Statistics tell us that one leading cause of arguments among couples comes from issues related to finances, specifically the lack of financial control. The scriptures have numerous verses that speak about finances. Believers must recognize certain general principles regarding money. We must understand that everything we have comes from God, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). Secondly, believers must be satisfied with Christ since nothing else can satisfy a believer:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And
having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish
and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some
coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1Timothy 6: 6-10)
Likewise, Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11-12:
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be
abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound
and to suffer need.
Thirdly, a man who is content with having his needs provided by the Lord will be blest. In contrast, those who are not content will be punished; “A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 28:20) and 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
The Bible also teaches what things are NOT beneficial when it comes to finances. A general overriding principle is believers should not place themselves into debt; “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8). Being in debt actually makes us a servant of someone other than God; “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). Instead of being a servant, we should position ourselves so that we can give money away, “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth” (Psalm 37:21) and 1 Timothy 6:17-19,
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth
us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying
up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Co-signing loans is prohibited because that is a sure way for us to place ourselves into potential debt:
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth,
thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend;
go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. (Proverbs 6:1-4)
Similarly, Proverbs 11:15 admonishes believers not to co-sign, “He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.” I do not believe that the term stranger should extend to a parent-child relationship; depending on the circumstances co-signing a student loan for a child or a close family member in need should be the exception. Regardless of the situation, believers must understand that there are risks associated with co-signing. Proverbs 18:18 explains that anyone who co-signs a loan has poor judgment, “A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.” Also, Proverbs 22:26-27, warns us that if you co-sign you could potentially lose all including your bed, “Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts. If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?” Bottom line, like a gazelle we should run away from co-signing, “Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler” (Proverbs 6:5).
In summary, although the scriptures warn against co-signing believers are also directed in Matthew 25:35-40 to use all we have to love and glorify God and our neighbor:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye
clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord,
when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or
naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto
them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Cleanwaters Counseling Ministries provides biblical discipleship and counseling for married couples and those with addictions.