Don’t, but if you do, pay it all back, for you are a slave.

That is the one-sentence summary of the entire textbook for the class of “A Biblical Course on Debt”.

The Bible uses the word-picture of slavery—yes, full-blown, no rights, hard work, all pain, no gain slavery—to drive home the realities of financial debt.

The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Proverbs 22:7 (ESV)

That should be sufficient motivation never ever to take a loan, not even from a friend! What then do you do if you are already in financial debt? The answer is simple: pay it all back and become a giver of your own money rather than a user of another’s money.

The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;

Psalm 37:21 (ESV)

These two verses are the foundation of all other insights into making and paying off debt. We live in a society that promotes buying things that your salary cannot maintain. From legal financial institutions to illegal loan sharks, those with the money entice those without money into financial slavery—often for the rest of their lives.

These two verses should shock us all into a no-debt over-reaction. From there we can then cautiously find the sensible financial road that is appropriate for each of us.

In short, don’t go into debt, but if you do, commit to pay it all back in a sensible way, and remember, until it is all paid off. Think of yourselves as being enslaved to the lender.