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For this book review we will be focusing on Chapter 9, Borrowing and Lending. Wayne Grudem believes that borrowing and lending is a godly activity. There are places where borrowing and lending are ok, such as borrowing a book or tool. It would even be ok in certain circumstances to borrow money. However, Grudem states that “Own no one anything” (Rom. 13:8), means making your payments on time and then you do not owe anything. Grudem’s conclusions need to be explored have better understanding.
Grudem uses the example of borrowing a book from a library to explain how borrowing is useful. When many people can use a single item, this does bring more value to that item and allows more people to have available use of a product. The same can be said of a person borrowing a car from a company. It should also be noted that while a person might borrow a product from a company, they are doing it for a price. Someone borrowing a book may have to pay a monthly fee to the library to use their services. A person borrowing a car from a company is renting the car and paying for the use of the car at a daily or monthly rate.
Lending and borrowing walk a finer line when people start to lend and borrow money. Borrowing money is ok in minimal circumstances. Buying a home is not necessary and therefore there is no need to get a mortgage. A person can rent an apartment and still have everything inside that a home would have with less worry about what can go wrong with the home. Although the need for a personal home is not truly there, if a person wants to purchase a home, then they are going to seek to find a bank where they can get a mortgage. These loans often come with lower interest rates and are more acceptable to borrow under the terms because there is a long-term return from the borrowed sum. People should not be borrowing money so that they can have experiences, such as getting a loan to go on vacation. Rachel Podnos said that “Interest rates advertised as “low” still cost consumers more than they should be paying on a discretionary purchase like a vacation” (Magna, Marketwatch. com). People should not be encouraged to go on vacation if they can not pay for it out of their own pocket.
When a person borrows money, it creates a new obligation for them. That person is obligated to pay back the amount borrowed and pay interest. This obligation puts people in a position where their options become limited to what they can do with their money and can put a strain on their life if they tend to borrow money to do many common things in their life. Companies make a profit off lending money to people and at the same time ruin people’s lives by lending to people can not afford to pay back the loan. Lending money typically can help an economy but when companies put in place bad practices too much lending can lead to too many delinquencies and lead to economic harm just like what had occurred with The Great Recession in the U. S. There is a different loan type that is getting worse now. That loan is the student loan and many people are beginning to see it as a problem in the U. S. The U. S. alone has over 1 trillion dollars in outstanding loans to citizens. Of that amount “Now, 11% or $110 billion are seriously delinquent” (Money Life, 2013). That situation is only getting worse.
Grudem makes the point that even borrowing money is a good way to start a small business that people can use to work their way out of poverty. Borrowing money should not be used to start a business. Over 50% of new businesses fail in the first five years and even 90% of tech startups failing (Desjardins, 2017). There is too much risk there to start a business owing money to a bank. I have seen the effects that borrowing for a business has had on my Uncle. His business failed and yet 15 years down the road, he still pays on the business loans that creates no income for him. Starting a business with money out of pocket may be harder but, in the event, that the business fails you will not have to worry about settling your debts.
The last point to make is regarding Grudem quoting Romans 13:8, “Owe no one anything”. Grudem believes that this scripture means that we should pay what is owed on the due date and then the rest of the amount of the loan is not due yet, so we do not owe that yet. Viewing this bible verse Grudem’s way does not agree with my view. If I have a loan, I can make payments on time, but I still owe the remaining balance on the account whether it has a future due date or not. It would be best to simply not borrow and then you truly will owe no person and money.
While the Bible does not forbid lending or borrowing, it also does not say that it is wise to borrow. The Bible says, “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. ” (Psalm 37:21, NASB). This speaks that borrow and not paying back is wrong. It does not say that the righteous are going to lend to people but that they will rather give to people. Giving to people without expectations of gaining in return will make a person feel great knowing that they are helping and not expecting to only better themselves out of giving. Another verse that warns against borrowing is Proverbs 22:7. It states, “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave. ” (NASB) It is evident that across the world rich people do have more power over poor people. Rich people are in command over their employees and control what actions employees can take at work. The second part of the verse “And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave” is saying that by borrowing something we are creating an obligation that must be fulfilled by us. It can not go without saying that borrowing something can change the relationships that we have with other people. As Proverbs says, if borrow something from someone who could be a friend, then we are putting in place a master and servant relationship, not in literal form but it changes who has power in the relationship, rather than being equals.
If we are going to take part in borrowing and lending there are some things that should be remembered. If we are going to lend to someone, then we should do it out of the love of our hearts and expect that we will not get a return. This will keep us from being disappointed and ruining a relationship. If we are going to borrow then we need to pay back our debts as soon as we can. Before borrowing we need to ensure that we can easily avoid difficulties in paying back our debts and that we do not put ourselves under burden.
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