What are some Bible guidelines for co-signing for a loan?

Let’s go straight to the Bible and see what it has to say about co-signing for a loan:

“Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure” (Proverbs 11:15).

“My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler” (Proverbs 6:1-5).

“Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts” (Proverbs 22:26).

A believer should be careful when co-signing for his friend but should not co-sign for a stranger. Solomon the wisest man, says that the one who lends to his friend may be snared (1) by promising to be responsible for the payment of a sum larger than he can raise, and (2) by putting too high a trust in the good will and ability of his friend.

Therefore, a combining of these ideas suggests the following advice on pledging for a friend: pledge to a friend in need no more than you can afford at that time, and set money aside for the duration of the pledge so that you cannot be faced with a sudden demand for the payment of a sum that is beyond your ability to meet. Unfortunately, friends may fail, sometimes through carelessness, sickness, or poor business ability. Their failure will make the creditors pursue you as the lender using the law.

Though Solomon warns against becoming surety for strangers (Proverbs 11:15; 17:18), he is equally insistent that a man must help his friend and neighbor in time of need (chs. 14:21; 17:17; 18:24; 27:10).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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