There is a strong historical belief that Christians should not charge interest when lending money. Randy Alcorn wrote, “Throughout church history, Christian teachers have taken a strong position against exacting usury on a loan to make a personal profit. Usury is seen as charging excess interest and the word means charging any interest. This issue is what we are considering this week as we look at both the contemporary and biblical views on making interest from fellow Christians.

Differentiate between interest and profit.

There is one piece of advice given to us by the ancient heathen Greeks and by the Jews in the Old Testament. Also,  the Christian teachers of the Great Middle Ages that the modern economic system has not obeyed. All these people told us not to lend money with interest: lending money with interest, what we now call investment, is the basis of our whole system. In the moment, it may not ab followed that we are wrong. In this case, a Christian economist is absolutely needed.

Biblical View on Charging Interest

Context is everything in scriptural interpretation. Sometimes, the immediate vicinity of a passage provides all we need to understand what is being conveyed; at other times, the writer assumes prior knowledge of earlier Scriptures. There are several places in the Scripture where God speaks specifically about lending money and charging interest.

Usury, loan, and interest

There is not one verse, not one hint in the Bible that taking excessive interest is wrong. What is prohibited in Deuteronomy 15: 1-7 and Deuteronomy 23 is interest on any loan, in any form, that has been extended to a poor brother in the faith. It is perfectly all right to lend with interest to someone, not in the faith. A Christian or Christian organization should organize a loan business to help people to do the ministrations. It is prohibited to charge huge interest or make things hard for lenders. (Deuteronomy 23:19-20).

What prohibits charitable loans to poor brethren in the faith and to a special category of resident aliens, men have been submitted to the Mosaic Law. The texts are quite explicit. If thou lends money to any of my people that is poor, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury(Exodus 22:25).

That is why the Book of Leviticus says, “And if thy brother is waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he is… When the poor come to you to lend money from a Christian or a religious organization, the loan must be something that will make them comfortable, not to contribute to their hardship.(Leviticus25:35-37).

The Hebrew word here translated as “stranger” is different from the Hebrew word for “stranger” in Deuteronomy 23:20.The word” stranger” in Deuteronomy was a temporary resident, probably a businessman. The loan lending to the lenders should favor them and benefit from it.

How Did a Charitable Loan Differ from a Commercial Loan?

A charitable loan had the following features:

  • There was no interest payment.
  • It was morally mandatory.
  • The day of release was on the Day of Atonement in the nation’s seventh (sabbatical) year.

This is laid out in Deuteronomy 15:1-7 and Leviticus 25:1-9.. The 49-year limit was established in terms of the sabbatical periods of seven years: seven times seven. It is being discussed in Leviticus 25, the chapter seems to be the Jubilee year. He had to be paid.

.The book of Leviticus recorded that they shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of Jubilee: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and. … (Leviticus 25:39-41)

Differences between our Lending Context and the Historical Context

  • During this time, loans were offered by an individual to individuals. Today, most lending is done by institutions to individuals.
  • During this time, the wealthy lent and the poor borrowed. Today, almost anyone borrows, even the wealthy.
  • During this time, borrowing was often an act of survival. Today, borrowing is an act of convenience.
  • During this time, within the context of one’s people(Israelite to Israelite), lending was seen as a compassionate and charitable action.

Today, lending is often a commercial action. During this time, currency was typically non-inflationary. Today, currency is inflationary.

Conclusion

Charitable loans were to be annulled once in the seventh year, once. Loans collateralized by rural land were to end in the seventh year or Jubilee year. His sabbatical year and the jubilee year system were annulled by Jesus and ended when Israel ceased to exist as a nation. Jesus authorized interest-bearing loans.

Ask God to help you make every necessary adjustment in your financial relationship with other disciples. Pray for the grace of God to have more than enough to share with other believers without expecting returns from them. Let the class pray for financial breakthroughs for those in financial need.

Further Bible Study/Verses about Loan Lending

Ecclesiastes 5:5 …you should vow and not pay.

Luke 16:11 …who will entrust to you the true riches?

Psalm 37:21 The wicked borrow and do not repay…

James 4:2-3 You desire but do not have, so you kill…

Proverbs 22:7 Bottom of Form The rich rules over the…

Psalm 37:21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back…

Romans 13:8  Owe no one anything…

Proverbs 22:26-27 Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts…

Deuteronomy 23:19  You shall not charge interest…

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives…

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend…

Proverbs 6:1-5  My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, if you are snared in the words of your mouth…

Exodus 22:25 If you lend money…

Psalm 112:5 It is well with the man…

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal…

Deuteronomy 23:19-20 You shall not charge interest on loans to….

Proverbs 28:8 Whoever multiplies…

Leviticus 25:35-37 If your brother…

Proverbs 17:18 One who lacks sense…

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you…

Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who begs…

Proverbs 11:15 Whoever puts up security…

Psalm 15:5 Who does not put out his….

Romans 13:7 Pay to all what is owed.