What does the Bible say about stealing?

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In the OT, the Lord placed His command “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) as one of the Ten Commandments which He wrote with His own finger on stone (Exodus 31:18). And in the NT Jesus, quoted the Ten Commandments (mentioning stealing) to the rich young ruler, when the latter asked “what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19: 16). The Lord commands, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and don’t violate his rights (Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9) for by doing this, a Christian fulfills God’s law (Matthew 22:39-40).

For any society to exist, the principle of not stealing must be respected otherwise there will be no security and anarchy will prevail. The commandment of not stealing forbids any act by which, directly or indirectly, a person deceitfully gets the possessions of another.

Stealing goes beyond just taking other people’s property for it also includes the covering of defects, forgery of value, the using of inaccurate measures…etc. Workers steal, for example, when they take a “commission” without their employers’ permission, neglect to do whatever work they contracted to do, or when they appropriate the owner’s resources for their personal use. Also, employers steal when they deny their employees the rewards they promised, mislead in tax returns, or fraud business people by acquiring debts they cannot pay back. Stealing also can take place when a person snips on another’s person time or affections.

People can also steal from God by withholding tithe. Malachi the prophet wrote: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ ‘In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it’” (Malachi 3:8-10).

People steal because of greed or covetousness. And greed is a sin (Colossians 3:5). Christians need to remember that they “will be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:12) and will give account to their words (Romans 14:12; Hebrews 4:13). Therefore, they need to develop the spirit of honesty, love, justice, and fair dealings with others that they may be blessed by God (Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28)

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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