For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. – 1 Tim 6:10 (NLT)
Most Christians, and a fair number of non-Christians, know full well “Money is the root of all evil” is a Bible verse. This verse is one of the most misquoted and misinterpreted verses in the Bible. The full text is “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” That is not to say that money cannot cause problems. Money is not neutral, it can be very dangerous to the Christian seeking to serve God.
People are also quick to point out that it is the “love of money” that is the problem. Although wealth can be a blessing, God’s Word also gives numerous warnings about the misuse of money. Paul strongly cautioned Timothy about the danger of loving money because “…people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9) And in 1 Timothy 6:17 Paul says, “each those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”
This tension between the positive and negative aspects of money is seen throughout the Bible. One example is Luke 16:13: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
Money is tempting to our flesh because it seems to be the solution to any problem. The promise of having more is pretty beguiling so no wonder so many people spend their lives trying to acquire more and more. Jesus told a parable about a rich man who planned to tear down his barns only to build larger ones to store his crops and goods. Jesus spoke of this man’s foolishness because he was storing up earthly wealth but did “not have a rich relationship with God.” (Luke 12:16–21). Solomon also knew well how fleeting earthly riches are: “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.” (Proverbs 23:4–5).
Wealth and physical possessions will not bring true, lasting joy—they are small in comparison to the treasures of spiritual blessings God offers to those who love Him. Therefore, Christians should rightly use the money God gives us, but not love it, since it is only temporary. Consider the following words of Jesus:
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:19–21)
- What are some life experiences that have influenced your relationship to money?
- How do you go about determining how much money is “enough?” Is it wrong to work hard to try to get ahead financially?
- Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19. Which part is most convicting to you personally? Share why it sticks out to you.
- What can we do this week to put money in the right perspective and priority?