Is Student Loan Forgiveness Biblical?

Christians are divided over whether Biden’s promise to cancel student debt is ethical and just from a scriptural standpoint.

Once President Joe Biden followed up on his promise to cancel $10,000 to $20,000 per borrower in student loan debt for eligible households, Christians responded by invoking a host of biblical references from Old Testament concepts like jubilee to the parables of Jesus in the New Testament.

Over a two-day period last week, searches for debt-related topics surged to 20 times above average on BibleGateway. Four verses—for and against loan forgiveness—were the top-gaining passages on the site:

  • Exodus 22:25 — “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.”
  • Deuteronomy 23:19 — “Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.”
  • Psalm 37:21 — “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.”
  • Ecclesiastes 5:5 — “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”

Searches for keywords “usury,” “paying debt,” “charging interest,” “debt,” “forgiveness of debt,” “debt paid in full,” and “paying your debts” were up. We heard from three Christian thinkers about how scriptural principles inform our stances on governmental debt forgiveness.

Matt Tebbe, cofounder of Gravity Leadership, author of "Having the Mind of Christ" and Anglican priest in Indianapolis

As Christians, we owe our very existence to debt forgiveness.

Christ loved us by forgiving us the debt of our sins (1 John 4:10), and he commanded us to love each other in the same way (John 13:34). To love as Jesus loves us is to participate in the …

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