Living Debt-free Biblically

Luke 16:1. JESUS ALSO said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2. And he called him and said to him, 'What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' 3. And the steward said to himself, 'What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg."




Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery


The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.


The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?

Faith-sharing Evangelism Library


How to Win Friends and Influence People for Jesus
: Six Messages teach others how to witness. Based on Faith-sharing, by Eddie Fox and George Morris

Messages in this series:
1: The Incredible Seeking God
2: Gambler for Love
3: Share; Do; Name!
4: Getting on the Same Frequency
5: Up On the Handlebar!
6: $50K in 90 Days or Less!

Beyond Faith-sharing:
Digests of lectures and texts that demonstrate
quick ways to improve and increase your ministry's outreach.

Lessons in this Series:
1:   The Outward-focused Church
2:   Discerning the Needs of People
3:   The Incarnational Ministry
4:   Engaging Secular People
5:   Living Debt-free Biblically
6:   Youth Ministry Leadership
7:   Growing a New Church 1:
      The Price Tag, the Target
8:   Growing a New Church 2:
      The Pastor, People, Program
9:   Spiritual and Motivational Gifts
10: Envisioning, Friendliness and Authority
11: Making the Case
12: How Do We Get Them to Come?




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Biblical Principles of Borrowing and Debt

Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. 

This is because the lender has the biblical right to confiscate what has been pledged for the debt.  Not long ago, failure to repay debts meant prison terms.  The current attitudes toward debt are based on greed and indulgence

a) on the part of elected officials who wish to expand the economy through indebtedness,

b) as exemplified in laws enacted to make borrowing less risky and credit more available,

c) the government itself provides a standard by borrowing massive amounts.

Romans 13:7,8  Pay to all what is due them-taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.  Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 

Scripture does permit borrowing.  If one is instructed by scripture to repay, then borrowing is tacitly permitted.  Borrowing not promoted, but not prohibited.


Biblical Principles of Borrowing

   The reader is reminded that the following are principles, not laws.

   1)  Debt is not normal. 

Deuteronomy 28:12  Yahweh 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.

(At the time of writing, the average American home loan is $130,000, and the average income is $22,000.)

   2) Do not accumulate debts with terms longer than seven years (no long-term debt). 

Deuteronomy 15:1-2  Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts. {2} And this is the manner of the remission; every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because Yahweh's remission has been proclaimed.

   3)  Avoid surety (co-signed) loans - Do not borrow without adequate collateral.  This includes any unsecured debt - credit cards, line of credit, etc.

   4)  The borrower is morally committed to repayment. 

Ecclesiastes 5:5  It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not fulfill it. 

500,000 or more Americans take bankruptcy each year.  The common attitude is that "It's OK, or the government wouldn't promote it."


Errors That Lead to Debt

   1)  A get-rich-quick mentality that governs financial decisions will lead to poor, impulsive investments.

   a)  One of the most common instances of poor investing is using unsecured credit (other peoples’ money) to pay for staples, such as food and clothing or extravagances (vacations).  Risk mentality leads to greater and greater risks, and eventual "wipe out." 

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

   b)  Involvement in "things you don't understand" is characteristic of get-rich-quick mentality.  Many Christians have been tricked by "special revelations" or the schemes of so-called Christian businessmen.  Hasty and impulsive financial decisions lead to debt.

Proverbs 28:20  The faithful will abound with blessing's, but one who is in a hurry to be rich will not go unpunished.  One must pray diligently and receive an answer before obligating one's self financially.  Allow no one to pressure you to invest.

   2)  The Father has provided every married Christian with an advisor - their spouse.  The husband / wife relationship should include a mutual decision on investment and finance. 

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands live considerately with your wives, bestowing- honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers not be hindered. 

This scripture means to include finances!

   It is Burkett's observation that the dominant wife will accumulate debt through overuse of credit cards and store accounts.  The dominant husband will purchase large items, such as boats, cars, and large investments.  Women accumulate debts slowly but surely, while men assume large debt over the short run.


Principles For Getting Out of Debt

   1)  Sell whatever you do not need and give the money to creditors. 

Proverbs 3:27-28 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.  {28} Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I wi11 give it"--when you have it with you.

   2)  Ask creditors for forgiveness and work out repayment. 

