It’s common to hear that the love of money is the root of all evil. It’s a commonly quoted verse that comes from 1 Timothy 6:10. The problem is we often misquote this verse.
We like to say “money is the root of all evil.” But that leaves out three very important words that change the meaning of this verse; Paul actually says: “the love of money is a root of all evil.” That’s quite the difference.
While we regularly misquote this verse, is it still very applicable for us today. Paul’s warning is very serious and one that we shouldn’t ignore. The love of money has cost people dearly.
The full verse says: “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.” 1 Timothy 6:10
In this blog post I want to break down the 1 Timothy 6:10 meaning and see how it applies to our life.
The REAL 1 Timothy 6:10 Meaning
It’s important that we note what this verse does NOT say. 1 Timothy 6:10 is often quoted that “money is the root of all evil” or as “the love of money is the root of evil.” Both of those are wrong and not what Paul said.
Let’s break down each part of this verse to see the true meaning of 1 Timothy 6:10.
For The Love Of Money…
Right off the bat we should note that Paul is not saying money is bad. Money is not the problem, the LOVE of money is the issue.
Money is a neutral thing. It is not inherently good or bad. How we use it and view it determine if it’s good or evil.
Paul is not rebuking Christians for being rich. Rather he’s warning about the insatiable desire for money. The love of money.
Is A Root Of All Kinds Of Evil…
These next few words tells us what the love of money leads to…
Again, take careful note of the words. Most quote this verse to say “money is the root of all evil” or as “the love of money is the root of evil.” That’s not what Paul says.
Paul actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (Some translations say, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”)
There is more than one root of evil. Loving money is A root, not THE root.
We tend to demonize money when we see it as the root. But remember, money isn’t the problem. It’s neutral. Our heart and our desire for money (and other things apart from God) is what is the problem.
Some people, Eager For Money…
The love of money isn’t something we just struggle with today, it’s a timeless trap. We should note that Paul says those eager for money. Not those who have money.
I often see people who think money isn’t a problem from them because they don’t have much. But Paul here is warning us about the love of money and being eager for it. This has nothing to do with the numbers in our bank account. Rather the desire in our heart.
Paul is building his argument here. The love of money is a root of evil. And some people eager for money have…
Have Wandered From The Faith And Pierced Themselves With Many Griefs…
Paul is arguing that the desire for money leads people to negative consequences. There’s two main consequences he lists. Wandering from faith and piercing with many griefs.
Those who love money lose sight of the love of God. They wander from what God has for them toward their wealth. In essence money becomes their god. They follow it, worship it, and chase it.
The problem is money is a harsh master. It has lead some people to pierce themselves with many griefs. The implication here is that this is self-inflicted. It’s not really their money that’s causing this, it’s their desire for money.
The reality is when we worship something or someone other than God it will lead to death. Money can never deliver what we hope it will. And for those worshiping it, the path is dark and bleak.
Thankfully God has made a way for us to get back to him. It’s through repentance. We don’t have to continue down this path, we can return to the life that God has for us.
Why The Love Of Money Is The Root Of All Evil?
As we’ve seen it’s not the love of money is the root of all evil, but rather it’s a evil. The 1 Timothy 6:10 meaning for us today is a warning for how we view and desire money.
I think this is a warning that is especially important for us today. In western culture we LOVE money. Consumerism is everywhere and widely accepted. For many Christians their first love is their money and many don’t even know it.
The Bible warns of the love of money in many places and challenges us to place God first. Money can never give us what we hope. It’s an endless cycle of wanting more and more to satisfy our desire. The problem is our desire will never be fulfilled with money, it will only grow.
The love of money is a root of all evil because it will always lead us away from the one who can satisfy us. It will cause us to do things that we never thought we would so that we can get more. The love of money leads us away from God.
How Should Christians View Money And Wealth?
Some take the 1 Timothy 6:10 meaning and will say that Christians should just avoid money at all costs. But that’s not Paul’s point. A few verses later in 1 Timothy 6:17 Paul specifically addresses rich Christians, and he does not tell them to get rid of their money. Rather he commands them to not put their hope in their money.
Really this is the command for all Christians, regardless of the number of zeros in our bank account. Don’t place your hope in money, place it in God.
You don’t need more money, a bigger house, and more things to have peace and joy. You need God. But culture bombards us with messages contrary to this. We must fight against these lies and recognize that it’s only God who can meet our deepest desires.
Find Balance In Our View Of Money
There’s two extremes when it comes to money that Christians tend to fall into, but both should be avoided.
The first extreme is the prosperity gospel. Proponents of this claim that it’s God’s desire for every Christian to become wealthy. And if we just obey God and do what he says he will make us rich. Nowhere in the Bible does it claim that all Christians should be rich or that our wealth is tied to our faith.
The other extreme is poverty gospel. This extreme claims that true Christians will sell all they have to give to the poor. This is sneaky because it sounds righteous. But in reality it’s often just false piety. God hasn’t commanded everyone to live this way and we shouldn’t feel bad about the money we have.
Instead of living in these extremes we should practice generosity and thankfulness. We should be thankful for what God has given us and generous with it to those around us.
You might also like: What The Bible REALLY Says About Tithing