When it comes to the topic of money, wealth, and riches, many people especially Christians shy away from it. They think that just talking about money makes you greedy and worldly because we’re supposed to focus our energy helping others, loving one another, and sharing the Gospel.
Most people have the wrong notion that money is evil or that money is the root of all evil. But is it? How is money the root of all evil?
What Does the Bible Say?
The Apostle Paul in his first letter to his young disciple Timothy warns him about greed. Paul reminds Timothy how the love of money can lead someone to do evil things and in the end turn away from their faith in God. (1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”)
Do you know that this verse is one of the most misquoted passages of Scriptures as it seems to make money and wealth the source or root of all evil? But reflecting on the correct citation of this verse, we see that the love of money, not money itself, is the root of all evil.
Did Jesus talk about wealth and money? Most definitely! Jesus said we cannot serve both God and money because either we will hate the one and love the other or we will be loyal to the one and despise the other. (Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”)
Jesus likens the love of money to idolatry. Anything that we love more than God and takes first place in our lives more than Him is an idol and we become guilty of breaking the first commandment of not having other gods than the true living God. (Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”)
But Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-30 is one of the most memorable conversations He had about money. When the young man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, He tells him to follow all the commandments. When the man tells Jesus that he has done all that, Jesus wants to test his ability to obey the first commandment by telling him to sell all his possessions and give to the poor and follow Him.
But the young man, having so much wealth, couldn’t do it because his wealth has become his idol. (Matthew 19:21-22 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.)
Should You Aim to Become Rich?
We cannot deny the fact that some people do very bad things in pursuit of money and many people value the things that money can buy more than they should. People who hold to the belief that they cannot survive without money condition their mind from early childhood to gain wealth by whatever means possible.
And this obsession for wealth has resulted in various forms of evils such as stealing, kidnapping, and illegal use of drugs.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a more comfortable life but you should not use unethical means to accumulate money. Because when you begin to focus on the accumulation of wealth as the highest purpose in your life, you will have the tendency to put other virtues below it.
In simpler terms, you will value wealth accumulation over the welfare of others. How you use money is a reflection of what you are and what you value.
Money itself is not evil. There is nothing wrong with money or the possession of money. It is simply a medium of exchange. People trade money for food, housing, or other things. Money can be used to build orphanages, hospitals, and universities, to feed the poor, educate people in righteousness, and preach the gospel. Don’t you want to have plenty so you have something more to share?
Again, money itself is neither good nor evil. Having money and riches is not evil. Earning money isn’t evil. But when we let money control us and we start loving money more than God, then we’re in trouble.
Recommended Resource: Money Won’t Make You Rich by Sunday Adelaja
In Money Won’t Make You Rich, Sunday Adelaja gives a comprehensive guide to successful living God’s way. Combining biblical truth, financial advice, and his own life experiences, he explains such topics as financial freedom, the true meaning of prosperity, the secret of success and four principles of continuous success, three laws to making your money work, and the core reason for financial failure
Money does not make us rich, it will not make us happy. By learning the important principles about wealth creation in this book, you will no longer be enslaved by money and you will learn to make money work for you and not against us.
14 thoughts on “How is Money the Root of All Evil?”
Great article. Very informative for those who have questions. I like to place it this way: A child of God deserves the best and that includes money. I’m not saying one must be rich but I am saying one deserves the best. Not as in fancy but as in a bit more than suitable.
Thanks for dropping a comment Linda.
I certainly agree with you, every child of God deserves the best, including financial blessings. When God promised to bless us, it includes every aspect of our lives. Although the Word of God teaches us not go after worldly wealth, these things will eventually follow when we seek first God’s kingdom (Matthew 6:33). I don’t see anything wrong with being financially blessed but we will do well if we use our blessings to bless others and for God’s glory.
This post is truly an eye-opener. Money is not bad, it is bad depending on how we use it. Too much love of money will lead to sin. And I agree that love of money is a sign of Idolatry.
One of the promises of God is to bless us abundantly and He is willing to bless us more than could we ever imagine as long as we seek first His Kingdom.
And giving tithes is also a way of showing that everything comes from our God. Most of people who give their 10% income have a strong covenant with God and in return God bless them abundantly. “see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)
God bless you more
Thanks for your comment. As children of the Most High God, we are blessed with every kind of blessing, even financial and material blessings. But we also have to guard our hearts because it might deceive us into believing that the blessings God is giving us are to be used for our own selfish reasons and worldly pleasures. Let us guard our heart not to love money more than the source (God). We work hard to have a comfortable life but we should also glorify God with our money.
