The Bible and Borrowing Money
The Bible teaches that it is not wise to borrow and get into debt. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another” (Romans 13:8). There are many reasons for this – those that borrow end up paying back more than what was borrowed. Also, those that borrow may not be able to repay and become “slaves” to the ones that lent to them (Proverbs 22:7).
The Old Testament teaches that God’s children should have compassion on the poor who need to borrow (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). Lenders were not allowed to charge interest on the needy in Israel (Deuteronomy 15:1).
In the New Testament, Jesus tells us not to “turn away from the one who wants to borrow” (Matthew 5:42) and to “lend to them without expecting to get anything back” (Luke 6:35). He also commends the creditor who offers forgiveness for the poor (Matthew 18:23-35).
The apostle James taught that the believers should help the needy saying, “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).
And while the righteous needs to be merciful, he also needs to be wise because some of the poor will take advantage of the godly (Psalms 37:2). So, the lender should use “discretion” (1 Timothy 5:8) in giving to the poor and not encourage laziness and dependency. The Bible teaches, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). And the Lord also instructs the borrower to be responsible to repay his debts (Psalm 37:21).
As for the investments, some wonder: is it wrong to charge interest? The Bible teaches that it is not wrong to loan money with a fair amount of interest. Jesus, in the Parable of Talents, said, “you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest” (Matthew 25:27).
And since in today’s world, it has become necessary to borrow in order to provide for homes, automobiles, and other necessities, Christians are admonished to make careful and safe financial planning when they acquire debts. So, wisdom in managing the finances is much needed and is also promised by God for all that seek it (James 1:5).
In His service,