Old Testament teaches that God’s children should have compassion on the poor who need to borrow (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). But lenders were not allowed to charge interest on the needy in Israel (Deuteronomy 15:1).

In the New Testament, Jesus tells us not to “turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42) and to “lend to them without expecting to get anything back” (Luke 6:35). He also commends the creditor who offers forgiveness for the poor (Matthew 18:23-35).

The apostle James admonished the believers to help the poor saying, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (James 2: 15-16).

And while the righteous needs to be merciful, he also needs to be wise because some poor will take advantage of the godly (Psalms 37:2). So, the lender should use “discretion” (1 Timothy 5:8) in giving to the poor and not encourage laziness and dependency. The Bible teaches, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). And the Lord also instructs the borrower to work hard to repay his debts (Psalm 37:21).

As for investments, some people object to the charging of interest on loans but the Bible teaches that it is not wrong to loan money with a fair amount of interest. In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus said, “you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest” (Matthew 25:27).

And since in our modern culture, it has become necessary to borrow in order to obtain homes, automobiles, and other necessities, believers are encouraged to make careful and safe financial planning when they acquire debts. So, wisdom in managing the finances is needed and is also offered by God for those that seek it (James 1:5).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

 

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