I’m glad you mentioned tithing. You’re right, this is one way of blessing God in return. Giving God at least 10% of our income means we are not attached to our money and also a way of recognizing God as our “only” source.
Thank you for this post. It is frustrating as a christian to hear people misquote scripture for their own manipulative purposes (false prophets and all), but sometimes people just don’t know what is actually written. In this case, yes, it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all kinds of evil, yet without money, how can we feed the hungry? Without money, how can we provide shelter or give to missionary groups? Money is a necessary tool to accomplish much, but the heart must remain pure enough to handle the responsibility of being given much to manage!
Very well said Steve, I totally agree! Money is necessary if we want to support our family and loved ones, help the needy and support God’s work. Money is just a tool we use to accomplish missionary works. Just some warning though, let’s be careful to not allow money to rule over us. Some people when they start making more money will use their money for worldly pleasures and self gratification. It’s not bad to reward yourself once in awhile but always remember that there are better ways to spend your money on than just earthly things which are just temporary things (Colossians 3:2).
Thanks Steve, God bless!
I am a christian and believe that i have to work hard and make money , i need to be able to take care of my self and i cannot do that without money. The only problem is that when christians become wealthy , they tend to forget God and chase the worldly things, they no longer remember that God gave them the wealth in the first place. That is the issue. Having a lot of money sometimes destroys people. If only christians can remain strong in Christ, wealth or no wealth, then i think the world will be a better place.
Hi Stella, thanks for weighing in, I really appreciate it.
The Word of God is pretty clear that we need to work in order to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10) and that lazy hands make us poor while diligent hands make us rich (Proverbs 10:4). We see nothing in the Bible that says Christians are better off poor. We need money to support our family, we need money to support God’s work and to reach out to others.
But as you said, when God blesses us and we become rich, we tend to forget God because we feel like we don’t need Him anymore. Instead of seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) we run after the riches of this world. Let us work hard to have a better life but we should not let money define nor control us.
Proverbs 30:8-9 is a wise saying of Agur son of Jakeh which Christians should reflect on.
This is a fantastic article! I’m not personally a Christian per-say. I’m a Panentheist. However, the same philosophy is agreed upon because the desire to have wealth in most cases roots from greed. Not in every case though. Some people seek wealth to help others, but even then, their act can be broken into categories depending on their motive. Do they use this wealth to help people out of the goodness and love in their hearts? Do they feel empathy for those in need? Or do they act simply to glorify themselves, act in a self righteous manner, and boost their ego? (still infected with greed) wealth cannot be evil. Wealth is in the eye of the beholder. If you as a Christian find gods blessing to be true wealth, how could it be evil? Wealth is not evil, However, sometimes peoples intentions are where the evil lies. God blessed your soul in giving you the ability to see the difference! <3
Hello Vee, thanks for your comment and for sharing your insights, appreciate it.
We may not exactly be on the same side when it comes to theology and the Bible but we both agree that wealth/money in itself is not evil. It’s what people would do with their money and how they accumulate it that often gives it a bad rap. You’re right, greed is not always the motivation for people to seek riches. I believe there are good people who desire to get rich so that they will become a blessing to others. Let us be encouraged to work diligently not only to have a comfortable life and a promising future for our kids but also to be able to extend our blessings to those in need and for the kingdom of God.
May the Lord God bless you, shalom!
I tend to agree with most of your comments here.
It reminds me of a book called Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell, which I recommend you check out if you haven’t already.
He’s was a lawyer, turned preacher and eventually also founded Temple University in the US. He pretty much says that if you class yourself as a Christian, then it’s your duty to get rich, because that way you’ll be able to help a lot more people. As simple as that.
Hey Jerry, how are you?
Although I am cautious when it comes to prosperity preachers, I stay with my conviction that there is absolutely nothing wrong with aspiring to become rich especially if you are a Christian. I believe that God wants us to live in abundance and prosperity and that He wants to bless us. But the problem with some people is that as God prospers them, they become greedy; they become attached to their money and they forget the main reason why God prospered them in the first place. God wants to bless and prosper us so that we will be able to support His work on earth. God blesses us to be a blessing.
Acres of Diamond seems like a good read, I will definitely check it out, thank you.
You are absolutely right. I want to make money because of financial stability but I am not going to do it the wrong way. I have found a job that I really like and I am lucky enough to be able to make money from it. Thank you for your unique opinion.
Hi Samantha, thanks for weighing in. You are so right, accumulating money the wrong way and at the expense of other people is wrong. Trading our time and effort for money is fair and square. It’s okay to dream of financial stability and financial abundance then work for the fulfillment of that dream but we must always be aware of the dangers of getting too attached to our money. I wish you success in your job and your career. God bless!