1. Did this book shock or surprise you in any way? Why?
2. Some parts of this story are allegorical—they are meant to represent other characters or events. Which characters might be allegorical representations? Who do you think Chris represents?
3. Emma says that Christopher was born of her sin. Who was born as a result of mankind’s sin?
4. The Debt is also intended to illustrate the parable Jesus told in Luke 7:41. How does Abel’s love for the Lord differ from Emma’s?
5. Why do you think Christopher had Emma meet him in such odd places?
6. Compare Emma’s encounters with people at O’Shays, Jackson’s Photo, and the abandoned house to Jesus’ encounter with the corrupt tax collector, the woman caught in adultery, and the woman at the well. Did Jesus worry about his reputation when he dealt with people? Did he worry about his reputation at all?
7. What did you think of Abel? Is he a good Christian? A good husband? A good neighbor?
8. Has this book challenged your thinking in any way? How?
9. The Bible says that some are gifted to be pastors, teachers, and prophets—abilities that minister to the body of Christ. When scripture speaks of our “callings,” however, it speaks in general terms—we are called to be disciples, to be obedient, to follow Christ. Are those who are gifted to serve the body also called to minister to the world at large?
10. Not everyone is led to the sort of “street ministry” Christopher practiced, nor is everyone led to work with the body of Christ. So what are some ways you can walk in the world and shine the light of Christ to those who don’t know Him? When was the last time you went out of your way to befriend an unbeliever?
11. At the end of the story, Emma Realizes that she has been depending on Abel for far too much—he is not only the spiritual head of their home, but he has stepped into the role she ought to reserve for Christ. What other figures in our lives might fill the place that rightfully belongs to Christ alone?
12. Chris urges Emma to venture out of the church so she can act as “salt” in the world. As we go into the world, what must we do in order to avoid becoming “salt licks”? In other words, what things can we do to prevent our testimony from being eroded? What sort of personal standards should we establish to be sure we remain as “wary as snakes and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16)?