Drollinger: King Solomon's Guide to Taming the National Debt


The United States is carrying a $31.5 trillion national debt.

If you are having difficulty imagining that, think of it this way: This amount is equivalent to a whopping $246,867 per taxpayer! That would be some invoice for you to have to pay if the IRS worked that way.

Despite that sobering news, last week President Joe Biden released his proposed $7 trillion budget for fiscal year 2024 — and that budget will add $1.8 trillion to our already crippling national debt.

The elected officials of today are spending money that national leaders of tomorrow will need to govern our nation! It is important to tase you with the severity of this issue. To that end, this week’s Bible study is “Solomon on Debt Solutions,” advice from the wisest man in history.

The growing national debt is one of the biggest challenges facing you and our country. As I have studied the book of Proverbs over the years, the Holy Spirit has turned my attention to what Solomon would have to say regarding this issue if he visited the Hill.

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How would he go about personally encouraging individual congressmen to solve this foreboding national problem? If you had coffee with Solomon, what would he share with you? If you approach Proverbs with this question, you might be amazed at what the book says.

Remember that Proverbs was written by the head of a nation to advise his son, who would soon take over his duties. What principles can we glean from the king’s advice to his son regarding how to best manage a country’s budget?

The believer begins with the understanding that God owns and controls everything! God states in Psalm 50:10, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the LORD’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”

God’s Word also declares his sovereignty, a theological term describing the unlimited power and control of God over nature, history and the affairs of mankind (cf. Isaiah 45:9-19, Romans 8:18-39).

Furthermore, the Bible states that God made you and me to be his stewards to manage his creation for him (cf. Genesis 1:26-28). What an awesome responsibility!

Stewardship, as the word is generally used in the Bible, encompasses the idea of managing another person’s property, finances or household affairs. Mature stewards realize that their time, talent and treasure must ultimately be used to please the One who entrusted the responsibility to them.

Unfortunately, too many have come to our capital with the wrong motives. Instead of desiring to be good stewards of the nation, they possess a “what’s in it for me?” mentality. Such self-centered attitudes are the root of all fiscal problems.

This Bible study covers eight guiding principles that Solomon would use to overcome our enormous national debt problem.

The first principle is to balance the yearly federal budget. Being a good steward requires being wise and planning well to avoid overextension, be it personal or national.

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In Romans 13:8, Paul states, “Owe nothing to anyone.” He is not prohibiting borrowing per se (for capitalism to work, good borrowing must be practiced). His prohibition on owing relates not to responsible borrowing, but to borrowing without the ability to fulfill one’s financial obligations. Our nation’s debt is specifically due to irresponsibility — which is a violation of the essence of Paul’s statement in this passage.

A fiscally responsible governor who is an increasingly close friend of mine recently told me he cautions his executive team and legislators to avoid planting any fiscal “acorns.” What he means by that is to not enable any new programs that will eventually grow into financial albatrosses — social programs that end up asphyxiating the state’s treasury.

It follows that his state is financially solid, in the black, and has a rainy day fund! If only D.C. had more leaders like him in high places!

The next priority Solomon would share to reduce the debt is to incentivize commerce — especially small businesses, since they create most of the new jobs in America. This incentivizing is of fundamental importance in creating a larger economy.

We all know that for its commerce to compete on a worldwide scale, a country must possess adequate raw materials, energy, capital, limited taxation and less regulation, all at extremely low costs and levels, respectively. A nation must have lower costs to compete successfully.

Those foundational elements create value-added products and services, increasing market share. And most importantly, all these economic qualities can only stem from public servants who possess the prerequisite biblical perspective of God’s command to those he created in his image: to subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28) and steward it out of respect and reverence for him.

Most essential to incentivizing commerce to create a larger economy, which serves to make the debt a lower percentage of the overall GDP, is motivating the personal industriousness of the leaders and workers in commerce.

Note what Solomon says in Proverbs 10:4 in this regard: “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Industrious, diligent individuals have made our nation rich.

It follows that nations whose governments incentivize people to be industrious will have more wealth than will communist and socialist nations whose governments get in the way by denying private property rights and impeding progress through ludicrous and burdensome regulation. Therein exists a governmental structure that demotivates and hobbles commerce and the leaders of commerce.

The Apostle Peter said one of the primary purposes of God’s institution of civil government is to reward those who do good (1 Peter 2:13-14). Scripture does not say “punish those who do good.” Rewarding those who create jobs for others — not penalizing those who produce results — is a biblical principle that Solomon would remind you of.

This is the major reason socialism always fails; it is not informed by biblical principles. It does not especially reward those who do good.

As with the first two points, this study goes into detail and liberally quotes the Scriptures supporting Solomon’s additional six points. Those points are incentivizing population growth, gaining knowledge, creating government savings, promulgating generosity, practicing good stewardship of taxpayer money, and overall obedience to God.

Likened to the glory of ancient Israel in her heyday, America too can become a fiscally stable nation once again — if we enact God’s wisdom on debt elimination!

Each of these eight biblically based principles, if implemented, will garner God’s blessing and help us to tame the beast we have created.

Click here to read the full study.

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Ralph Drollinger, president and founder of Capitol Ministries, leads three Bible studies with political leaders every week. One on the Hill for U.S. senators and one for representatives, plus a weekly remote Bible study for state governors, former governors, and former White House Cabinet members and senior staff. Learn more at

Drollinger played basketball at UCLA under coach John Wooden and was the first player in NCAA history to go to the Final Four four times. Drollinger was taken in the NBA draft three times but chose to forgo the NBA to play with Athletes in Action, an evangelistic basketball team that toured the world and preached the gospel at halftime. Drollinger signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 1980 as a free agent, becoming the first Maverick in the history of the franchise.