Should Christians Borrow Money at All?

Review the scripture verses presented in the Biblical Perspective for this session. What other scripture can you find on the concept of borrowing and lending? From a personal point of view, what guidelines do you follow as far as your individual values around going in debt—for school? In buying a home? A car? Other? Most businesses would not survive in our dynamic capitalist economy without the ability to borrow money to buy inventory, help them through downturns in the economy, etc. What principles should a business follow to assure that they are using debt wisely? The Fed issues debt instruments such as Treasury bonds to finance the US government. Are you approving of the role of debt financing by the government if you buy these bonds? (Note: these include US Savings Bonds which many of you may have been holding for years!) Please include Bible verses. Biblical Perspective Debt and the Charging of Interest Economists argue that interest rates are simply the price paid for the use of borrowed money. Is it fair to charge interest? Why? (Note: consider the concept of Opportunity Cost from Session 1). Does the Bible prohibit the charging of interest? The Old Testament prohibited interest that would sting like a serpent, in other words, the charging of very high interest (usury). In the New Testament, Jesus referred to interest as bearing fruit, bringing forththe result of sensible investments. We see this concept illustrated in the Parable of the Talents. What about the common practice of interest rates of as high 30% to credit cardholders with poor credit ratings? Christians are not to oppress the poor, therefore it would be better not to lend at all if one has such a low credit-rating that one cannot afford or qualify for a more reasonable interest rate. As argued in the Old Testament, loans to the poor are to be interest-free or at low interest (e.g., compensation for inflation). Should Christians borrow money at all? This is quite a controversial topic, and what is permissible is not always wise from a Biblical point of view. If Christians do lend or borrow money, the term of the loan should be limited and the debt should be limited to what can be secured by collateral (Lev 25: 13-17, 23-55). Also, Christians should repay whatever they owe. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another (Rom 13:8a, NIV).