Borrowing is always seen in the Bible as a negative principle or way of handling ones finance and is not God’s best. It is clear that God is not in full support and thus discourages debts [Proverbs 22:7]. So what does the bible say?
What the Bible says about borrowing
Borrowing seems to be a consequence of disobeying God’s statues of economics and principles of finance. Thus the only biblical way to borrow is this:
If a person does borrow, the Scriptures are very clear that the money borrowed must be paid back.
“The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives.” Psalm 37:21
“It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.”
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8, NKJ).
The Bible warns against presuming on the future and when money is borrowed there should also be a secure repayment plan. So if we don’t want to be considered wicked by God (Psalm 37:21) we must repay any money we owe or borrowed.
People borrow for many reasons, but some examples of loans or borrowing that is probably not wise is:
- Taking out a loan to buy or rent a car (especially when you don’t personally have the money or a way to pay back)
- Taking out a loan to purchase a home
- Borrowing money to use for anything else.
Consider this: if our GOD is more than enough & more than able, why should we borrow? Why do we put our trust in loans and credit cards and equity lines and disregard God? Could it be that we have forgotten God when it comes to our finances? Could it be that we are not willing to let Him walk us through trusting Him for our supply and provision in the area of finances?
Deuteronomy 28:43-45 says: “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.”
Therefore, it is imperative that we follow God and His commands and our need for borrowing will be minimized, if not completely eliminated.
1. The Bible does not prohibit debt but it is not God’s best for His children. As seen, Debt is discussed in a negative light throughout the bible. The main reason for this is that it makes you a servant to someone other than God.
- Proverbs 22:26-27 “Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be”
- Deut 28:12 “The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your”
- Deut 28: 44 “He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.”
- Psalm 37:21 “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives”
- Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
2. If you do borrow, you should do so only if you have a guaranteed way to pay it back.
For instance, if you borrow to buy a car, 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. In which case, the most they could lose is the security they had pledged against a loan.
Proverbs 17:18 says: “A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor.
4. Avoid Long-term Debt Accumulation.
The longest term of debt God’s people took on in the Bible was about seven years. During the year of remission, the seventh year, the Jews were instructed to release their brothers from any indebtedness.
Deuteronomy 15:1-2 says: “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done:
Before borrowing any money, do the following.
- In prayer, ask God if He agrees with your decision because He sees the future and knows exactly what would happen if and after you borrow or lend to someone. Since only God knows the future (1 Kings 7, Isaiah 46:10), it is critical that you ask Him, listening to His voice (John 10:27) in order to determine if it is His will for you to borrow money.
- Also determine if it is really a need or URGENT. Don’t finance your wants with debt! God has promised to meet our needs [Matthew 6:31-33]
- If you must borrow, borrow with wisdom [James 1:5]. Spend quality time with the Lord in prayer, seeking God’s direction-i.e…because God has promised to direct us: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” [Psalms 32:8].
God’s perspective on debt is very different than the world’s perspective. The mindset of most people is to “buy now and pay later” or “smart people use other people’s money”. But God’s desire is for us to use minimal debt or no debt at all [Deuteronomy 28:1-14], by saving for future needs, rather than borrowing [Proverbs 21:20].
Remember God has promised that He alone will meet our needs. “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” [Philippians 4:19].
It is not a sin to borrow money, but it is a sin to borrow and not repay. Psalms 37:21 states, “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.” This verse is simply saying that the righteous person not only repays all debts, but goes “another mile” and gives generously.
What kind of a “light into a world of darkness” is a Christian who does not repay his debts on time? Jesus said: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:16) Clearly, it is God’s will that all Christians pay their debts on time.