What Does the Bible Say about Money and Debt?
God has Much to Tell Us About Life and Money in His Word – the Bible.
The Bible has a lot to say about money. Actually, the Bible has a lot to say about life in general. In the interest of full disclosure, my wife and I are born-again Christ followers, and we try to pattern our lives as close as we can to the principles found in the Bible. I understand that not everyone believes as we do. But the money principles found in the Bible will work for anyone who chooses to implement them regardless of your beliefs. So what does God, through the Bible, have to say regarding money and debt?
There are two phrases that most people think of when you mention the Bible and money. The first is: “Money is the root of all evil.” And the other is: “the borrower is slave to the lender”.
“Money is the Root of All Evil.”
First of all, the Bible does not say that money is the root of all evil. Many people, Christians included, have taken this passage in the Bible to mean that God is against people having money. And that if you have money, you must be evil. And the only way to become rich is to take advantage of poor people, which is of course, evil.
What it does say, in I Timothy 6:10, is that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” The key difference is of course the “love of money”. The verse continues with, “Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
In other words, if you pursue money more than anything else, if you love money, you set yourself up for many troubles or sorrows.
Money in and of itself is not bad or evil. It’s the love of money that can cause some to do terrible things.
On the flip side, if you have money, God is not mad or upset with you. In fact, he has chosen to bless you in a specific way. Perhaps you have an opportunity to help others who are less fortunate with your generosity because God has given you more than you need.
Having more money simply means you have a greater responsibility to manage it well. In the wise words of Uncle Ben in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
“The Borrower is Slave to the Lender”
The book of Proverbs contains many truths about money. Proverbs 22:7 contains the phrase in question. The whole verse reads: “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
And while this truth was certainly applicable during Bible times, it also applies to us today.
I’ve covered this in more detail in previous post. But the general point is that when you are in debt, you are in a sense owned by your creditors. You don’t have freedom to spend your money as you choose. Your future money is not your own, because it is owed to repay your debts. And remember, future money is more valuable than today’s money.
And if you refuse to pay your debts, your creditors have recourse to recoup their money. They can take an asset that was purchased with the debt. Or they can take you to court. Neither of these things sound like freedom to me. A better action is to take responsibility (there’s that word again) for your debts, buckle down, and pay them off.
This is one reason why debt is so destructive. It has the potential to ruin your life if you let it. And whether you choose to believe it or not, the borrower is indeed at the mercy of the lender.
Get rid of your debt at all costs.
Other Money Principles Found in the Bible.
Save for bad times.
The account of Joseph in Egypt is a classic example of an emergency fund and it’s uses. I’ve also detailed this story in a previous post. But the short version is that Joseph convinced the Pharaoh to stockpile food during years of plenty, so that they would have food to survive during the lean years.
Don’t Overextend Yourself.
In Luke 14:28, Jesus tells of a man who started to build a tower, but he could not finish it due to his poor planning. Too often we take on more projects / debt / commitments than we can handle. Evaluate your time and money constraints and see if you could benefit from cutting back.
Invest Your Excess to Earn More.
Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 25 about a man who gives talents to his servants to invest while he is away. Naturally two of his three servants do well, while the third does nothing. Investing and making your money work for you is a principle that is found in more than one place in the Bible.
The Bible has much to say regarding money and how we should use it. I will likely write more articles detailing some of the other principles regarding money that are discussed in the Bible.
But before I leave you, know that God cares about you and how you manage your money. Be a good steward of the finances he has given you. So that, just like the servants with the talents, you will hear him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Are you practicing biblical money principles? Or maybe you disagree with these principles?
Let me know in the comments. Thanks for sharing, and taking time to read.