Understanding scripture: “The love of money”


Is money the root of all evil?


We would be well advised to have our thoughts and actions transformed by what the bible says. But I wonder how often we are transformed by what we mistakenly THINK it says. For example, this verse is a frequently misquoted one. What 1 Timothy 6:10 actually says is “the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” In this chapter Paul is telling Timothy to adhere to the sound instruction of Jesus. He warns against false teachers who seek personal gain over understanding, teachers who love to seek controversies and quarrels that end in “envy, strife, malicious talk, and constant frictions between people…who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” (v 4-5) His beef is with preachers and teachers who use the gospel as a pretense for personal worldly profit.


Paul asserts that “godliness with contentment is great gain….those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (v 6 and 9)


It is in this context that Paul warns: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (v 10)
The rich young ruler was dismayed after talking with Jesus, not because he had too much money, but that it was more important to him than seeking God.


But the problem is much larger than money or even the love of it. The root of evil that Paul warns against is desiring and trusting everything else more than God. We say, of course I love God, but I just NEED to have (insert your own heart’s desire). This is the root that grew out of the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve decided to trust their own thinking instead of trusting God. Money, food, clothes, jobs… none of these things are evil in their own accord. They are each necessities to some sort and in fact, useful for the advancement of the gospel when used according to God’s plan.


Money is not the root of all evil. It is the love of money – and everything else we value more than our relationship with God – that is the root of all kinds of evil.


Enjoy the good life God intended for you, a life of contentment and freedom from the slavery to things.



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