31 Bible Verses about Paying Debt

A group of diverse individuals sitting around a table with open Bibles.

Paying off debt is a significant concern for many people, and the Bible offers guidance on this topic through various verses in both the Old Testament and the New Testaments. Christ Jesus, through his teachings, emphasizes the importance of managing financial debt responsibly as part of our Christian duty. Verses from Proverbs highlight that a wise man understands the consequences of debt and strives to avoid being enslaved by it. The concept of debt extends beyond financial obligations to spiritual debt, where the wages of sin could lead to eternal life through the free gift of God.

Financial debt, whether it involves personal loans or credit card debt, should be handled with integrity and responsibility. Scriptures like Romans 13:8 urge us to owe no one anything except love, aligning with the will of God. Good financial stewardship is also about the work of your hands, where a good man uses his resources wisely, giving generously and ensuring full restitution when required. This approach ensures that we remain righteous and reflect the kingdom of God in our actions.

Understanding and applying these biblical principles can help us navigate financial challenges, build a good name, and ultimately secure great riches in the form of spiritual and moral wealth, aligning with the teaching of Jesus and the followers of Christ Jesus.

Romans 13:8

Romans 13:8“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (NRSVue)

This verse emphasizes that the only debt we should carry is the debt of love. Financial obligations should be met promptly, freeing us to focus on the ongoing obligation to love others. This love fulfills all commandments and transcends material concerns, aligning our actions with God’s will.

Psalm 37:21

Psalm 37:21“The wicked borrow, and do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and keep giving.” (NRSVue)

The distinction between the wicked and the righteous is evident in their approach to debt. The righteous honor their commitments and remain generous, showcasing integrity and trustworthiness. This verse encourages us to strive for righteousness by meeting our financial obligations and maintaining a spirit of generosity.

Proverbs 3:27-28

Proverbs 3:27-28“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.” (NRSVue)

Procrastination in fulfilling our obligations can harm relationships and reflect poorly on our character. This verse urges promptness in repaying debts and fulfilling promises, fostering trust and demonstrating responsibility.

Proverbs 22:7

Proverbs 22:7“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (NRSVue)

Debt can create an imbalance of power, where the borrower becomes subservient to the lender. This verse serves as a caution against accumulating debt and highlights the importance of financial independence and wise stewardship of resources.

A person sitting at a table, looking worried, with bills and a pen in front of them.

Proverbs 22:26-27

Proverbs 22:26-27“Do not be one of those who give pledges, who become surety for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?” (NRSVue)

Becoming a guarantor for another’s debt can lead to personal financial ruin if the borrower defaults. This verse advises against taking on unnecessary financial risks and encourages prudent management of personal resources.

Proverbs 17:18

Proverbs 17:18“It is senseless to give a pledge, to become surety for a neighbor.” (NRSVue)

Co-signing or guaranteeing another’s debt can be a risky decision. This verse advises against such actions, promoting wisdom and discernment in financial matters to avoid potential pitfalls.

Deuteronomy 28:12

Deuteronomy 28:12“The Lord will open for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all your undertakings. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow.” (NRSVue)

God’s blessings enable us to be lenders rather than borrowers, symbolizing financial stability and generosity. This verse reassures us that divine provision supports responsible financial practices, allowing us to bless others through lending.

Proverbs 6:1-5

Proverbs 6:1-5“My child, if you have given your pledge to your neighbor, if you have bound yourself to another, you are snared by the utterance of your lips, caught by the words of your mouth. So do this, my child, and save yourself, for you have come into your neighbor’s power: go, hurry, and plead with your neighbor. Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler.” (NRSVue)

This passage warns against the dangers of rash financial commitments and emphasizes the urgency of extricating oneself from unwise pledges. It advocates for proactive measures to escape potential financial traps and secure personal freedom.

Matthew 18:23-35

Matthew 18:23-35“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (NRSVue)

This parable underscores the importance of mercy and forgiveness in financial dealings. Just as God forgives our substantial debts, we are called to show compassion and forgiveness to those who owe us, reflecting God’s grace in our interactions.

A community gathering in a village setting.

Deuteronomy 15:1-2

Deuteronomy 15:1-2“Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts. And this is the manner of the remission: every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it from a neighbor who is a member of the community, because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed.” (NRSVue)

The practice of debt remission every seven years promotes economic stability and social equity, preventing perpetual indebtedness. This command reflects God’s justice and mercy, ensuring that no one is permanently burdened by debt.

