Bankruptcy in the Bible
If you're struggling with your finances or looking or options for easing your debt load, you may have considered whether filing for personal bankruptcy might offer you some relief. But if you're also concerned about the rules of the Christian faith, you may be wondering what sort of suggestions exist for bankruptcy in the Bible.
What Does It Say about Bankruptcy in the Bible?
The Bible makes a number of references to debt and the forgiveness of debt. Here's a look at how those passages might relate to the provisions of modern-day U.S. Bankruptcy Law:
- Release of debts: The book of Deuteronomy (in Chapter 15) declares that creditors should, at the end of every seven-year cycle, grant their debtors a "release of debts." In other words, the bible says that lenders should consider a debt to be active for no more than seven years; after that time, according to Deuteronomy, the creditor should automatically discharge that debt. Modern bankruptcy law is actually a little stricter than the biblical pronouncement: in order to get a full discharge of your eligible unsecured debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can have a previous bankruptcy in your past no less than eight years ago.
- Keeping your property: Another interesting provision in Deuteronomy, later in Chapter 15, is that slaveholders are commanded to release their slaves at the end of the seven-year cycle and to send them off with wealth and possessions to start their lives anew. Some interpretations read these verses together with Proverb 22, which compares debt to slavery. Read this way, the Bible says that debtors should be granted release from creditors and should be able to keep material possessions. Similarly, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows filers to keep certain possessions (called exemptions) so that they might reestablish themselves financially. And in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, filers may be able to keep even more of their property.
- A fresh start: The story of Jesus's resurrection is one of rebirth and renewal through sacrifice. Bankruptcy laws, which are generally considered an important part of the American entrepreneurial landscape, offer ordinary Americans the chance to obtain a fresh financial start (to achieve a sort of financial rebirth) when we find ourselves in over our heads financially.
Learn More about Bankruptcy from a Practicing Lawyer
If you'd like to learn more about the specifics of bankruptcy law, you can take advantage of this opportunity to connect with a bankruptcy lawyer practicing near you. The case evaluation is free and what you learn about bankruptcy may help you choose the right path for your finances and your faith.
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