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Is Money The Root Of All Evil?
By Keith Rawlinson
Volunteer Budget Counselor

I have heard it over and over since childhood "Money is the root of all evil."  I have heard it repeated countless times by adults discussing money or crime.  I have heard it in movies and on television.  Does the Bible really teach that money is the root of all evil?  Does the Bible even teach that money itself is evil?  Let's start by looking at the actual Bible verse:

For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.  1 Timothy 6:10

First of all, this verse isn't even talking about money; it's actually talking about the love of money.  Plus, instead of saying that money is the root of all evil, the verse actually says that the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.

There is plenty of evil in the world that has nothing to do with money.  People are murdered for no apparent reason and without financial gain, married people cheat on their spouses without financial gain, and foul language is used without financial gain.  There are many other examples of sins not involving money, but even just these three demonstrate that money is not the root of all evil.  Some evil happens that does not involve money at all.  Therefore, the expression "money is the root of all evil," can't be true.  Of course, there is all sorts of evil in the world that is motivated by money, but not all evil is motivated by money.

If money were evil, then God would not have spent over 2,350 verses of the Bible teaching us how to use money properly.  As a financial counselor, every once in a while I come across someone who tries to convince me that money, or wealth, actually is evil.  Such people usually use the following verse:

...I tell you, it is easier for a for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God  Matthew 19:24

Look at this verse carefully--it doesn't say that it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, it says that it is difficult.  I agree wholeheartedly.  It is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God for reasons I will give in a moment, but it is still possible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.  Does it not make sense that if God thought money is evil, He would advise His followers to avoid it completely?  Is there any other sin in the Bible that God says is all right in small amounts?  No!

There are many places in the Bible where God actually blessed people by giving them wealth.  In fact, there are many places in the Bible where money was used to do God's work directly.  Building temples wasn't cheap.  Those funds had to be raised and the money collected.  Think of Noah.  Most people never think about it, but it could not have been cheap to build a boat as large and well-appointed as was the ark.  Noah most likely spent quite a bit of his own wealth over the years to complete the ark.  So, God does not think that money is evil.

How then do money and evil overlap?

The reason God warns that the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil is because money can be a very powerful motivator and therefore a very powerful force in people's lives.  Therein lies the actual warning about money--anyone who loves it too much is in spiritual danger.  Money has the ability to provide many of the things for which we would normally depend upon God; though, granted, not the important things.  And it is all too easy to forget that it is God who brings money into our lives in the first place.  Money, therefore, has the power to take us farther away from God.  Remember that Jesus warned us that we cannot serve two masters.  If we love money, then it is very difficult for us to love God.  A true, deep, spiritual pursuit of God takes a lot of time and a lot of effort.  Sadly, the pursuit of money does also.  Since there is only a limited amount of time and motivation available to us, someone who truly loves money is far too likely to seek it instead of seeking a closer relationship with God.  Part of the reason is that money offers very immediate reward, and very tangible power in society and in our lives.  When it comes to power and security, money can, and does, compete directly with God.  If, however, we keep money in perspective and don't "love" it, then God is still the source of our security and power and money is just a tool provided by God.

Honestly, that is part of the reason God has instructed us to tithe and to help those in legitimate need.  Being willing to give away a portion of our money demonstrates that we use it instead of love it, and helps to keep money in perspective.  That perspective is very important since, if we let money become too important to us, Satan can use it as a weapon against us.  That's right, money can be a tool for our use, or a weapon for our destruction.  We cannot afford to allow the love of money to weaken our connection with God, or to become an effective weapon for Satan.  

Just keep this in mind...

It is all right to have money.  It is all right to be wealthy or even rich.  It is all right to want money and to strive for it.  But, only if we keep money in proper perspective by understanding its use and dangers, and by never allowing ourselves to get to the point of loving money.  Further, we must always be willing to accept the possibility that God might not want us personally to be wealthy.  We must acknowledge that our money comes from God in the first place, and always use our money God's way never letting it come between us and our relationship with Him.  

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