Historically many different things have served as money aside from coins and paper both in the localized sense and even internationally.

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According to Mateer and Coppock money is a broad category that includes but is not limited to the “paper bills and coins that are used to buy goods and services,” so rather than defining money in that sense we examine the functions of money (2018). The three basic functions of money are that it is a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value (Mateer & Coppock, 2018). A medium of exchange is, simply, what people trade for goods and services (Mateer & Coppock, 2018). A unit of account is “the measure in which prices are quoted” (Mateer & Coppock, 2018). A store of value is a means for retaining wealth (Mateer & Coppock, 2018).

An alternative to money, barter, is what happens when there is a double coincidence of wants and individuals trade what each other already have for what the other already has, excluding money (Mateer & Coppock, 2018). While barter does not fall under the functions of money, it is often the precursor to money in societies due to the inefficiency of a requirement for double coincidence of wants (Mateer & Coppock, 2018).

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Historically many different things have served as money aside from coins and paper both in the localized sense and even internationally. One such occurrence were the cowry, or cowrie, shells that were used in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia (“When – and why – did people first start using money?”, 2021). According to Ludden in the Journal of World History, cowrie is the “shell of a of a small mollusk of the Cypraea family” and has been used as coin in Asia all the way from ancient to even modern times (Ludden, 2020). Cowries were seemingly first became a money in the Maldives, where billions were harvested and sold across Afro-Asia for over two millenia, with the majority going to Bengal (Ludden, 2020).

The Bible speaks to money and its issues many times throughout the book. Perhaps one of the challenging verses to me personally is Exodus 22:25 where in the laws of Social justice we are told that when lending money to any of the Lord’s people that are poor, we should not act as moneylenders and instead should not charge any interest of them (ESV). This concept is challenging because many times, it is difficult to determine what poor in the eyes of the Lord is. Because of this and the fact that I am not a lender by trade, when I “loan” people money, I have no desire to recoup the debt from them at all, let alone charging interest. If I am paid back then that is great, but if not then I realize that they most likely need the money more than I and remind myself that Matthew 19:24 tells us that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter Heaven (ESV).

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