What does the Bible have to say about debt?
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.Romans 13:8
The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.Proverbs 22:7
The exhortation of Scripture is to be entirely debt free owing no man anything but love. To owe someone money is financial slavery. It is very ironic that the “free people” of the United States are largely slaves to the people they have borrowed money from. As the joke says, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” The Bible does not portray debt as sinful per se, but it definitely describes debt as being a dumb idea.
He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.Proverbs 11:15
A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.Proverbs 17:18
Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts. If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?Proverbs 22:26-27
And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.`Leviticus 25:35-37
Not only is debt a dumb idea, assuming someone else’s debt is even worse. Never cosign on a loan; that is one of the worst things you can do financially. If someone is in genuine need give to them expecting nothing in return.
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.Proverbs 13:22
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.Proverbs 19:14
Parents should seek to help their children avoid debt. One of the best ways they can do this is getting out of debt themselves. Once out of debt, parents should seek to help their children avoid debt.
For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.Psalm 50:10
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.James 4:1-3
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.Matthew 6:31-34
Debt can many times be a form of unbelief. If we need something, why are we talking to a banker and not our Heavenly Father? If God will not give us what we are asking for maybe it is not His will that we should have it.
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.Proverbs 6:1-5
If you have co-signed on a loan, get out of it as fast as you possibly can. If you are in debt get out of debt as fast as you can. God’s people should be able to pour love and generosity out upon every one without fear because we are debt free.