What's With Interest Rates – And Does The Bible Ban Them? - Hope 103.2

What’s With Interest Rates – And Does The Bible Ban Them?

New Hope Podcast 'Money' dares to ask: are we complaining too much about how much we're charged for what we borrow?

By Ben McEachenMonday 13 Feb 2023Money: Faith & FinancePodcastsReading Time: 2 minutes

The hottest topic in Australia remains the same one everyone wishes was not trending up: interest rates.

Little wonder the first episode of Hope’s Money podcast explores the biggest thing in Australian finance – from unexpected angles.

Co-hosts Ben McEachen (Hope Mornings) and Sydney accountant Pete Burrows dared to ask whether we’re complaining too much about interest rates, since their sharp rise in Australia since May 2022.

“Oh, everybody is a whinger. At all times,” Pete joked before standing up for those impacted now by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s escalating rate rises.

Focusing on interest rates and mortgage holders, Pete said previous generations did borrow at higher rates (such as 17.5 per cent cash rate in 1990) but “their houses were a lot cheaper” than the average house prices have become.

“They had not borrowed as much money back then,” Pete said. “Also, too, rates did not stay at those high levels for very long.”

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In a climate of heightened fear about ongoing rate rises, the Money podcast almost defends the fee no-one wants to pay.

“Interest rates are, basically, the price we have to pay for borrowed money,” Pete said. In case you hadn’t stopped to think about that costly fact of loans and repayments.

With the Money podcast aiming to bring a Christian perspective to everyday money matters, what does the Bible say about not charging interest?

The Bible prohibits interest in the Old Testament, such as Deuteronomy 23:19-20.

“You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

Pointing back to such sections of Scripture related to rates, Ben added that such instruction was given to God’s people under a system of rules and regulations which were reshaped later by Jesus.

“If you are going back to those verses and trying to apply them to God’s people today, you would have to think, ‘Well, what about all those other laws which we ignore in the Old Testament?'” Ben said.

“The ones we don’t apply nowadays – this side of Jesus – because we say that it was fulfilled in Jesus, so we don’t need to do it.

“The ‘interest rate’ verses… falls under that category as well.”

Listen to the full What’s with Interest Rates? episode in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.

Feature image: Getty