Is Money Evil?

September 2, 2013  CommentaryCultureHerald NewsNo comments


moneyWe've been going through this three week series on “misused” verses in the bible at our church.

The one that I would like to touch on today is the verse in 1 Timothy 6:10. It says “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”. I'm quoting the King James Version of the bible because there is a slight nuance in this verse.

There's something about the desire to make large amounts of money and possessing material objects that does strange things to people. In Christian culture when something takes greater precedence in our lives than the God who created them, we call it an idol. Most people, especially in the Northeast with a strong religious background, equate idols with material statutes, but the bible describes idolatry differently.

There is something wrong with the first proposition. It infers that at the root of evil is money. I disagree. The English Standard Version which is more accurate in this place of scripture  reminds us that the REAL source of evil is in our hearts, the inner man, which is naturally selfish. Mans heart is desperately wicked. This is why the gospel must be preached. The gospel changes hearts and is a message of reconciliation (God making you his friend through Jesus).

The prophet Jeremiah speaking to his nation (Israel) ready to go into captivity  reminds the people that their hearts were self centered and had lead them astray from God and therefore they would receive God's justice, 70 years of bondage in Babylon . Later on God would bring a remnant of people out of that captivity, but the majority of the people had hard hearts.

The bible doesn't denounce money but warns us about “the love of money”. There are stresses, pressures and temptations that come with financial desire and gain. Both the rich and poor are impacted. Jesus reminded his followers that our possessions should not be our master to the point it consumes us “You cannot serve God and money”-Matthew 6:24.

The KJV seems to suggest any and all evil has its root in “the love of money”, but that's NOT what the bible really says. If you were to go back to  1 Timothy 6:9 in the ESV you would see that  it says – “ those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction”.  The word “desire” is descriptive in the original language . It is a present middle participle verb. The middle voice here suggests the desire is for self. Here is where the problem can be resolved.

The point in verse nine of chapter six is that the byproduct of a misplaced desire is evil.  Many types of evils are manifest from a distorted love of money, But the real source that must be expunged is a foolish selfish heart. Jesus came to conquer sin, death, and selfish hearts. Those who come to him and trust alone in his finished work (John 19:30) receive new hearts who can learn to use money appropriately.

Our inward bent, without Christ can distort our greatest desires. The good becomes the enemy of the best, and what God meant for good can turn into evil.   When self and its goals become greater than knowing God and following him, good desires can cause corruption

The emphasis in 1 Timothy 6:9 is focused on the desire to get rich and how many people fall into temptation as a result of this. These desires are what ruin relationships, families, and careers, and even lives. Remember the sins we commit are often rooted in another god (2 Cor 4:4) whose voice is subtle and ongoing.

The better translation found in the English Standard Version states “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.(1Timothy 6:10). Not all evil but all kinds of evil.  Big difference.

What can we do? First let scripture be your guide. It determines what is righteous and holy (Ephesians 4). Jesus said that with a new heart, we can deny ourselves pick up his cross/agenda and follow him when we are new creations.  God makes us new spiritually when we come by faith alone to Jesus. It doesn't mena we won't struggle, but a new disposition exists within us.

Second is it possible that we need to  look at making money for the sake of giving rather than getting? If we do this, the motivation will line up with what has been stated by the Apostle Paul concerning a quote made by Jesus himself “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Act 20:35).

There is actually greater joy in giving than getting. Ephesians 4:28 says we should work with our own hands so that “we may have something to share with anyone in need”. God's economy is so inverted to the way most people think about ideals.

Last let our motivation be the love of God.  God gave his Son so that we might have life everlasting. Have a great weekend!!!