555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

496. What Is the Bible Teaching about Usury?




The most radical reference to money lending is that of Christ himself (Luke 6:35), "Do good and lend, hoping for nothing again." But it must be remembered that the words were spoken to a people very differently situated from ourselves. In our society the convenience of loans at interest is a benefit to lender and borrower alike. If the practice of taking interest were absolutely forbidden, both borrower and lender would suffer, as the capitalist would be little likely to lend money if he had no compensation, and the borrower would be unable to get the capital he needs for carrying on his business. The general tenor of Bible teaching seems to be that the lender has no right to take advantage of the borrower's necessities to exact more than a fair rate of interest. Many loans are in the nature of a limited partnership, and the borrower is simply paying the lender a share of the profit he makes out of the capital supplied by the lender, which is a legitimate transaction. References to usury in the Old Testament are found in Ps. 15:5; Nehem. 5:11; Prov. 28:8, and Leviticus 25:35-37.