Bible Studies For Life

Make Agreements Cautiously                   Session 8                     24 JUL 16

PROV 22:7 (Prov 22:7 RSV) "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." Too bad we are not under the Law of Moses for lending. Essentially, the Israelites were not permitted to charge interest when they loaned money to an impoverished brother. They could, however, charge interest on loans made to other, more affluent Jews and to foreigners. (Exo 22:25 RSV) ""If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor, and you shall not exact interest from him." And at the end of every seven years, creditors were to cancel all the debts they were owed by fellow Israelites. (Deu 15:1 RSV) ""At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release."

            But in any case, the one borrowing money from someone is under obligation to the terms of the lender.

PROV 6:1-2 “If” assumes a choice to do so. The issue is “surety” which means to stand up for or to be responsible for other’s debts. The law is clear about personal debt by borrowing. (Deu 23:19-20 RSV) ""You shall not lend upon interest to your brother, interest on money, interest on victuals, interest on anything that is lent for interest. {20} To a foreigner you may lend upon interest, but to your brother you shall not lend upon interest; that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are entering to take possession of it." These verses are interesting: (Deu 15:6-8 RSV) "For the LORD your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you. {7} If there is among you a poor man, one of your brethren, in any of your towns within your land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, {8} but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be." Note that all such verses and, in fact, the vast majority of scripture is written to people who are not poor or naked, etc. So it is far easier for a non-poor person to not borrow and to loan money to “brothers” with no interest. This proverb has this person assuming the role as a cosigner for a loan taken out by his neighbor, holding surety which may include a man's house and goods, thus making all he has dependent upon the will of his creditor-neighbor. Will the neighbor repay the loan or will he default? This puts the person into a major problem position that is controlled by others.

PROV 6:3-5 The solution is to "humble" oneself, i.e., to "plead" to gain the desired end of being released from being a co-signer. Furthermore, one is not to rest or sleep until he has been released, even as a "gazelle" or "bird" that is entrapped does not rest until it sets itself free. However, release solution is not guaranteed. So these verses seem to say never co-sign on a loan [or anything else].

PROV 6:6-8 The "sluggard" is mentioned in 13 verses of Proverbs (10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13-16; 20:13). A lazy person may well be a poor, naked person. Is society to support such a lifestyle?

PROV 6:9 The proverb makes a call to action, a call to self-support. Note Paul is quite clear in (2 Th 3:10-12 RSV) "For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. {11} For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. {12} Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living." The Scriptures make provision for benevolent support for those physically unable to perform meaningful work (1 Cor. 16:1-3); but for those who are able to work and choose to do otherwise, Paul simply says that such a one should not eat. Paul goes further in (2 Th 3:14-15 RSV) "If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. {15} Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother." That means do not loan them money, give them food, pay their rent, etc. This solution remains the best approach for any society (Titus 1:12).

PROV 6:10-11 Poverty is the sure result of no work when one could work. But there are a lot of complexities when this person has children. Contrary to some preachers I have heard, Jesus does not give society an open check book when he said (Mat 5:42 RSV) "Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you." No verse stands isolated from the rest of the Bible. 2 Th 3:14-15 applies just as well. Each person must be dealt individually. No one verse covers all situations. The general premise is to help people who want to work but for various reasons cannot or not work enough to keep from being poor. In other words, the helper must assess the situation, use wisdom, and come from a position of love.

PROV 6:12-14 Worthless people are sinful [evil] people who want to sin and not repent. This is the person’s “habit of life.” Such a life-habit always brings strife and contention. Note Paul above.

            Such people usually do not think out the full spectrum of an agreement. Or they do so with the intent of tricking you for their benefit. You will generally have better results dealing with Christians, but it depends upon their and your spiritual maturity.

PROV 6:15 The sure result is “therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.” That is very clear. (James 1:21-24 RSV) "Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. {22} But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. {23} For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; {24} for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like."


You should be careful in whatever type of agreement you make. Read the fine print or have someone you trust do so and then explain it until you have their knowledge.


The Three Rules for Making Smart Agreements:

  1. Think before you do.
  2. Do your own work.
  3. Make righteousness a life-style habit.


Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. Home Page: