Borrowing is not explicitly forbidden in the Bible. However, the Bible advises caution and warns against becoming enslaved to debt, emphasizing the importance of wise financial management and avoiding excessive borrowing.
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Borrowing is a topic that has been discussed and debated for centuries, and its implications have also been explored in religious texts like the Bible. While there isn’t an explicit prohibition against borrowing in the Bible, there is wisdom and caution imparted regarding financial management and the potential pitfalls of debt.
The Bible advises believers to exercise caution and be mindful of the consequences of borrowing. In the book of Proverbs, it states, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). This cautionary verse highlights the potential consequences and bondage that can arise from excessive debt.
Furthermore, the Bible emphasizes the importance of wise financial management. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul advises followers to “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another” (Romans 13:8a). This verse encourages believers to strive for financial freedom and avoid unnecessary debts, directing resources instead towards fulfilling their responsibilities and showing love to others.
Interesting facts about borrowing:
- Historical background: Borrowing money has been a common practice throughout history. Ancient civilizations, such as Mesopotamia and Egypt, had well-documented systems of lending and borrowing.
- Usury laws: In medieval Europe, lending money for interest was heavily restricted by usury laws, which were often influenced by religious beliefs.
- Modern banking: The development of modern banking systems in the 17th century allowed for more structured lending and borrowing arrangements, leading to the growth of international trade and commerce.
- Consumer debt: In recent times, consumer debt has become a significant concern. According to a report by the Federal Reserve, total household debt in the United States exceeded $14 trillion in 2020, including mortgages, student loans, credit card debt, and auto loans.
To provide a better understanding, here is an example of a table comparing different perspectives on borrowing:
|Perspective||View on Borrowing|
|Biblical||Caution against excessive borrowing, warns of debt enslavement|
|Classical||Varies across philosophers – Aristotle viewed lending for interest negatively, while Cicero argued for fair lending practices|
|Islamic||Prohibition of charging interest, encourages ethical financing|
|Modern||Generally accepts borrowing as a tool for personal and economic growth, but emphasizes responsible borrowing practices|
In conclusion, while borrowing is not explicitly forbidden in the Bible, the scriptures advise caution, mindful financial management, and avoiding excessive debt. The verse from Proverbs serves as a reminder of the potential consequences of being enslaved to debt. Understanding historical perspectives, diverse philosophical views, and modern practices can help shape a well-rounded understanding of borrowing in various contexts.
Video answer to “Is borrowing biblically forbidden?”
In this video, Dave clarifies that the Bible’s encouragement to lend freely is not an endorsement of banking or exploitation. The original translation of the word “lending” in Greek and Hebrew actually means to give freely, without expectation of repayment. It emphasizes the spirit of generosity and helping others without strings attached. Dave also mentions the concept of usury laws in the Old Testament, showing that the Bible has always sought to protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation. He appreciates the discussion with Ann and acknowledges her contribution as an FPU coordinator.
Other responses to your question
Why? Because God created us and knows the role that money plays in our lives. But across all 2,350 verses about money, not one of them says that borrowing, or being in debt, is forbidden. The Bible does not contain a direct mandate to never borrow money.
Most financial experts agree that although borrowing is not expressly forbidden in scriptures, it is not encouraged, either. Certified Financial Planner Josh Wood advises Christians to use wisdom when they borrow money.
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You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.