Nehemiah 5:1-13

Nehemiah 5:1-13“Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish kin. For there were those who said, ‘With our sons and our daughters, we are many; we must get grain, so that we may eat and stay alive.’ There were also those who said, ‘We are having to pledge our fields, our vineyards, and our houses in order to get grain during the famine.’ And there were those who said, ‘We are having to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay the king’s tax. Now our flesh is the same as that of our kindred; our children are the same as their children; and yet we are forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been ravished; we are powerless, and our fields and vineyards now belong to others.’ I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these complaints. After thinking it over, I brought charges against the nobles and the officials; I said to them, ‘You are all taking interest from your own people.’ And I called a great assembly to deal with them, and said to them, ‘As far as we are able, we have bought back our Jewish kindred who had been sold to other nations; but now you are selling your own kin, who must then be bought back by us!’ They were silent, and could not find a word to say. So I said, ‘The thing that you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God, to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us stop this taking of interest. Restore to them, this very day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the interest on money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.’ Then they said, ‘We will restore everything and demand nothing more from them. We will do as you say.’ And I called the priests, and made them take an oath to do as they had promised. I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, ‘So may God shake out everyone from house and from property who does not perform this promise. Thus may they be shaken out and emptied.’ And all the assembly said, ‘Amen,’ and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.” (NRSVue)

The situation in Nehemiah highlights the severe consequences of exploitative lending practices, leading to social injustice and economic disparity. Nehemiah’s response calls for the cessation of interest-taking and the restoration of fairness. This passage teaches us about the importance of ethical financial practices and the moral duty to support our community members, ensuring that everyone can live with dignity and justice.

Luke 14:28-30

Luke 14:28-30“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’” (NRSVue)

Proper financial planning and budgeting are crucial to avoid debt. Jesus uses the analogy of building a tower to emphasize the importance of counting the cost before undertaking any project. This teaching encourages us to be prudent and plan ahead to avoid financial pitfalls.

1 Timothy 6:10

1 Timothy 6:10“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” (NRSVue)

This verse warns against the dangers of loving money excessively. The pursuit of wealth can lead to ethical compromises and spiritual decay. By maintaining a balanced perspective on money, we can avoid the traps of greed and debt, staying true to our faith and values.

Matthew 25:27

Matthew 25:27“Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.” (NRSVue)

Jesus’ parable of the talents teaches the importance of wise financial stewardship. Investing resources wisely ensures growth and productivity. This principle can be applied to personal finances, emphasizing the need for prudent investments to avoid unnecessary debt.

A person sitting at a desk with money and financial documents spread out, looking contemplative.

Luke 16:11

Luke 16:11“If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (NRSVue)

Faithfulness in managing material wealth is a prerequisite for receiving greater spiritual blessings. This verse calls for integrity and responsibility in financial matters, as our handling of earthly resources reflects our readiness for spiritual stewardship.

Matthew 5:25-26

Matthew 5:25-26“Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” (NRSVue)

Jesus advises settling disputes quickly to avoid severe consequences. This principle applies to debt management, urging prompt resolution of financial obligations to prevent legal repercussions and maintain peace.

Luke 12:58-59

Luke 12:58-59“Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” (NRSVue)

This verse reiterates the importance of resolving conflicts and debts before they escalate. Taking proactive steps to settle financial disputes reflects wisdom and responsibility, preventing greater harm and maintaining relationships.

Leviticus 25:35-37

Leviticus 25:35-37“If any of your kin fall into difficulty and become dependent on you, you shall support them; they shall live with you as though resident aliens. Do not take interest in advance or otherwise make a profit from them, but fear your God; let them live with you. You shall not lend them your money at interest taken in advance, or provide them food at a profit.” (NRSVue)

God’s command to support those in need without exploiting them through interest emphasizes compassion and justice. This principle guides us to assist others without seeking personal gain, fostering a community of care and mutual support.

Proverbs 11:15

Proverbs 11:15“Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.” (NRSVue)

Caution against guaranteeing another’s debt is a recurring theme in Proverbs. This verse warns that acting as a surety can lead to financial trouble, advocating for prudence and careful consideration in financial commitments.

A woman standing in a field, looking thoughtfully at a plot of land with a 'For Sale' sign.

Proverbs 31:16

Proverbs 31:16“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” (NRSVue)

The Proverbs 31 woman exemplifies wise financial management and investment. Her careful consideration and hard work result in fruitful ventures. This verse encourages us to be diligent and strategic in our financial decisions, ensuring productivity and growth.

