What Does the Bible Say About Debt?

The Bible has a whole lot to say about debt.  Debt is the state of owing another something which is typically money.  It is often a state of bondage as you are legally and morally liable to repay that debt.  It is one of the largest stress factors in our American society and is a leading contributor to divorce!  So by those definitions, it certainly sounds like debt is not a good thing.  But let’s look and see what the Word of God has to say about debt.

Exodus 22:25-26 “If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin:”Bible and Debt

Scripture tells us that if we are the ones lending, we are not to be like the normal lender taking the one in debt’s clothes!  That’s a scary thought that a lender could even go so far as to take our very clothes.

2 Kings 4:7 “Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.”

Here we see the example of selling all that you have to get out of debt.  This widow was about to lose everything, and the Lord miraculously provided a food item (oil) which is also a commodity.  And she was told to go, sell it, and get out of debt.

Proverbs 11:15 “He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.”  As well as Proverbs 22:26-27:  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?”

We are not to be co-signers for any reason!  It’s that plain and simple.  When we co-sign, we risk our own assets which the Lord has entrusted to us, and that is a very un-wise decision!

Romans 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

This gives us the clear instruction that we are not to be in debt, period.  There are no exception clauses here.  It doesn’t say “owe no man anything except for your mortgage or your student loans.”  It says “own no many ANY THING.”  We are to be debt free.  If you are not debt free, begin working to become debt free now!

Colossians 2:14 “Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

And finally, we are told that our ultimate debt is our sin debt, and Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah paid that debt in full for us on the Cross.

Have you excepted His payment for our sins by trusting Him as Messiah?  If not, you need to become spiritually debt free as well by seeking His forgiveness for your sins and trusting Him as your Savior.

About Jocelin Boutet

Jocelin Boutet is a homeschool graduate who grew up learning finances from a young age and now passionately has her own ministry – Standing in YHVH’s Hand Ministries – with a mission of training believers how to be stronger in their walk with the Messiah and free of the world in lifestyle, finances, and relationships. As well as being a Financial Coach and Trainer, previously serving with Crown Financial Ministries, and Certificate in Biblical Studies, her personal practical experience as well as involvement on a daily basis in Christian finances gives her a unique perspective. She has been blessed to speak regularly in person as well as on the radio on God’s View on Money.

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  • http://www.FaithAndFinance.org Tim @ Faith and Finance

    We’ve become so used to having debt (like school loans and mortgages) that we tend to justify these in the category “good debt.”

    Debt is a terrible feeling (one that I’m trying to free myself of now..). Do I think that people should avoid ALL debt at ALL costs – I think it’s difficult.

    For example, my wife is starting med school next fall. Do we have an extra 50k each year to pay for it for 4 years…no. We’ll be borrowing. Will we be smart about it? Yes. Will we pay it off as soon as possible? You better believe it!

    Good post!

  • http://www.personalfinancebythebook.com Joe Plemon

    Jocelin,
    My wife are debt free and loving it. But I have a question: you used Romans 13:8 as a “proof text” that all debt is always wrong. No exceptions. Some bible scholars understand that “Owe no man anything…” means “pay your bills on time”. I am not looking for an excuse to justify debt, but I am wondering if Romans 13:8 is as black and white as you state. Any thoughts?

    • http://www.jocelinboutet.com Jocelin Boutet

      Hi Joe,

      You ask a very good question. I believe that the Bible scholars who say it means “pay your bills on time” are taking a bit too much liberty by saying that is all that means. Yes, it does mean pay your bills on time as that is a monthly debt/bill you owe, but it also means exactly what is says “owe NO man anything.” So if we are to owe no man, that means don’t own the credit card man, the mortgage man, etc. There are no exception clauses. And if you look at the context of the passage, it does make total sense to take it literally as our Messiah was talking about paying the taxes to our government and other financial issues.

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  • LGP

    What do you suggest for a single person living alone with less than $25,000 a year income? I want to pay off my mortgage and credit cards, but there is no money left at the end of the month after the utility bills, credit card bills, and the mortgage are paid. I have a 2-year college degree, but the economy is horrible, and I can’t find a better job, so that, so far, is not my way out.

    I don’t eat in restaurants—not even McDonald’s—don’t go to movies, basically don’t have fun, yet I still can’t make it. The debt is still there month after month, and with the rising cost of gas, groceries and utilities, it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet.

    I have nothing of value to sell. I drive an 12 year-old beat up car that I cannot afford to fix or replace. Please advise.

    Yahweh bless.

    • http://www.standinginyhvhshand.org Jocelin Boutet

      Hi LGP,

      That is a very hard place to be in. First of all, I commend you for being sure to pay on your bills before you enjoy pleasure for yourself.

      Second, while you say you have nothing of value to sell, you do have two things to consider. Could you sell your home, pay off the mortgage from selling it, and either move to a lower cost area or buy something smaller until you pay off the rest of your debt? Also, while you may not be able to pick up a better full time job, can you get or create a part time job? You can make good money by cleaning houses and mowing lawns. I know of people who take 1 day a week doing that and make anywhere from $300-$600 doing that a month. That would certainly go a long ways to helping your budget wouldn’t it? :)

      Also, have you looked at what you are paying in interest on the credit cards? You may be able to do some balance transfers to lower interest cards, continue paying them off at the same rate, but decrease your pay off time!

      I hope that helps!

      Blessings,
      Jocelin

  • victor

    Hi,
    I also think in LGP’s case, they should consider having a roommate to share the bills. I am now in my forties and have never lived alone, but have happily shared my dwellings with at least 10 other roommates at different times. it is so much easier financially than trying to pay for everything myself.

    Victor