PRINCIPLE #10 : GET OUT OF DEBT 1
1. Debt, when mentioned in the Scriptures is not prohibited but is presented in a negative light : Debt, the Scriptures teach, places you in a servant role to someone other than God: “ The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Prov. 22:7). The lender places conditions on the loan, making you their servants rather than God’s.
2. When you borrow, you have an obligation to repay. Your failure to do so is a sin, regardless of the circumstances : “The wicked borrow and do not repay…It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it” (Ps. 37:21a; Ecc. 5:5).
3. You should have a means of repaying a debt if you do borrow : “For instance, if you borrow to buy a car for your business, arrange the loan so that if you can’t pay for some reason, the lender can take back the car and you will be free from your debt. If you don’t do this, you’re signing surety. By signing surety, we’re presuming on the future. If everything goes as we expect, we’ll be able to pay the loans back. If things go wrong, as they often do, we may be left in debt. If Christians would observe this one caution associated with borrowing, the most they could lose is the security they had pledged against a loan. This is especially true of co-signing a loan for another person. Do not do it unless you are willing and able to pay the whole amount for the person. Proverbs 17:18 says: ‘ A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor.’” 2
4. Restrain from allowing long term debt : In the Old Testament, the people of God were only allowed to accrue debt for seven years. (See Deut. 15:1, 2). We would be well advised to heed this guideline.
5. Determine to fully follow God’s laws to not borrow : We should carefully take heed to the warnings in Deuteronomy 28:1,12, 43-45: “ 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. 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…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.”
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
1 Adapted from an article by Crown Financial Ministries 2Quoted from a Crown Financial Ministries’ paper on the debt issue