What are some Bible principles on lending money?

The Bible gives clear instruction about lending money. It teaches that God’s children should have compassion on the poor by helping them through their difficult times. In the Old Testament, Moses instructed to show mercy and lend fellow Israelites, “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8).

And he added that the lender should not charge interest on the needy: “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest” (Exodus 22:25; also Psalm 15:5). Further, the Lord instructed that debts should get canceled every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:1).

In the New Testament, Jesus tells us not to “turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42). “But love your enemies and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great” (Luke 6:35). The apostle James also taught “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (James 2: 15-16).

The lender should not feel proud because of his riches for it is God who gives the ability to produce wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and it is God who “sends [both] poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts” (1 Samuel 2:7). As for the investors, the Bible teaches that it is not wrong to loan money with a fair rate of interest (Proverbs 28:8; Matthew 27; Psalm 37:21).

Although the Scriptures allow for the needy to borrow, it doesn’t encourage borrowing for it makes the borrower the slave of the lender (proverbs 22:7). At the same time, the Lord instructs that the borrower should be responsible to repay his debts (Psalm 37:21). Also, the lender should use “discretion” (1 Timothy 5:8) in giving to the poor as to not encourage laziness and dependency. The Bible teaches, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

Sign Up for Our Updates

Get notified of our latest updates. Don't worry, they're occasional :)

You May Also Like