2 Kings 4:1-7

2 Kings 4:1-7“Now the wife of a member of the company of prophets cried to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves.’ Elisha said to her, ‘What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?’ She answered, ‘Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.’ He said, ‘Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your children and start pouring into all these vessels; when each is full, set it aside.’ So she left him and shut the door behind her and her children; they kept bringing vessels to her, and she kept pouring. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ But he said to her, ‘There are no more.’ Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your children can live on the rest.'” (NRSVue)

Elisha’s miracle of multiplying the widow’s oil teaches that God can provide abundantly in times of need. It encourages seeking divine guidance and using available resources wisely to overcome financial crises, demonstrating faith in God’s provision.

Nehemiah 10:31

Nehemiah 10:31“And if the peoples of the land bring in merchandise or any grain on the sabbath day to sell, we will not buy it from them on the sabbath or on a holy day; and we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.” (NRSVue)

Observing Sabbath rest and debt remission reflects obedience to God’s commandments. This verse highlights the importance of honoring God’s laws and practicing economic principles that promote rest and fairness, ensuring societal well-being.

Luke 7:41-43

Luke 7:41-43“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.'” (NRSVue)

Jesus’ parable illustrates the power of forgiveness and the response it elicits. Canceling debts can lead to profound gratitude and love. This principle applies to our financial dealings, where showing mercy can transform relationships and reflect God’s grace.

Philemon 1:18-19

Philemon 1:18-19“If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self.” (NRSVue)

Paul’s willingness to repay Onesimus’s debt on his behalf demonstrates the value of advocacy and support in resolving financial issues. This act of intercession reflects Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and calls us to help others in their financial struggles.

Two people sitting at a table with financial documents.

Matthew 6:12

Matthew 6:12“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (NRSVue)

The Lord’s Prayer includes a request for forgiveness of debts, highlighting the spiritual significance of forgiving others. This verse teaches that just as we seek God’s forgiveness, we should also forgive those who owe us, fostering a spirit of mercy and reconciliation.

Luke 6:34-35

Luke 6:34-35“If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kindto the ungrateful and the wicked.” (NRSVue)

Jesus challenges us to lend without expecting repayment, embodying selfless love and generosity. This radical approach to lending reflects God’s kindness and encourages us to trust in divine rewards rather than seeking immediate returns from our financial transactions.

Exodus 22:25

Exodus 22:25“If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them.” (NRSVue)

God’s command against charging interest to the poor highlights the importance of compassion and fairness in lending. This principle encourages us to support those in need without exploiting their vulnerability, reflecting God’s justice and mercy.

James 5:4

James 5:4“Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.” (NRSVue)

Withholding wages is a serious injustice that cries out to God. This verse warns against exploiting workers and emphasizes the importance of fair and timely payment for services rendered. Ethical financial practices honor God and uphold human dignity.

Proverbs 28:8

Proverbs 28:8“Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.” (NRSVue)

Gaining wealth through unjust means, such as exploiting the poor, is ultimately futile. This verse assures that wealth accumulated unethically will benefit those who are just and kind. It encourages fair practices and generosity toward the less fortunate.

A person sitting at a desk with financial planning documents, a calculator, and a cup of coffee.

Proverbs 21:5

Proverbs 21:5“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.” (NRSVue)

Diligence and careful planning are keys to financial success. This verse contrasts the outcomes of diligence with hastiness, promoting thoughtful financial decisions and consistent effort to achieve abundance and stability.

Ecclesiastes 5:4

Ecclesiastes 5:4“When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it, for he has no pleasure in fools; fulfill what you vow.” (NRSVue)

Making and keeping vows is a serious commitment before God. This verse underscores the importance of fulfilling promises, including financial commitments, promptly and faithfully, demonstrating integrity and respect for divine and human relationships.


A person holding a large broken chain labeled 'Debt'.

The Bible provides comprehensive guidance on managing debt, emphasizing the moral obligation to repay what is owed and to handle financial matters with integrity. Verses from both the Old Testament and New Testament illustrate the importance of avoiding debt, especially reckless borrowing and the use of credit cards, which can lead to financial and spiritual bondage. The teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the whole law of God remind us to love our neighbor, fulfill our commitments, and act with righteousness.

Being a good steward of one’s resources, as the righteous give and the wise profit gathers, aligns with God’s will. The Bible lessons teach us that accumulating wealth at the expense of others, like the sinner’s wealth, is against God’s commandments. Instead, we should store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, reflecting the good measure of our faith.

In managing our finances, we are called to consider the needs of our poor brother and fellow Israelite, offering help and support in a tangible way, without expecting anything in return. Practicing these principles can open the windows of heaven, ensuring blessings and avoiding God’s wrath. By engaging in serious Bible study and following the teachings of Jesus Christ, we align our financial practices with divine wisdom, ensuring that we use our resources to glorify the Lord thy God and benefit our family members and community.

About Post Author