31+ Bible Verses About Stealing (with Explanations)

The act of stealing, taking something that does not rightfully belong to oneself, stands as a clear violation of moral and ethical principles within various societal contexts.

In the Bible, stealing is addressed explicitly through commandments, narratives, and teachings that emphasize the sanctity of property rights, honesty, and integrity in interpersonal dealings.

Join us in this exploration as we uncover the various dimensions of stealing in the Bible, understanding the moral implications, consequences, and ethical principles it teaches, guiding individuals towards righteous living and ethical conduct in their daily lives.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Evil (with Explanations)

Bible Verses About Stealing

Exodus 20:15 (NIV)

“You shall not steal.”

Exodus 20:15 is one of the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses for the Israelites. This commandment straightforwardly prohibits theft in all its forms. Stealing involves taking something that belongs to another person without their permission or through deceit. God’s commandment serves as a moral guideline, emphasizing the importance of respecting others’ property and promoting honesty and integrity in dealings with one another.

Leviticus 19:11 (NIV)

“Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.”

Leviticus 19:11 broadens the prohibition against stealing by linking it to other deceitful behaviors. It not only prohibits theft but also emphasizes the interconnectedness of lying and deception. The verse underscores the moral imperative of truthfulness and integrity in interactions with others. It serves as a reminder to avoid dishonesty and deceitful practices that harm relationships and erode trust.

Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)

“Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

Ephesians 4:28 addresses repentance and transformation for those previously engaged in stealing. It instructs former thieves to cease their dishonest actions and redirects their focus toward honest work. The verse emphasizes the value of labor and encourages a shift from taking to giving, promoting a mindset of generosity and contributing positively to society.

Proverbs 6:30-31 (NIV)

“People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house.”

Proverbs 6:30-31 reflects on the motive behind theft and the consequences that follow. While acknowledging the desperation that might drive someone to steal, it doesn’t excuse the act. The passage highlights the severity of theft and its repercussions, emphasizing that even if the motive is understandable, there are still consequences for taking what doesn’t belong rightfully.

Matthew 19:18 (NIV)

“Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony.”

In Matthew 19:18, Jesus reiterates the commandment against stealing among other moral guidelines. By mentioning stealing alongside other serious offenses, Jesus reinforces the importance of respecting others’ belongings and emphasizes honesty and integrity as essential components of a righteous life.

Proverbs 30:9 (NIV)

“Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Proverbs 30:9 acknowledges the dangers of extreme circumstances leading to a temptation to steal. The verse highlights that both excessive wealth and destitution might potentially lead to a compromise in one’s integrity and relationship with God. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balanced perspective and ethical conduct even in times of plenty or scarcity.

1 Corinthians 6:10 (NIV)

“nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

In 1 Corinthians 6:10, Paul includes thieves among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. This verse underscores the severity of stealing as a moral offense and its implication on one’s spiritual standing. It serves as a reminder that dishonesty and theft contradict the values of God’s kingdom and should be avoided.

Zechariah 5:3 (NIV)

“And he said to me, ‘This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished.'”

Zechariah 5:3 depicts a vision where a scroll represents a curse upon thieves and those who swear falsely. The verse emphasizes the divine judgment against theft and dishonesty, signifying the consequences that follow such actions. It portrays the serious repercussions of engaging in theft and false oaths, suggesting divine retribution.

Deuteronomy 5:19 (NIV)

“You shall not steal.”

Deuteronomy 5:19 reiterates the commandment against stealing, reaffirming its significance within the Decalogue. It serves as a concise and direct prohibition against taking what does not rightfully belong to oneself. This commandment emphasizes the foundational moral principle of respecting others’ property.

1 Peter 4:15 (NIV)

“If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.”

In 1 Peter 4:15, Peter advises believers not to suffer as thieves or criminals. The verse underscores the distinction between suffering for one’s faith and facing consequences due to engaging in unethical behavior, such as theft. It encourages believers to uphold a righteous and honorable lifestyle.

Psalm 62:10 (NIV)

“Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.”

