Is Borrowing Money Biblical?
Many Christians take a dim view of borrowing and lending. It’s easy to understand this attitude once you take a look at all the warnings in the Bible about this issue.
However, what if you desperately need to pay for a financial emergency?
- Perhaps you are a new homeowner and are overextended.
- Perhaps your car broke down and you can’t get to work unless you fix it.
- Perhaps your plumbing burst and you have to do something fast.
- Perhaps you need to pay for some expensive prescription medication out of pocket before you can hope to be reimbursed at a later date.
These are dire situations that you need to address urgently and it might make you wonder whether or not you should borrow money from a friend or use alternative payday loans online to get the money that you need.
It's a common misconception that scripture forbids people from taking out loans or lines of credit. In truth, the Bible warns against irresponsible borrowing and failing to pay back what’s owed.
It’s time to take a closer look.
Let's focus on borrowing because this is probably your situation right now. We will briefly touch on lending after discussing borrowing, in case someone is asking you for money.
If you need to borrow money, should you do it?
Yes, it's fine to go ahead and borrow the money that you need to take care of some financial problem you might be facing.
However, you should use the the following guidelines:
- You must pay back every penny. According to Psalm 37, “The wicked borrows but does not pay back.”
- Only borrow money to meet a dire need. When you borrow, you place yourself in debt, which Moses described as “slavery.” However, it’s wrong to incur this debt for some frivolous pursuit—like using it to buy nicer clothes, drive a better car, eat in fancier restaurants, or take a great vacation.
- Avoid getting in over your heads with debt due to poor financial stewardship. Financial stewardship involves practices like proper budgeting, tithing, seeding, and the like.
- Only borrow what you need and plan to pay back short-term loans as soon as possible.
Suppose a family member or friend asks to borrow some money from you. What's the Christian thing to do? Say, “yes” or “no”?
The Old and New Testament have some strong words about lending. Luke 6:34 says: “And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.”
Essentially, the warning is not to refuse to lend but to do it in a pure way. Lend to those in need without expecting anything in return. If your loan is not returned, you must forgive those who cannot repay you and release them from debt.
Faith vs. the World
The more your faith deepens, the more you realize that there is a yawning chasm between what the world thinks about things and the sacred ideas about living a righteous life spelled out in the scriptures.
As far as the world is concerned, lending and borrowing are just part of life. A worldly person will be quick to point out that people have been lending at interest for centuries. He or she might also say that most of our great businesses got their start and fueled their growth through the practice of borrowing. It’s rare to hear about any start up funded from savings alone.
Here’s the thing: we are relying on the word of God, not on man, to guide our daily conduct, and God sets a much higher standard for believers in everything, including lending and borrowing. We know in our hearts that it’s sinful to engage in financial practices that don’t honor our God or our fellow human beings.
However, this higher standard does not direct us to stay clear of lending or borrowing—it just suggests that we do it with honor and dignity. Many outstanding Christian business men and women have relied on borrowed money to start and grow their business, but they did it all in an honorable way by assuming full responsibility and paying back the money they owed without delay.