Does the Bible say anything about lending money?

Money should not have a hold on our hearts, because God has given us all that we have: "The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts" (1 Samuel 2:7). When we recognize that the Lord is our source of provision, it should compel us to more freely use our financial and other available resources, within reasonable limits, to help people.

God gives the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). If we have been blessed with wealth, we should be willing to lend, or even give, money to those who are in need. In Matthew 5:42 Jesus said, "Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you" (Matthew 5:42). In Luke 6:35 Jesus said, "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil." We should be willing to give and to lend to any in need, even our enemies.

In Deuteronomy 15:7–8 God told the Israelites, "If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be." Exodus 22:25, Deuteronomy 23:19–20, and Leviticus 25:36–38 specify laws regarding interest—the Israelites were permitted to charge interest on loans made to foreigners, but not to other Jews. Every seven years, debts were cancelled (Deuteronomy 15; Leviticus 25). Lending should not be done so as to get rich, but so as to help those in need (Proverbs 28:8).

Borrowing money is not encouraged in the Bible, but sometimes it is necessary and is certainly permitted. Money should not be borrowed in order to make unwise purchases or appear rich. A good name is more important than having wealth (Proverbs 22:1). Also, we must repay our debts (Psalm 37:21; Romans 13:7–8).

If we lend to others, we should be conscientious that our lending does not create a stumbling block (Matthew 5:5–6; Romans 14:13). We do not want to add unnecessarily to someone's debt burden. So be conscientious of how much money you are willing to loan someone and make sure that the amount being borrowed is an amount that is realistic for the borrower to repay in a timely manner. Again, we lend so as to help others, not to harm them or to make ourselves rich.

Keep in mind, too, that lending money gets complicated when it is between friends. Sometimes it is better to give money to someone and sustain the friendship than lend it to them and put a strain on the relationship.

For both lenders and borrowers, money should not be something they are emotionally attached to: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils …" (1 Timothy 6:10).

Lending money to those in need is a kind and good thing to do when you have the means to do so. Even if you cannot lend money, be generous to others by giving of your time and talents. A generous life is something that God encourages: "give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38).

Related Truth:

Why is giving such a focus in the Christian faith?

What should a Christian who is in debt do?

What does the Bible say about decision-making?

What does the Bible teach about tough love?

What is a Christian response to a bad economy?

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