What Does the Bible Say About Borrowing, Lending, and Debt?

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Scripture says “owe no one nothing” and “the borrower is the slave of the lender.” But, does that mean it’s wrong for a believer to ever carry debt. Or, is it okay under certain circumstances — and if so, which ones?

This week on Up For Debate, we will discuss this extremely relevant issue with Robert Dickie, III, president of Crown Financial Ministries — and Bob Louder, president of Christian Financial Ministries. To help us prepare for the discussion, I compiled some verses on borrowing, lending, and managing money. In both the Old and New Testaments, there are clear warnings against going in to debt, guidance for repaying debt, and clear instructions for those who lend money:

Borrowing Money

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 8:13

Repaying Debt

“Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.” Ecclesiastes 5:5

“The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.” Psalm 37:21

“Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” Romans 13:7

Lending Money and Cosigning

“Be not one of those who give pledges, who puts up security for debts.” Proverbs 22:26

“If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him. If ever you take your neighbor’s cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.” Exodus 22:25-27

“And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:34-35

Faith and Money

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10


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2 thoughts on “What Does the Bible Say About Borrowing, Lending, and Debt?”

  1. Didn’t Jesus Christ throw the moneychangers out of the temple?

    …and then (paraphrasing/from Matthew 21:13): And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

    …how do those who subscribe to ‘Prosperity Christianity’ beliefs rationalize their twin focus on Christianity and money?

  2. I think you are taking that scripture out of context. Jesus threw them out of the temple because instead of using the temple for worship, they had turned it into a market. And to answer your question, those of us who subscribe to “prosperity Christianity” do it because the Bible promises prosperity to those who believe. There are lots of scriptures that prove this but I will give you only two:

    1. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9, NIV)

    2. Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. (3 John 2:2, NKJV)

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