In scripture we find that the Bible and money neither expressly forbids nor condones the borrowing of money. However, it also teaches us is that it is usually not a good idea to go into debt. Debt essentially makes us a slave to the person/company we owe the money to. If we look at Romans Chapter 13 verse 8, St. Paul says; “Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another.” However, I also think it is fair to say that debt incurred, so long as it is paid back in a timely manner, is fine as well.
In Proverbs Chapter 27 verse 24 the Bible says; “For wealth lasts not forever, nor even a crown from age to age.” Even before that in Proverbs 14 verse 11 the Bible states; “Wealth quickly gotten dwindles away, but amassed little by little, it grows. Further down in that same chapter verse 22, it states; “The good man will leave an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the just.
Doesn’t that make sense when we see that lottery winners are usually broke within five years of winning the lottery? In addition, many professional athletes who have made millions in their careers are now down and out in debt. I believe that as long as money is being handled wisely and the debt payments are manageable, a Christian can take on the burden of financial debt if it is absolutely necessary.
Therefore, many people want to know what the Bible and money say about charging interest on loans they give to their family or friends. Again, in Proverbs Chapter 28, verse 8 the Bible states; “He who increases his wealth by interest and overcharge gathers it for him who is kind to the poor.” Back in those days charging interest on debt was strictly forbidden among the Israelites because it was presumed the borrower was in some kind of distress.
Therefore, I think a fair interest rate would be acceptable in today’s day and age, however if it could be avoided, that would be best, as usually the debtor is struggling as it is. Back then, the law was about teaching an important spiritual lesson. For a lender to forego interest on a loan to a poor person would be an act of mercy. He would be losing the use of that money while it was loaned out. Yet that would be a tangible way of expressing gratitude to God for His mercy in not charging His people “interest” for the grace He has extended to them.
Finally, a parting quote in scripture I am sure most people are familiar with, which is ‘the love of money.’ In 1 Timothy Chapter 6, versus 7-10 it states; “We brought nothing into the world, nor have we the power to take anything out. If we have food and clothing we have all that we need. Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and a trap. They are letting themselves be captured by foolish and harmful desires which drag men down to ruin and destruction. The love of money is the root of all evil.”