ASK Commentary
February 27, 2006 

Question About Money

Commentary for February 27, 2006 — and the Love of Money

An inquiry arose about my February 21, 2006 Commentary “More on Rebuilding Babylon,” about the description I used to describe the effect of the love of money on people. The question shows a recognition that God uses words in Scripture with great precision.

QUESTION:

I read your latest commentary and I wanted to let you know how I interpreted one of your statements. I shall quote you so that there should be no mistake in what I am saying. This is the third sentence from the bottom of your article:
“In human terms, ‘it’s all about the money’ which when combined with a naturally deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) is a root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).”

I took this statement of yours to imply that money is the root of all evil, and that would not be totally correct in comparison to that last verse you quoted which says that the love of money is the root of all evil. I am wondering if anybody else has mentioned this to you? Or am I reading something into what you have stated that shouldn’t be? Please let me know what your thoughts are on this matter.

ANSWER: In my reply I clarified my point:

You are correct. I used the phrase “it’s all about the money” to mean the love of money. However, I want to point out the phrase in the Greek of 1 Timothy 6:10 does not have a definite article.
“For the love of money is the [a] root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

1 Timothy 6:10

Therefore the love of money is A ROOT of all evil. It is not THE ROOT, in spite of what the KJV says. (Note also that the context is with regard to believers, although Paul’s generalization applies to all people, not just believers.) Note earlier in where Paul talks about those who are “greedy of filthy lucre” (1 Timothy 3:3).

Therefore “it’s all about the money” is a current-day way of saying “the love of money is a root of all evil.” I should have also included 1 Timothy 6:9, the verse above. It would have strengthened my argument.

David
A larger context from the Epistle of 1 Timothy shows the relevance of what I wrote, and it is interesting when applied to the future prosperity and richness of Babylon, and those who become rich because of Babylon:
“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 [a] root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

1 Timothy 6:6–11

These words are absolutely true and will be borne out in the experience of those prophesied to participate both in Babylon’s wealth and God’s punishment for the resulting evils (moral and political). Riches and wealth are not bad things, neither is seeking riches. It is the “love of money,” the inordinate coveting of riches which is “a root of all evils.”

In fact, riches are a gift of God (whatever His reasons are).

“Every man also to whom God has given riches and wealth, and has given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour;  this is the gift of God.”

Ecclesiastes 5:19

How does one reconcile this with what Paul wrote?

First, Paul does not say riches are a bad thing. He knows better. He knows that the love of money that is a root of all evil, not the money itself, which is inanimate and has no morality to it. Paul notes that it is easy for the rich to “fall into temptation,” “a snare,” “into foolish and hurtful lusts.” These temptations, snares, and lusts result in destruction, perdition, and sorrows.

Paul encouraged Timothy (and all believers) to pursue other things than riches, the good and proper things that Paul lists.

David Sielaff
david@askelm.com

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