Matthew 5:25 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.

   3)  Think and plan things out before acting. 

Luke 14:28-29  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? {29} Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him.... 

"God promises to guide your decisions, but only if you operate as a team with [the husband] at the head" –Burkett.

   4)  Make a budget and do not ever violate it -- this means do not use any credit or credit cards.


Major Expenses that Lead to Debt

   1)  Buying a home - no more than 25% of the net spendable income derived from the budget after taxes and tithes should be devoted to house payments.  Taxes, utilities, insurance, maintenance will quickly drive this percentage up 10 more points.  Wrecking a budget to buy a home makes no sense and reflects poor stewardship.  And never figure the 25% on combined incomes!  One of the incomes is bound to eventually fail. 

Proverbs 22:3 The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.

   2)  Automobiles are major "debt traps."  The decision to buy a car is often not based on price, but interest rate or monthly payment: these are exploited by the advertiser to make the bottom line seem more reasonable.  Remember that the resale value of an automobile is very poor -- almost 50 of its value is lost the day after purchase.  A new car is financial bondage.

   3)  Scheduled disasters are expenses that have not been predicted nor budgeted for.  Other major expenses are student loans, child support, and anything else that mounts up to long-term debt.


How Not to Use Credit Cards

   1)  Never use a credit card to pay for non-budgeted items.  The credit card must never be used in place of trusting the Almighty. 

   2)  Pay the entire credit card bill each month to avoid usurious interest charges of 15% to 21% or more.  Paying such high interest is poor stewardship and risking greater debt. 

   3)  The first month that the total bill is not paid, destroy the credit card.


Credit To Avoid Like the Plague

   1)  Bank overdraft charges and overdraft protection loans charge usurious interest. 

   2)  Finance companies (like Household Finance, City Loan and Savings, and many others) charge as high as 40 interest. 

   3)  Home equity loans often do not have a fixed rate, therefore can go up after negotiating the loan.  They are also often "demand notes" that can be "called in" at any time by the debtor, placing one's home in jeopardy.  Then there is the question of whether a loan should be applied against something that should be paid off as soon as possible. 

   4)  Pay self-employment taxes on time, and any other taxes owed the IRS.  Else the IRS may get everything owned and sell all at greatly reduced prices to cover the tax debt.


The Consumer Credit Act of 1986

   The collection of debt is controlled by this act.  Collectors may contact debtors from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. only, and cannot call at work unless given specific permission by the debtor.  A collector can be stopped from unethical practices by sending a letter forbidding any contact with the debtor at all, except in the case of legal action.  If there is a mistake and the debt is not owed, write the collector for proof of the debt -- it must be provided.  There are many other provisions of the Act.  It can be found in full on page 159 of Debt-Free Living.


Dealing with Creditors

   The main thing to remember is to always run toward the creditor, never away (Matthew 5:25).  Even if the debtor can't pay the entire debt, he can pay something. 

Ecclesiastes 5:5  It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not fulfill it.


How to Get Started Living Debt-Free

   1)  Make a detailed report of debts using a spreadsheet program of graph paper with the following fields: Account (GMAC), Contact (800-555-1212), Balance ($23,000), Payment ($575), Due (20th of the month).  Update the chart every time a payment is made.  Husbands and wives must be honest about this process, and must avoid hostility at all costs.  Pray about it together.

   2)  Make a budget -- make sure to expense out taxes and tithes from gross income first.  Here is a very simple example:

Gross Monthly Income = 2,500

Monthly Payments   Existing Budget    New Monthly Budget

1. Taxes             -0-                 $325
2. Tithe             -0-                 $250

Net Spendable Income $2,500             $1,925


Type              Now     New    Left over

3. Housing        $150     $150    $1,775
4. Food           $250     $175    $1,600
5. Auto           $350     $350    $1,250
6. Insur.          $75     $75     $1,175
7. Debt           $300     $200      $975
8. Entertainment  $500     $150      $825
9. Clothing       $150     $150      $675
10. Savings       -0-       $50      $625
11. Medical       $150     $175      $450
12. Misc          $600     $450       -0-

    Probably 75% of creditors will agree to reduce payments for a limited but definite amount of time.  Sometimes a third party facilitates payment reductions.  Christian Financial Concepts has volunteers who will help in this area.


