Case Study: Bankruptcy and the Bible

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  • Topic: 2007 singles, New International Version, Bible
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  • Published : October 21, 2012
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Case Study: Your long-time friend Carl comes to you with a serious problem in his life. He is a believer, and he wants your advice. For years he and his family have lived above their means. They did this by continually refinancing their house and rolling their credit card and other debt onto their home mortgage. However, now that real estate prices are no longer rising but actually falling, Carl can't refinance anymore and can't pay his monthly bills as they come due. He is in a real credit crisis. His creditors are calling him threatening lawsuits, garnishments, and other unpleasant things. One of his friends at work said that he should file bankruptcy. He comes to you for advice from a Christian perspective. In particular, he wants to know: 1. Does the Bible forbid him to file bankruptcy?

2. Does the Bible forbid borrowing altogether? If not, when is it permissible to borrow money? Use the words "Forbids" or "Does not Forbid" in the subject line of your discussion board post, depending upon your conclusion. Do not use attachments as these are cumbersome and inhibit the discussion process.

Suggested Readings:
Read and consider these and other Bible verses that relate to borrowing, lending, and lawsuits: Proverbs 17:14, Proverbs 20:3, Proverbs 25:8-10, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, Matthew 5:22-26, Matthew 5:33-37, Matthew 5:38-42, Psalm 37:21, Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, Colossians 3:9, Ephesians 4:22, Ephesians 4:25, Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15:1-18, Psalm 37:26, Psalm 112:5, Proverbs 19:17, Proverbs 22:7, Deuteronomy 24:6, Deuteronomy 24:10-13, Deuteronomy 24:17, Exodus 22:25-27, Proverbs 6:1-5, and Proverbs 22:26-27. You may also want to consult some good commentaries and other study aids on some of the verses that seem particularly relevant to you. Proverbs 17:14

New International Version (NIV)
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
8 do not bring hastily to court,
for what will you do in the end
if your neighbor puts you to shame?
9 If you take your neighbor to court,
do not betray another’s confidence,
10 or the one who hears it may shame you
and the charge against you will stand.
1 Corinthians 6:1-8
New International Version (NIV)
Lawsuits Among Believers
6 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! 7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.

Matthew 5:22-26
New International Version (NIV)
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[a][b] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[c] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the...
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