Psalm 62:10 warns against trusting in ill-gotten gains or dishonesty for wealth. The verse advises against placing confidence in extortion or stolen goods, emphasizing that true security and contentment don’t come from unlawfully acquired possessions. It urges individuals not to be captivated by material wealth gained through wrongful means.

Proverbs 11:1 (NIV)

“The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.”

Proverbs 11:1 highlights God’s displeasure toward dishonesty in trade or commerce. Using dishonest scales or deceitful practices in business transactions is considered an abomination to the Lord. The verse emphasizes the importance of integrity and fairness in dealings, contrasting it with the favor that comes from honesty and fairness.

Hosea 4:2 (NIV)

“There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.”

Hosea 4:2 depicts a society plagued by various immoral acts, including stealing, leading to widespread chaos and destruction. The verse portrays stealing as one of the offenses contributing to the breakdown of societal values and ethical standards, resulting in detrimental consequences.

Zechariah 5:4 (NIV)

“I will send it out,” declares the Lord Almighty, “and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.”

Zechariah 5:4 symbolizes a curse that enters the houses of thieves and those who swear falsely. The passage portrays the severe consequences brought upon households engaged in theft and deceit. It signifies the divine judgment upon those who practice dishonesty, leading to the ruin and devastation of their homes.

Luke 19:8 (NIV)

“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.'”

In Luke 19:8, Zacchaeus, after encountering Jesus, pledges to make restitution for any dishonest gains he may have acquired. His commitment reflects repentance and the desire to make amends for any wrongful actions, showcasing the transformative power of encountering Christ and the need for restitution after engaging in theft or fraud.

Jeremiah 7:9-11 (NIV)

“Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’—safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.”

In Jeremiah 7:9-11, God rebukes the people of Judah for their hypocrisy. Despite committing various sinful acts, including stealing, they continue to worship in His house, assuming safety. God condemns their actions, comparing the temple to a den of robbers. It emphasizes that engaging in dishonest practices while claiming allegiance to God is unacceptable and hypocritical.

Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)

“Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

Ephesians 4:28 advises former thieves to change their behavior by engaging in honest work and contributing positively to society. The verse stresses the importance of honest labor and generosity, encouraging a transformation from taking unlawfully to giving and helping others in need.

Proverbs 20:17 (NIV)

“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.”

Proverbs 20:17 illustrates the deceptive allure of dishonest gain, likening it to something sweet initially but leading to unpleasant consequences. Though fraudulent acquisitions may seem appealing, the ultimate outcome is bitter and regrettable, symbolized by a mouth full of gravel.

Proverbs 10:2 (NIV)

“Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death.”

Proverbs 10:2 contrasts dishonestly obtained wealth with righteousness. It highlights that riches gained through deceit lack lasting value and fail to provide genuine security. In contrast, living with integrity and righteousness preserves one’s life and well-being.

Proverbs 22:22-23 (NIV)

“Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.”

Proverbs 22:22-23 warns against exploiting the vulnerable. The verses caution against taking advantage of the poor or manipulating legal proceedings to oppress them. God promises to defend the cause of the oppressed, indicating severe consequences for those who exploit the needy.

Exodus 22:7-9 (NIV)

“If anyone gives a neighbor silver or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house, the thief, if caught, must pay back double. But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges, and they must determine whether the owner of the house has laid hands on the other person’s property.”

Exodus 22:7-9 outlines laws regarding stolen property. If someone entrusted with their neighbor’s possessions has them stolen, the thief must repay double if caught. If the thief isn’t found, both parties appear before the judges for judgment, aiming to establish innocence or guilt regarding the loss.

Proverbs 6:30-31 (NIV)

“People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house.”

Proverbs 6:30-31 acknowledges the desperation that might lead to theft but doesn’t condone it. While understanding the motive, the verse emphasizes the severity of the punishment if caught, illustrating that even understandable circumstances don’t absolve one from the consequences of theft.

Leviticus 6:1-7 (NIV)

“The Lord said to Moses: ‘If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit—when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering.'”

