the First Week of Advent
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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
Because debts place a person under obligation to his creditors, Paul sometimes used the word ‘debt’ to refer to a person’s spiritual obligations. Paul considered that his obligation to preach the gospel was a debt he owed to people everywhere (Romans 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:16). He believed also that Gentile Christians, having received the gospel by way of the Jews, owed a debt to their Jewish brothers. The Gentiles had an obligation to help the Jews in their poverty (Romans 15:27).
More frequently, however, the Bible uses the illustration of debt to refer to something bad, such as sin in general (Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:32-35) or bondage to the sinful human nature (Romans 8:12). Debt in this sense is a reminder of the difficulties of life in the everyday world, where debts can easily bring a person to ruin. The poor can easily be exploited, and for this reason Israelite law aimed at protecting them from greedy money-lenders. (For details see .)
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Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Debt'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​bbd/​d/debt.html. 2004.