Have you ever wanted to know what the Bible says about debt? There are many bible verses about debt that we can learn from. And understanding God’s perspective on this topic can help us make wiser decisions when managing money, paying off debt and avoiding it all together.
As Christians, God wants us to be financially free from debt so He can do more through us and with the resources He’s entrusted to our care. Becoming debt free should ultimately be for God’s purposes.
Here are several bible verses about debt that stand out to me and are good to keep in mind when making decisions about money or being tempted to borrow.
1. Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
I’ve always felt like I was in bondage to debt when we had car loans, credit card debt, etc. I knew my financial freedom was limited because I had to make the payments each month and couldn’t do anything else with the money.
It’s easy enough to want a new car but when you sign the loan you’re signing an agreement to pay that debt over several years. The thought of owing someone that money each and every month for years is discomforting even if you have a nice new car to drive.
2. Proverbs 3:27-28 – Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”— when you now have it with you.
Scripture tells us that we are to pay back debt when we owe and have the resources to do so There are many stories of people who try to flee from their debts or who too quickly file bankruptcy to avoid paying what has been borrowed.
Doing so is irresponsible. If people choose to borrow they must be responsible enough to repay. Sometimes this can be difficult given changes to our financial situation, however, we should always work hard to repay debts even if it takes longer than expected.
Debt presumes on the future
3. James 4:13-14 – Now listen, you who say, today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
The truth is that none of us know what the future will bring. Back to the car debt example, what if you take out a car loan for 5 years and then you lose your before you can pay it back. You thought you could afford the car payments, but couldn’t foresee losing your job.
The same holds true when using a credit card. What if you were to use a credit card to charge some expensive electronics? You might think you can pay the card off in a few months, but what happens if you incur a major medical expense? Did you see that expense coming? Of course not!
We can’t assume we can afford debt payments in the future and that’s certainly a risk we’re taking with car loans and other debts.
Let’s not forget the touchy subject of consigning debts. The Bible provides some meaningful guidance here as well.
4. Proverbs 22:26-27 – Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.
5. Proverbs 17:18 – A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor.
6. Proverbs 6:1-5 – My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
Cosigning puts our own finances at risk. The truth is that if you’re cosigning for someone there is probably a good reason you’re having to do so. Maybe they’ve had problems with making payments in the past and have bad credit. They can’t get the loan without you cosigning and so there is a very high risk that you’ll end up assuming full responsibility for the loan and have to pay it back. Avoid cosigning!
More Bible verses about debt
Here are some more Bible verses about debt and obeying God’s financial principles to consider. In these verses we can see the theme of slavery again and being ruled over when in debt. The opposite is true when we are debt free. We are available to God to help others financially.
7. Romans 13:8 – Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
8. 1 Corinthians 7:23 – You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
9. Deuteronomy 15:4-6 – However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.
10. Deuteronomy 28:1,2,12 – If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.
All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
11. Deuteronomy 28:15,43-45 – However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, but you will be the tail. All these curses will come upon you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the LORD your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you.
The Bible says plenty on God’s perspective on debt. The key takeaway to remember is that debt isn’t a good. God doesn’t want His people owing others because they are in bondage, or trapped, into an obligation to repay.
What are your thoughts on these Bible verses about debt?