Leviticus 6:1-7 details laws for restitution if someone is found guilty of various forms of theft, dishonesty, or deception. It emphasizes the responsibility of making full restitution along with an additional amount to compensate for the wrong committed.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV)

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul lists several sinful behaviors, including theft, and emphasizes that those who habitually engage in these practices will not inherit the kingdom of God. It highlights the seriousness of theft in the context of a life contrary to God’s standards.

Romans 13:9-10 (NIV)

“The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Romans 13:9-10 emphasizes that the commandments against stealing are part of God’s laws summarized by the principle of loving one’s neighbor. It underscores that love does not harm others, and living in love fulfills God’s law, including refraining from actions such as stealing that harm others.

Amos 8:4-7 (NIV)

“Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, ‘When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?’—skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: ‘I will never forget anything they have done.'”

Amos 8:4-7 condemns those who exploit the poor and practice deceit in their business dealings. It speaks against using unfair measures, raising prices unjustly, and deceiving customers. God’s judgment is declared upon those who take advantage of the vulnerable, emphasizing His commitment to justice and the accountability of such actions.

Micah 2:1-2 (NIV)

“Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance.”

Micah 2:1-2 denounces those who scheme and act unjustly to acquire property that doesn’t belong to them. These individuals covet and seize fields and homes, robbing others of their rightful possessions. This passage highlights God’s disapproval of such actions and His concern for justice and fairness.

Malachi 3:8-9 (NIV)

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.”

Malachi 3:8-9 addresses the Israelites regarding their failure to give tithes and offerings to God, which is equated to robbing Him. By withholding what rightfully belongs to God, they incur a curse upon themselves. This verse emphasizes the importance of faithful giving and stewardship as a form of honoring God.

Proverbs 16:8 (NIV)

“Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.”

Proverbs 16:8 contrasts the value of having a little obtained through honest means versus acquiring much through unjust methods. It underscores the significance of righteousness and integrity even in the face of limited material possessions, emphasizing their inherent value over ill-gotten gains.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Although Ephesians 4:31-32 doesn’t specifically address stealing, it encompasses attitudes and behaviors that may lead to theft. The passage encourages believers to abandon harmful actions and embrace kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. It emphasizes the importance of a transformed character reflecting Christ’s forgiveness and love.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Brothers (with Explanations)

What does the Bible Say About Theft

These verses and others throughout the Bible underscore the importance of refraining from stealing, promoting honesty, fairness, and respect for others’ property rights as integral aspects of leading a righteous and ethical life.

Leviticus 19:11 (NIV) “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.”

In Leviticus 19:11, stealing is connected with deceit and lying, underlining the broader context of honesty and integrity in human interactions.

Ephesians 4:28 (NIV) “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

Ephesians 4:28 not only condemns stealing but also encourages individuals to abandon such behavior, instead promoting honest work and generosity towards others in need.

Matthew 19:18 (NIV) “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony.'”

Jesus reaffirms the commandment against stealing among other moral guidelines, emphasizing its importance within the context of ethical conduct.

A Prayer Against the Spirit of Theft

Heavenly Father,

We come before You seeking guidance and strength in upholding ethical standards and righteous living in our lives. Grant us discernment and wisdom to navigate the complexities of our world, especially in resisting the temptation to take what is not rightfully ours.

Forgive us, Lord, for any moment we have faltered in integrity, whether in thought or action. Help us to understand the gravity of stealing and its impact, not only on others but on our relationship with You. Instill within us a profound respect for the belongings and rights of others, teaching us to honor and respect their possessions.

May Your Holy Spirit guide our thoughts and actions, illuminating the path of honesty, fairness, and righteousness. Strengthen our resolve to resist the allure of dishonest gain and to conduct ourselves with integrity and honor in all circumstances.

Grant us compassionate hearts, Lord, to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us, and may we find the courage to seek forgiveness from those we have harmed through our actions.

We ask for Your divine grace to transform our hearts, helping us to embody Your principles of love, kindness, and fairness in all our dealings. Let our lives be a reflection of Your truth, shining brightly with integrity and righteousness.

We pray for a world where honesty prevails, where people respect each other’s rights and property, fostering a community built on trust and mutual respect.

In Your mercy, guide us to live in a manner that glorifies Your name, Lord. Amen.