Money Is Not The Roof Of All Evil

Title: Money Is Not The Roof Of All Evil

Bible Book: 1 Timothy 6 : 6-10

Author: Terry Trivette

Subject: Money; Stewardship



I do not have the research to prove it, but I am convinced that cars are the root of all car crashes. Every time I see a car crash, cars are involved. I am pretty sure that if we banned all cars, car crashes would no longer be a problem, which surely means that cars are the root of all car crashes. Someone might contend that a car cannot crash by itself, and that the driver of the car is really the root of the car crash. Despite that very valid point, I still say that based on all I have seen; cars are the root of all car crashes.

Now I recognize that my thesis is a flawed and silly one, but it is no less flawed than what many people believe to be the case with money. In fact, they will even misquote the Bible to support their feelings about money.

In I Timothy 6:10, we find what may be the most misquoted verse in the Bible. There are a lot people who genuinely believe that the Bible says, “Money is the root of all evil.” The truth is; the Bible does not say that at all. What the Bible really says is that, “… the love of money is the root of all evil…” It is the motive in your heart, not the money in your hand that will ultimately prove to be good or evil.

Money is an important subject, and that is why the Bible has so much to say about it. There are more than 2,000 references to wealth and property in the Word of God.[i] In all those references, nowhere does the Bible condemn money as a sin in and of itself. It is always a person’s attitude and application of money that God addresses.

Such is the case with the text before us in I Timothy. The Apostle Paul gives us some spiritually sound financial advice. It is important that we understand what the Bible really says about the issue of money. Notice what we can learn from this particular passage. First of all, we see here that:


These are financially difficult days. The economic crisis has brought about financial losses for those who had a lot to lose, as well as for those who had little to spare. No matter how much money you may have lost in recent days, it is nothing compared to the money you will lose at death.

A multi-millionaire passed away fairly suddenly, and someone asked, “How much did he leave?” The answer was, “Everything.”

Paul reminds us of this in I Timothy 6, and verse 7. Look at this verse with me, and notice the principle we are taught here. First of all, there is a reminder that:

A. You brought nothing when you entered this life

Look at verse 7. Paul says, “For we brought nothing into this world…” You have never been any poorer than the day you were born.

Job put it this way: “Naked came I out of my mother's womb (Job 1:21)…” You came into this world without even clothes on your back.

The little baby is born without anything other than its life. Everything he has must be given to him by somebody else. This ought to be an encouraging thought to those who are struggling financially right now. The old commentator, Matthew Henry, says of this verse:

“We brought nothing with us into this world, and yet God provided for us, care was taken of us, we have been fed all our lives long unto this day; and therefore, when we are reduced to [a poor state], we cannot be poorer than when we came into this world, and yet then we were provided for…”[ii]

Paul opens this section on money by reminding us that there was a time when we had absolutely nothing. We bring nothing of money or material possessions into this life.

Notice further though, as we look at verse 7; there is a reminder not only that you brought nothing when you entered this life, but we are also told that:

B. You leave everything when you exit this life

It is said that when Alexander the Great was dying, he gave orders that at his burial his hands should be exposed to the public, so that all men might see that even the mightiest of men could take nothing with him when he died.[iii]

Paul echoes that truth in verse 7 when he says, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

No matter how much you may amass in this life, all of it will stay in this life when you die. You can’t take any of it with you. Five seconds after he dies, Bill Gates will be poorer than a peasant. His wealth will remain in this world when he passes to the next. Try as we may to hold on to our “stuff”, and protect our assets, the day is coming for all of us when death will very easily loosen our grip on all our things.

In light of the fact that we are all going to lose the money we work so hard to earn in this life, all of sudden, the commands of Jesus begin to make so much sense.

In Matthew 6, 19 and 20, the Lord Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” Spiritual treasure, gained by our service to Christ, is the only treasure that we cannot lose by dying. Otherwise, there is a loss of money that is sure for every last one of us.

Notice the second truth we draw from this important passage on money. The Word of God teaches us not only that there is a loss of money that is sure for us, but also, we learn here that:


In verse 8, the Apostle Paul makes a statement that probably sounds quite odd and strange to the typical American chasing the American dream. He says, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Notice carefully that there is not very much between the words “having” and “content” in that verse. In other words, Paul contends that there is a very low level of things that ought to be enough to satisfy us. Unfortunately, Paul’s level for contentment, and that of most of us, is very different.

Think with me about what the Bible teaches ought to be a sufficient level of money and possessions for us as followers of Christ. Notice first of all, our text indicates that:

A. We should be content with the essentials of life

Again, Paul says in verse 8, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” The word translated “raiment”, can refer to clothes, but it can also be a more general term, referring to covering. You could read it this way, “As long as we have food, clothing, and shelter, we should be content with that.” Obviously, those are the bare necessities of life. Food, clothing, and shelter are the essential elements of survival. Without them, life itself is at risk.

What the Bible asserts in verse 8, is that if all you have in this life are those essentials; that should be enough to bring you contentment. Now be honest, if today you were reduced to having nothing more than your daily bread, a shirt on your back, and a roof over your head, would you really be content? What about all your toys? What about all the gadgets, and contraptions of convenience that have filled your life? Give up your cell phone, your computer, your TV, your furniture, your refrigerator, your washer and dryer, your car, your shower, and your electricity. Are you still content?

