Is it wrong to
Today's Question: Romans
13:3 says, "Owe no man anything." Is it always wrong to borrow money?
Bible Answer: This scripture
is not saying that it is wrong to borrow, it is saying that you should pay
back what you owe. The New International Versions says, "Let no debt remain
outstanding." You see, it is not wrong to borrow so long as you pay back
what you owe.
I'm concern that many Christians are put under
bondage by certain teachings--that debt is always wrong, therefore you
should not borrow money to get a house or car or improve your business. Even
some churches reflect this by not borrowing money to expand their church
facility or build a new one. They think they are sinning if they borrow
money. This is simply not true.
Without debt, there would be no America,
because our capitalistic society is run by debt. Nearly every business has
some sort of debt. Nearly every home has some sort of debt. If people could
not borrow money, the economy would collapse.
Debt is not wrong when you can make it work
for you. For example, it is wise for a business to borrow money at 10%
interest if that money would be used to expand and improve the business
resulting in 25% more profits. The business would be worth more. Yes, it has
more debt, but it also has more assets.
It is wise for a family to borrow money to get
a home. First, the home is likely to go up in value. Second, part of the
payments go toward the principle, which is money in your pocket. Third,
eventually the home will be paid off if you live in it long enough. Fourth,
it is better to pay off a home then rent a home indefinitely and make
someone else rich.
A church, likewise, is wise to borrow money to
expand their facility or build a new one if it is going to result in
ministering to more people.
This is what my church Word of Life did.
We borrowed a half million dollars to purchase nine acres and build a new
facility which doubled the size of our meeting place. Yes, we had more debt,
but we also had a greater potential of reaching more people. That's what is
Later, we sold one acre for two and half times
more money than we had paid for the entire nine acres. The loan has
actually worked in our favor. Now we owe about one-fifth of our original
note and have equity worth over a million dollars and as a result we are
getting ready to expand again. If I had bought into the teaching that it is
a sin to borrow money, then our church would still be renting.
I know churches that refuse to borrow money;
and, as a result, are struggling with overcrowding. Also, they are battling
to raise enough money to build a bigger building. It would be better to
borrow the money, move into a bigger place and trust God to pay the mortgage
As you can see, all debt is not wrong.
However, there is the other side to this coin. Many people are borrowing
money for things that they should have paid cash, such as clothes,
vacations, stereos, etc. And you must be careful of credit card debt,
because they, in my opinion, charge usury. Usury is excessive interest.
God told Israel not to extract usury from
their own brothers. In Nehemiah 5:10, Nehemiah said, "I and my brothers and
my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting
of usury stop!" You see, it was okay to lend and borrow money, but
charging excessive interest was wrong, and Nehemiah told the people to stop
We must use wisdom in the handling of debt,
but we should not make a man-made, legalistic law that forbids people to
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