What Happens If Creditors Will Not Cooperate

   1)  Collection - Unless the debt has been sold to a third party, the original creditor still controls the debt.  Request the name of the regional or district credit manager, then contact him and suggest a reasonable plan of repayment.  It always helps to get a third party reference like a credit counselor.

   2)  Repossession - Creditors have the right to repossess collateral in accordance with the original credit contract, usually with having to notify the debtor.  Creditors may also take action in court, where the debtor get one month to respond.  With a court order, the creditor may come right into the house to collect or repossess. Important!  The difference in the amount garnered by the creditor for the sale of the item and the outstanding debt will be billed to the debtor, plus all associated costs!

   3)  Garnishment - By court order, creditors may attach up to 25% of wages, including indebtedness, costs, and collection fees.  Garnishment is embarrassing, as it comes to the attention of employers and employees.

   4)  Bad credit report - notifies potential lenders that there has been failure to meet credit obligations.  Credit reporting is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, detailed by Burkett on page 183.  Negative information cannot be reported beyond seven years.  Bankruptcy remains for ten years.


Four Type of Bankruptcy

Note, 2007 - this law may have changed in 2006.  Please get current on it if necessary. 

   The current increase in bankruptcies (to about 1,000,000 per year) demonstrates "decline in the responsibility index."  The various types of bankruptcy include:

   1)  Chapter 11 is reserved for corporate bankruptcy.  The corporation may continue to operate while working out a repayment plan.  The corporation has up to three years to pay off its debts with reduced or deferred payments.  Chapter 11 is designed to give struggling companies a chance to be profitable then viable.

   2)  Chapter 7 is the dissolution of a company at a judge's order.  Assets are sold to satisfy creditors.  Secured debts are paid first; unsecured creditors often get nothing.  Debts personally endorsed by individuals are still collectable by creditors.

   3)  Chapter 13 is where an individual or a couple may operate under court protection for three years if they can show a reasonable percentage of debt can be paid in that time.  Chapter 13 is reportable by credit agencies.

   4)  Chapter 12 has special provisions for farmers.


Is Bankruptcy Scriptural?

   It can be if those seeking bankruptcy are motivated by protecting the legitimate rights of their creditors.  Assets must not be purposely withheld or signed over to others.  It is a better thing to lose assets than integrity. Bankruptcy does not negate debts to the IRS, federal student loans, secured property loans, and other.  In bankruptcy, both sides lose.  A stigma is associated with the bankrupt that remains until all creditors are paid.


Finding Help

   The first question is, "How severe is the problem?"  If monthly payments exceed available income, then a financial counselor is probably needed.  A volunteer counselor can negotiate lesser payments or a moratorium on assets until the collateral or assets are sold.

Proverbs 15:22  Without counsel, plans go wrong; but with many advisers they succeed.  

Counsel is needed!  Only the exceptional may be able to handle small claims court! 

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believe everything, but the clever consider their steps. 

   Avoid direct counsel from unsaved persons!  This limits Yahweh's ability to work in the situation supernaturally. 

Proverbs 3:5-6  {5} Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. {6} In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Unsaved financial counselors' primary goals is to protect the assets of the debtor.  But the Christian must focus on the rights of the other party first!

   The answer in most cases is not more money, but more personal discipline.  If there are urgent needs, such as judgments, evictions, and foreclosures, these must be dealt with immediately.  Burying one's head in the sand will not make these types of serious financial problems go away.  They must be dealt with head on.  One must not expect unrealistic results.  Getting out of debt means discipline and, in some cases, years of work.

   Churches or individuals interested in financial counseling ministries may write Christian Financial Concepts, 601 Broad St. SE, Gainesville, GA 30501. Steps in counseling include

1) determining actual spending by executing a monthly income / expense report,

2) keeping a record of every expense for the entire next month, using pocket notebooks -- then develop a budget from this.  Budget necessities first, then see what is left over for payment of debt,

3) maintaining the budget - in all cases there is a need for accurate records and control over spending.


Source: Larry Burkett, Debt-free Living, Moody Press, 1989.














©2007 Jackson H. Snyder II.  (jackson @  This information may be reprinted in whole or part if author and copyright information is left intact.

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