What Does the Bible Say About Cosigning?
Cosigning is a financial arrangement in which an individual agrees to assume responsibility for another person’s debt if they are unable to pay it off. While cosigning may seem like an act of kindness or support, it can also carry significant risks and implications. The Bible provides guidance on various aspects of life, including financial matters, and it addresses the topic of cosigning in several passages. Let’s explore what the Bible says about cosigning and its implications for believers.
1. Proverbs 17:18 – “One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.”
This verse warns against acting as a cosigner without careful consideration and wisdom. It suggests that making financial commitments without proper understanding can lead to negative consequences.
2. Proverbs 6:1-2 – “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.”
This passage highlights the potential traps and snares that can arise from cosigning. It cautions against making financial commitments for others, especially for strangers, as it can lead to personal entanglement and financial burdens.
3. Proverbs 22:26-27 – “Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.”
This verse emphasizes the importance of considering one’s financial ability before cosigning. It warns against putting up security for debts that one cannot afford to pay off, as it can lead to personal loss and hardship.
4. Proverbs 11:15 – “Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.”
This verse further highlights the potential negative consequences of cosigning for someone who is not well-known or trusted. It encourages believers to exercise caution and prudence in such financial commitments.
5. Proverbs 20:16 – “Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.”
This verse suggests that when someone agrees to cosign for a stranger, it is wise to take collateral as security. It demonstrates the need for protection against potential financial losses.
6. Proverbs 27:13 – “Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.”
This verse emphasizes the seriousness of cosigning and the importance of considering the long-term implications. It advises believers to weigh the risks and potential outcomes before committing to cosigning.
7. Luke 14:28-30 – “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”
Although this passage does not directly address cosigning, it encourages believers to carefully consider the financial implications of any commitment. It urges individuals to assess their ability to fulfill their obligations before entering into any agreement.
8. Romans 13:8 – “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
While this verse does not explicitly mention cosigning, it encourages believers to avoid accumulating debts wherever possible. It promotes a lifestyle of financial responsibility and encourages believers to prioritize love and care for others instead.
9. Matthew 5:37 – “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”
This verse encourages believers to be honest and straightforward in their dealings. When considering cosigning, it is essential to communicate openly and clearly about expectations and potential risks.
10. Exodus 22:26-27 – “If ever you take your neighbor’s cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”
Although this verse does not directly address cosigning, it highlights the importance of compassion and fairness in financial matters. It encourages believers to consider the well-being of those they may cosign for and to act with empathy.
11. Proverbs 6:3-5 – “So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go—to the point of exhaustion—and give your neighbor no rest! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.”
This passage advises believers to take swift action to free themselves from the financial burdens of cosigning if they find themselves trapped. It encourages believers to be diligent and proactive in resolving such situations.
12. Psalm 37:21 – “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.”
Although this verse does not specifically address cosigning, it emphasizes the importance of fulfilling one’s financial obligations. It encourages believers to be responsible and trustworthy in their financial dealings.
In conclusion, the Bible provides guidance on various aspects of life, including financial matters such as cosigning. While cosigning may seem like an act of kindness, it is essential to weigh the risks and potential outcomes before committing to such financial arrangements. The Bible advises believers to exercise caution, consider their financial ability, and be diligent in fulfilling their obligations. By seeking wisdom and discernment, believers can navigate the complexities of cosigning in a manner that aligns with biblical principles.