A vice


Rom 13:7-8

7          Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

8          Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. (NIV)


Prov 22:7

7                     The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.  (NIV)


Romans 6:16
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
(Whole Chapter: Romans 6 In context: Romans 6:15-17)


Willfully entering into unnecessary consumer debt makes you a servant to the lender, not to Christ.  A servant of Christ obeys His stewardship commands, and is not greedy.  This document quotes the bible where it speaks out on debt and many related issues. 




A danger


Hab 2

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion! 
    How long must this go on?’
Will not your debtors[f] suddenly arise?
    Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
    Then you will become their victim. 


Prov 22:26-27

26         Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts;

27         if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.  (NIV)




Interest-Accruing Debt




            [YOU zhu ree]-- interest paid on borrowed money. In the Bible the word usury does not necessarily have the negative connotations of our modern meaning of lending money at an excessive interest rate. Instead, it usually means the charging of interest on money that has been loaned.

            The Old Testament prohibited charging usury to fellow Israelites; the need of one's countryman was not to become an opportunity for profit <Ex. 22:25; Deut. 23:19-20; Neh. 5:1-13>. However, foreigners were traders and merchants, and usury was a part of their everyday lives. Thus they could be charged usury <Deut. 23:20>.

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

(Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


Jesus said it was all right to get interest on your money by investing it<Matt. 25:27; Luke 19:23>.  You can invest in a bank, or a house, land, even a college education.  These are ways that a good steward can multiply his master’s assets (Matthew 25:23-25). 


Ecclesiastes 7:12
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.
(Whole Chapter: Ecclesiastes 7 In context: Ecclesiastes 7:11-13)


Proverbs 13:11
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
(Whole Chapter: Proverbs 13 In context: Proverbs 13:10-12)


To buy unnecessary consumer items (that depreciate) that you cannot pay cash for:  That is not an “investment”.  The steward loses much of the master’s money to interest in this case.  This is poor stewardship for other reasons as well.  You are making a commitment bases on $ that you don’t yet have, and cannot be sure that you will.


            James 4

Boasting About Tomorrow
13Now 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." 14Why, 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. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.


Matthew 5:37
Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
(Whole Chapter: Matthew 5 In context: Matthew 5:36-38)


James 5:12
Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.
(Whole Chapter: James 5 In context: James 5:11-13)


Do not swear by your projected ability to pay the unnecessary consumer item off in the future. If you don’t do what you said you would, you could be condemned.  Why take such a huge risk?


Be content with what you have

Philippians 4:11
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
(Whole Chapter: Philippians 4 In context: Philippians 4:10-12)


Philippians 4:12
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Whole Chapter: Philippians 4 In context: Philippians 4:11-13)


1 Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
(Whole Chapter: 1 Timothy 6 In context: 1 Timothy 6:5-7)


1 Timothy 6:8
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
(Whole Chapter: 1 Timothy 6 In context: 1 Timothy 6:7-9)


Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."[ 13:5 Deut. 31:6]
(Whole Chapter: Hebrews 13 In context: Hebrews 13:4-6)



Willfully entering into unnecessary consumer debt is the opposite of providing.  Staying out of debt is logistically integral to obeying many of Christ’s stewardship commands by necessity. Here are just a few:

  1. Supporting the widows (or otherwise needy) of the Church.
    1. Pursuing economic equality within the body of Christ 2 Cor 8:12-15

                                                               i.      Locally

                                                             ii.      Internationally 

  1. Giving to the needy believers among you.
    1. Ephesians 4:28
      He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
      (Whole Chapter: Ephesians 4 In context: Ephesians 4:27-29
  2. Making disciples of all Nations
    1. $ Supporting Missionaries (Titus 3:13)
    2. Being a Missionary


2 Cor 8:12-15

12         For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

13         Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.

14         At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality,

15         as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."


Titus 3
13Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. 14Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.


Here is another scripture that assumes you keep enough money to spare:


Luke 16:9-11

9          I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10         "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

11         So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  (NIV)


If you follow worldly financial beliefs, and spend $ before you have it, you will not be able to carry out many of Christ’s stewardship commands.  This is a deadly sin called greed.


Titus 2:11-12

11         For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

12         It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,  (NIV)


Prov 28:6-8

6          Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.

7          He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.

8          He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.  (NIV)


Prov 23:1-5

1          When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you,

2          and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.

3          Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.

4          Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.

5          Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.  (NIV)


Many of the practices associated with amassing debt are forbidden in the scriptures:



Interest/Usury among brothers?


Exod 22:22-27

22         "Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.

23         If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.

24         My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

25         "If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.

26         If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, return it to him by sunset,

27         because his cloak is the only covering he has for his body. What else will he sleep in? When he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.  (NIV)


Lev 25:35-37

35         "'If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.

36         Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you.

37         You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.  (NIV)


Deut 23:19-23

19         Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.

20         You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a brother Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.

21         If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.

22         But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty.

23         Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.  (NIV)


Ezek 22:12

12         In you men accept bribes to shed blood; you take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD.  (NIV)


God never changed his mind about charging a brother interest (Deut 23:19-23 and other scriptures below).  So, if you are paying interest, you may either be financially yoked to unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14-17), or your brother should not be charging you interest (Deut 23:19-23).  Either way, interest-accruing debt should be avoided (Prov 22:7), and paid off ASAP (Rom 13:7-8).


2 Cor 6:14-17

14         Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

15         What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

16         What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."

17         "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."  (NIV)



Collateral: (Surety for yourself)


Deut 24:6

6          Do not take a pair of millstones-- not even the upper one-- as security for a debt, because that would be taking a man's livelihood as security.  (NIV)


Collateral should not be required:

Ezek 18:7-17

7          He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.

8          He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest. He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between man and man.

9          He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD.

10         "Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things

11         (though the father has done none of them): "He eats at the mountain shrines. He defiles his neighbor's wife.

12         He oppresses the poor and needy. He commits robbery. He does not return what he took in pledge. He looks to the idols. He does detestable things.

13         He lends at usury and takes excessive interest. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head.

14         "But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things:

15         "He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor's wife.

16         He does not oppress anyone or require a pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.

17         He withholds his hand from sin and takes no usury or excessive interest. He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father's sin; he will surely live.  (NIV)



Surety for another (Co-signing)


Prov 6:1-5

1          My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another,

2          if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth,

3          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!

4          Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.

5          Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.  (NIV)


Prov 11:15

15         He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe.  (NIV)


Prov 17:18

18         A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor.  (NIV)





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