Warren Wiersbe tells the story of an old, simple, pious Quaker, who watched a new neighbor move in with his truckloads of toys and expensive furnishings that most people collect. Finally, the old Quaker went over to introduce himself, and said, “Neighbor, if ever thou dost need anything, come to see me, and I will tell thee how to get along without it.”[iv]

There are only a few things that we cannot get along without, and Paul says that if those are all we have, we have enough to be content. With that being said, consider with me not only the fact that we should be content with the essentials of life, but I would add that:

B. We should be conscious of the excess in life

I don’t want anyone to be confused. The Bible does not say that having anything more than food and raiment is a sin. It is not wrong to have more than the essentials of life. The point is that we don’t need more than the essentials to be content. For most of us, however, we live so far above the level of essentials that we have lost sight of just how much we truly have. The fact is that most of what we work so hard to attain and sustain is nothing more than excess above and beyond what we truly need.

Think with me for just a moment. What would happen if we spent our money only for things we needed? How much excess would there be? How much good could that excess do for the kingdom of Christ?

David Platt, a young pastor from Birmingham asks that very question in his book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Listen to what he dares suggest to Christians who live with so much above and beyond their basic needs. He says, “Why not begin operating under the idea that God has given us excess, not so we could have more, but so we could give more?” He goes on and says, “What if we actually set a cap on our lifestyles? What if we got to the point where we could draw a line, saying, ‘This is enough, and I am giving away everything I have or earn above this line’?”[v] Platt tells of how John Wesley did that very thing. By the end of his life, Wesley was making the equivalent of about $160,000 a year, but was living on about $20,000 a year, enabling him to give away as much as $140,000 a year.

The Word of God teaches us that there is a level of money that should be sufficient for the needs of our lives. If that is all we have, then we should be content with that. If we have more than that (and all of us do), then we must recognize that it is excess. It is blessings from the hand of God, by the grace of God above what we truly need.

I think we must also consider what God would have us do with that excess. That leads me to a third thought we draw from this text, and one that will probably have a great bearing on what we do with the excess in our lives.

Notice not only that there is a loss of money that is sure for us, and that there is a level of money that is sufficient for us, but this passage also teaches us that:


Now we come to what is at the heart of this passage. Paul is warning young Timothy, so that he might in turn warn the believers to whom he preached, about the sin that accompanies a love of money. Money itself is not sinful. Money can feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and send the gospel to the nations. What is sinful is when we long for and love money to the point that we don’t let it do the good it could possibly do.

Look at the warnings Paul gives in this text regarding the sin that accompanies a wrong attitude toward money. First of all, notice here the warning about:

A. The danger an appetite for money can bring

Look at verse 9. There we read, “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.”

Here Paul is not talking to those who are rich, but rather, as the ESV translates it, “…those who desire to be rich…” This is someone who has sat down, thought it out, and decided that their goal is to become rich. Money is all that matters, and dollars and cents is all that makes any sense to them.

Paul says that those who want to be rich, “…fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” Those are strong words that point clearly to the fact that the road to money and wealth is a dead end. It is a pitfall, not a paradise.

Samuel Goldwyn, the movie mogul, once tried to purchase the film rights to several of George Bernard Shaw’s plays. After much haggling and bargaining, Shaw finally declined to sell. He explained his reason to Goldwyn saying, “The trouble is, your interested only in art, and I’m interested only in money.”[vi]

The danger for those who are interested only in money is that they will be tempted to do whatever is necessary to get that money, including that which requires them to disobey God.

The warning here is not only about the danger an appetite for money brings, but it is also about:

B. The destruction an affection for money can bring

Look now at the oft-misquoted verse 10. Paul says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Look carefully at the phrase, “the love of money”. It is translated from one single, Greek word, and this is the only place it appears in the whole New Testament. The prefix of this word is phila, which is also found in our word “Philadelphia”, which refers to brotherly love. In other words, the kind of love that a man should have for his fellow men, his brothers and sisters, some have for money itself.

When a man loves money with the kind of love he is supposed to have for others, is there any question that his affections are out of place? Is it any wonder that this kind perverted love for money could even cause some to “err from the faith”?

If a man loves his money that much, is it any wonder that He would walk away from Jesus if the Lord were to ask Him to give up His money? If you, like the rich, young ruler in Matthew 19, love your money so much that you would not give it up for the cause of Christ, then your affection for money could prove to be your destruction.

As archaeologists began to unearth the remains of Pompeii, the Roman city that was destroyed in an instant by a volcanic eruption, they found many bodies of those who were frozen in time at the moment of their death. One such body was that of a young woman who was found near the gates of the city. She appeared to have been running from the city at the moment of her death. Her body was found in a position where though she was heading away from the city, she was reaching back for something at the same time. When they began to dig, they found her hand reaching for a bag of pearls.

I Timothy 6:10 reminds us that some people will be swallowed up in the judgment of God while they are desperately trying to cling to the money they so dearly love.

Money is by no means inherently evil. It has as much potential for good as it has for bad. Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money leads to more evil than we will probably ever know.

As Christians, we cannot afford to think about money the same way as the lost world around us. We must recognize that none of our money is going to go with us when we die. If all we have is the enough money to buy the basics, then we must thank God for it, and be content. Most important of all, we must love the God who gives us money, and not the money He gives. To do otherwise is plant the seed of all kinds of evil.

[i] MacArthur, John, Whose Money is it Anyway?, (Word Publishing, Nashville, 2000), p. 3

[ii] Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Vol. VI, (Fleming H. Revell, Old Tappan, NJ), p. 829

[iii] Spurgeon, C.H., The Biblical Illustrator: I Timothy, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI), p. 272

[iv] Wiersbe, Warren, Be Faithful, (Victor Books, Wheaton, IL, 1988), p. 79-80

[v] Platt, David, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, (Multnomah ebooks, 2010) kindle edition

[vi] George Bernard Shaw,, accessed 7/15/10,


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