Gospel of Thomas Commentary

174,747 words

This compilation explores modern interpretations of the Gospel according to Thomas, an ancient text preserved in a Coptic translation at Nag Hammadi and Greek fragments at Oxyrhynchus. With no particular slant, this commentary gathers together quotations from various scholars in order to elucidate the meaning of the sayings, many of which are right...

Saying 95 - We Should Not Lend At Interest

Nag Hammadi Coptic Text


(95) [Jesus said:] If you have money, (p. 49) do not lend at interest, but give [ . . . ] to him from whom you will not receive it back.


(95) [Jesus said], "If you (plur.) have money, do not lend it out at interest. Rather, give [it] to one from whom you will not get it back."


99 [95]. [Jesus says: "If (?)] you have money, do not lend it at interest, but [. . .] who (?) will not take them from him."


Funk's Parallels

Luke 6:27-36
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Matt 5:38-42
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.


Scholarly Quotes

Gerd Ludemann writes:

"the logion has a parallel in content in Matt. 5.42b/Luke 6.30. But the theme of interest recalls the antipathy of Thomas to merchants (cf. 64.12). However, this does not exclude the possibility that it was already contained in the tradition that Thomas is using."

(Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 636)

Comparing Thomas to Matthew and Luke, Koester finds that the Thomas form is more original:

"The ending of Luke 6:34 ('Even sinners lend to sinners . . .') is a secondary addition in analogy to the ending of the preceding saying Luke 6:33 ('Even sinners do that'). Matt 5:42 reads, 'Give to the one who asks you, and do not refuse one who wants to borrow from you.' This may have preserved the wording of the original saying better than Luke 6:34, and Thomas's version can be best explained as a development of this form."

(Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 90)

Funk and Hoover write:

"Thomas records a saying that is parallel to Matt 5:42b: 'Don't turn away the one who triest to borrow from you.' Thomas' version may well be the earlier version since it is absolute: lend to those from whom you can't expect to get your capital back."

(The Five Gospels, p. 522)


Visitor Comments

Give freely with out condition. Help everyone and do not expect to be repayed at all. Do not expect repayment for favours given in the past.
- Brian

As a follower of Jesus I've just recently fully understood that I came here with nothing material, and when I leave here it will be the same. God owns everything, and anything that he gives me materially while I'm here I am to be a conduit of His to freely and cheerful give back to Him, and to others. God does not charge us interest on what we in essence borrow from Him, but yet bestows us with enumerable dividends. We would all do well to give like God.
- 1of2

This is not so much about money but about help in general. It saying many times people give with the thought that they should be repaid with interest. For example, I helped you when your family was starving please come manicure my yard for me. If you help those who cannot possibly give you the information/food/time/love in return you are following the directions of Jesus!
- justlooking

As In Islam, no usury. Do not lend. GIVE! Give to the needy and with no expectation of a return
- Thief37

Also, this is immediately effective on the behavior to instill not seeking. It doesn't really matter what one is seeking; it is the seeking itself, be it for interest on a loan or any ego-based thing, it is still of ego, pettiness, smallness, "me-ness."
- E. Grove

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