1 Timothy 6:10

Thursday, 15 February 2018

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. 1 Timothy 6:10

The first clause here is widely translated. Several examples are:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. (NKJV)
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. (NLT)
For the love of money is the root of all evil: (KJV)
But the root of all these evils is the love of money. (Aramaic Bible)
For a root of all the evils is the love of money. (YLT)

The Greek reads, “Root indeed of all the evils.” There is no article in front of “root,” but Charles Ellicott says that by not including it, one is watering down the intent. He says that “the article disappears before the predicate, in accordance with the well-known rule respecting subject and predicate.” Vincent’s word studies disagrees saying this is incorrect because, “It is not the only root.” Vincent’s is correct; the KJV is incorrect. The love of money is not the root of all evil. Money did not cause Satan to fall, nor did money cause man to eat the forbidden fruit. Pride was the cause of those evils.

The Aramaic and the YLT attribute the “evils” to the preceding verses. This is both interesting and probably correct. In this, they follow the logic of Charles Ellicott concerning the inclusion of the article, but they do so based on what has been said. Further, the adjective “evil” is plural, and so “evils” is correct.

But most other translations shy away from even this specificity, and they say simply that money is a root of all sorts of evils. One thing is for sure, the KJV is wrong. Instead, loving money is either the root of the evils Paul has written about (a truth in itself), or it is a root of those evils and all sorts of other evils (also a truth). One way or another, the evil produced by the love of money, Paul says, is the end result by “which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness.”

It is not “the love of money” for which these have strayed, but for the money itself. This is not an error, but an explanation. It is the love of money which then takes the opportunity to attain the money that is desired. In this, these people “have strayed from the faith.” The idea is that we can only direct our eyes and affections to one thing at a time. If we are looking west, we are not looking east. This is what Paul is saying. Instead of looking to the glory of God, they are looking at earthly gain. They have left their first love and gone after a harlot. And this is a result of “their greediness.”

The heart attitude is misdirected, and they are not “hungry for the Lord.” Instead, they are “greedy for gold.” As a result, Paul then says that they have “pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The word peripeiró, translated as “pierced,” is found only here in the Bible. It is used when putting meat on a spit, and thus it signifies “to wound deeply.” The people Paul is speaking of are real people that he is describing to Timothy. However, his words describe any believer who has gone down this sad path.

In pursuing money, there is found to be a nagging conscience of the wrong which is being pursued, and of the judgment for that wrong which lies ahead as well. But this is not always the case. Some people (think of the perverse televangelists) have completely seared their consciences to the point where they no longer consider this. Therefore, what Paul is probably referring to is the future judgment which lies ahead of them. He is saying it as an accomplished fact. They think they have great gain, but in their judgment, there is to be only great loss.

Life application: If you want to help a greedy televangelist, don’t send him your money.

Lord God Almighty, and indeed you are almighty, why would we forsake a faithful commitment to You and pursue worldly wealth instead? As You are almighty, then You are the Source of all things. Money is just a thing, and it is transitory and corruptible. Help us to be wise in our pursuits in this life. May we only seek after that which is glorifying of You and worthy of rewards in Your presence. Those rewards will be eternal. Help us to think clearly, and then to act on that clear thinking. Amen.

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