Breaking Free: What The Bible Says About The Love Of Money

Who among us can say that they have never wished for more money at some time in their lives? Probably very few, if any, have never had occasion to think that some more money would help our situation. Whether these thoughts have been fleeting or a common theme in our lives, these notions are not uncommon. 

Let’s explore what the Bible says about the love of money. Knowing the meaning and the implications of this love that the Bible says is the root of all kinds of evil, can help us to evaluate where we stand in this area and take measures to prevent these harmful desires from infiltrating our thoughts and our daily existence in this present world. 

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Society tends to measure the importance of a person by the abundance of or the appearance of wealth and material things. However, the Bible is clear that this is not the way God sees His children, and certainly not what will count in the end. 

What The Bible Says About The Love Of Money 

No one needs great riches to be successful in life. Prospering in spiritual abundance, bearing fruit in good works, and spreading God’s love are non-financial ways of flourishing in a spiritual sense. Being rooted in God’s teachings and nourished by His Word leads to abundance and blessings in the believer’s life. In this sense, a person can understand that though they aren’t rich they are wealthy in a spiritual sense.

Money is seen by many as a symbol of self-sufficiency, and dependence on God is seen by many as a negative belief. Money is considered a status symbol and an indication of power. Many false teachers, who preach a prosperity gospel say that those who have wealth have received a blessing of the Lord, and if you aren’t financially prosperous, you are not receiving God’s blessings. 

Psalms 1:2-3 describes a person who delights and dwells on the Lord’s instruction being like a fruitful tree planted by streams of water, and who prospers in whatever he does.  God’s people can experience abundance and blessings simply from being guided by God’s principles, and growing in faith, love, wisdom, and righteousness. Not a single one of these areas is related to or requires finances.

In actuality, flourishing Biblically refers to the prosperity believers experience when their actions align with God’s will. We can’t buy this kind of prosperity, and the rewards won’t make us rich people. These blessings are gifted according to the will of God to those who are living out God’s purpose. 

The Bible is sometimes misquoted on the subject of money. Timothy says the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. We need to be sure we are not thinking that money itself is the problem. The evil comes when we love money – when we place it high on our priority list. When money becomes a god to us, and when we have forsaken God Himself and worship the gift rather than the giver. 

The following verses tell us exactly what God thinks of those people labeled as “lovers of money”,  how to recognize a money-lover, and how to know if you are one of them. 

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. (HCSB)

2 Timothy 3:2

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy. (ESV)

Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Hebrews 13:5

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or abandon you’. (HCSB)

Ecclesiastes 5:10 

The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile. 

Revelation 3:17

Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’  and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, (HCSB)

The Deceitfulness Of Riches

Greed or coveting is a form of idolatry, which violates the first and the last of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Thinking about anything more than God is idolatry. So then, if we consider money or possessions a higher priority than worshiping God, we are guilty of idolatry.

The tenth commandment states, “Thou shalt not covet”. This means we should not crave or yearn for (Biblically speaking, “to lust after”) something that belongs to someone else, such as their spouse, their money, their house, or anything else they have. Coveting can range from that simple yearning to taking action to get the wife, money, house, car, or any other such things. 

Pursuing wealth as a means of gain may look good from an outside viewpoint, but that gain may lead to further problems and heartache. The person whose first love is money is rarely as happy as he or she may seem to be. 

The love of money can trick people into thinking that they don’t need God and that instead, they need more money. Many people believe that more money will solve every problem and make life easier. Yet they often get stuck in deep waters because they put their trust in money, making it their greatest desire and highest priority. 

Our Heavenly Father knows what we need and assures us that He will provide for us. With true faith and trust in God, and a healthy view of money and wealth, we can rest easily and without worry, knowing that when God is our priority, we are also His. 

Proverbs 11:28

Anyone trusting in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.

Proverbs 15:27

Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live. (ESV)

Luke 12:15

He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” (HCSB)

Psalm 62:10

Put no trust in oppression, or false hope in robbery.  If wealth increases, pay no attention to it. (HCSB)

Proverbs 1:19

Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors. (ESV)

1 Timothy 6:9

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. (HCSB)

Matthew 13:22

Now the one sown among the thorns — this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (HCSB)

Mark 8:36

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (ESV)

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. (HCSB)

The Joy Of Contentment

The love of money or possessions is always an obstacle to contentment. I’ve certainly had seasons of wishing for something money could buy, all the while missing the blessings that I already had. 

When we covet, putting our trust in what money might do for us, we are imagining the security or happiness we might gain. But this is portraying a false sense of security, belittling the promises of God’s provision and care, and becoming an obstacle to true faith in the Lord. 

In this coveting, we are on the lookout for the things of this world, falling for the deceitfulness of riches that leeches out our faith to a mere trickle, rather than being thankful and content with the things of God. 

On the other hand, when we acknowledge God’s provision for us and learn to be content with what we have, our faith grows by seeing Him continue to provide for every need we have. Read more about how to become content in 5 Secrets To Living A Life Of Contentment.

Hebrews 13:5

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NKJV)

1 Timothy 6:6-8

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. (HCSB)

Philippians 4:19

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Matthew 6:24-25

 No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? (NLT)

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  (HCSB)

Proverbs 22:1

A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold. (HCSB)

Philippians 4:6

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  (HCSB)

Sharing Wealth With A Giving Spirit

As stated above, having a lot of money is not the issue, but having a love (or a craving or lust) for money. It is certainly not wrong to make money by being a productive member of society and saving for what you will need is the responsible thing to do. What is wrong is to be obsessed with money, with making more money, or with the pride we get from others knowing our prosperity.  

So, we see that the money itself is not the problem. The problem, and what the Bible calls the root of all evil,  is what money or riches can do to our hearts. If we want to prevent the heart problem — the pride of a rich person, we should take our focus away from the source of our pride and instead eagerly look forward to becoming heirs of the Kingdom of God. 

How do we do this? The best way is by giving. Give to your church, give to trusted missions or causes, not willy-nilly, but with consideration of what will be done with the money to help people, and most of all how it will be used to spread the gospel. 

Allow me to make a comparison. As a former professional organizer, I’ve seen my share of hoarding situations. One of the saddest things about hoarding is that there are perfectly good things in those piles that could be used by someone. And yet the hoarder is unable to bring themselves to the point of parting with those things. 

When we store up wealth simply for the pleasure and pride of seeing it exponentially increase, “just in case I might need it later” (often the motivation of a hoarder), we are preventing good money from being used to further God’s Kingdom by investing it in our eternity and that of others who want to serve Jesus Christ, and on, and on. 

If we think about it, we should know that just as we exist because God placed us here, every single thing we have belongs to our Heavenly Father and has been provided for us by Him. 

He has told us in Matthew 19:19 and Matthew 22:39 to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. Take a moment to think about this loving of our neighbors, and what it might look like to love someone just like you love yourself.  I loved the picture in my mind when I read Luke 6:38, telling of the blessings that will come when we carry out this command to the fullest. 

Psalm 50:10-12

For every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is Mine. (HCSB)

Acts 20:35

In every way I’ve shown you that by laboring like this, it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (HCSB)

1 John 3:17

If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need — how can God’s love reside in him?  (HCSB)

Proverbs 3:9-10

Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine. (HCSB)

Matthew 6:1-4

Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (NLT)

Matthew 6:19-20

Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. it’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (MSG)

These verses from the Bible teach us that it is not how much money we have but how we allow it to work on our hearts, that causes us problems. God loves a cheerful giver, 

Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart – not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflows to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. As it is written: He scattered; He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever. Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to god through us. 

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Breaking free from the love of money requires us to understand the way God thinks about it. As we study and reflect on the passage from 2 Corinthians above, it’s refreshing to know that our God does not hide His will from us. He makes it known clearly in the Holy Bible that He has given us to study and learn from. 

Here are a few benefits of shifting our focus from this love of money to a Biblical view of money and wealth:

  • We are liberated from a materialistic viewpoint to value the real blessings God has given us 
  • A door is opened for genuine contentment to grow, along with a deeper appreciation of what truly matters in life. 
  • We can focus on placing relationships and Biblical values over financial goals. 
  • The hold that money and material worth have on us can be released to allow us into a deeper relationship with the true Lord of our lives.
  • We can start exploring our true God-given purpose rather than trying to value ourselves according to possessions. 
  • Life can be richer than we ever imagined when the grip and worry of finances are released and given to God, who holds us in the palm of His hand. 
  • There will be more time to enjoy life as it happens when we are no longer obsessed with pride, and what people think of our wealth or lack of it. 

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