Love of money

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In Christian tradition, the love of money is condemned as a sin primarily based on texts such as Ecclesiastes 5:10 and 1 Timothy 6:10. The Christian condemnation relates to avarice and greed rather than money itself. The Christian texts (scriptures) are full of parables and use easy-to-understand subjects, such as money, to convey the actual message, there are further parallels in Solon and Aristotle,[1] and Massinissa—who ascribed love of money to Hannibal and the Carthaginians.[2] Avarice is one of the Seven deadly sins in the Christian classifications of vices (sins).


Berachya Hanakdan lists "love of money" as a secular love,[3] while Israel Salanter considers love of money for its own sake a non-universal inner force.[4] A tale about Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt (1748–1825), rabbi in Iasi, recounts that he, who normally scorned money, had the habit of looking kindly on money before giving it to the poor at Purim, since only in valuing the gift could the gift express love of God.[5] Berachot 54a teaches businessmen to "elevate their love of money to the same status as their love of God, which means that they should thereby love God enough to follow his commandment."[6]


Source text[edit]

The original Koine Greek reads, ῥίζα γὰρ πάντων τῶν κακῶν ἐστιν ἡ φιλαργυρία (Rhiza gar pantōn tōn kakōn estin hē philargyria) — "for the root of all evils is the love of money."[7]

The Greek word αργυρία(argyria) may, like its cognates in many European languages, be translated as silver or money.

A popular current text, the King James Version shows 1 Timothy 6:10 to be:

For the love of money is the root of all of evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

(The full verse is shown but Bold added being the subject of this page.)

Another popular text, the New International Version has "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil...."

During the Reformation, Martin Luther (1483–1546) translated the Latin Vulgate Bible into German, and 1 Timothy 6:10 "Die Habsucht ist die Wurzel allen Übels.;..."

Soon after Martin Luther's translation of the Bible to German, William Tyndale (1494–1536) did a similar translation into English as "For covetousness is the root of all evil;..."

The grammarian Daniel B. Wallace lists six alternative possible translations of the primary Greek text, 1 Timothy 6:10. There are two reasons for this: first, it is difficult to tell whether the noun "root" is intended to be indefinite, definite, or qualitative. Second, the Greek word for "all" may mean "all without exclusion" or "all without distinction".[8] But by reading more verses either side of 1 Timothy 6:10 a greater surety and confidence that the message is the coveting and striving of greed for something on earth is the sin the Jews and Christians define, where money could be exchanged with anything else on the earth eg power. The opposite of greed is charity, each of the Seven deadly sins has a counterpart in the Seven virtues.

Cultural history[edit]

Augustine defines love of money as a subcategory of avarice.[9] Luther referred to the love of money in strong accusations against the Catholic Church in his initial work of the Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences. He saw the selling of an indulgence by the church, ie paying money to the church to gain a reduction of penalty of sins in purgatory (a belief unique to the Catholic church) as being more commercial greed of the church than it was doing actual good for the Christian person. Later in some sermons he shone the spotlight on commercial money lenders which happened to be Jewish and one can argue have anti-semitic undertones.[10][11] However, more to the point is thesis 43 of the Ninety Five thesis "A Christian who gives to the poor or lends to those in need is doing better in God’s eyes than one who buys ‘forgiveness’ (buys an indulgence)"[12]., as in a Jew who changed from being a money lender with greed to a money lender with charity would be doing better in God's eyes than simply purchasing a piece of paper that said they will spend less time in purgatory from Luther's point of view.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gilles Dostaler Keynes and His Battles – Page 163 – 2007 "The condemnation of the love of money is part of a long tradition, having its origins in the Bible: 'He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity' (Ecclesiastes, 5.10). Solon, who had exonerated the debts of the Athenians, wrote in one of the poems composed to support his reforms: The man ... for whom Keynes had the greatest admiration,16 denounced chrematistics, the pursuit of wealth for its own sake."
  2. ^ Polybius The Histories of Polybius: Books 1–16, 18, 20–36, 38, And 39 2004 Page 298 "... wind, but the character of their compatriots—and more in detail by Massanissa, when he discoursed on the love of money displayed by Carthaginians in general and especially by Hannibal and by this Mago who was known as the Samnite.
  3. ^ Berachya Hanakdan, Ethical Treatises of Berachya, Son of Rabbi Natronai Ha Nakdan Hermann Gollancz 2003 Page 172 "The love of money, and amassing of wealth. 6. The love of many children. 7. The desire to colonise and build. 8. The love of long life, and completing die round of years. 9. The love 5 of power and authority, and seeking after greatness. 10."
  4. ^ Hillel Goldberg Israel Salanter, Text, Structure, Idea: The Ethics and Theology of ... 1982 – Page 161 "Rabbi Israel answers explicitly that the makeup of the majority of inner forces is beyond even human estimation.29 In that ... on-universal inner forces include love of money for the sake of expending it and love of money for its own sake and ..."
  5. ^ Simcha Raz, Dov Peretz Elkins Tales of the Righteous 2012 Page 150 "During the first year that Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apt became rabbi in Iasi, Romania, the people of the city sent ... my heart to appreciate money, and when my love of money rises sufficiently, only then can I distribute it to the poor."
  6. ^ Larry Kahaner Values, Prosperity, and the Talmud: Business Lessons from the Ancient Rabbis 2004 "Because money is so important to these people, they should follow the rabbis' advice and elevate their love of money to the same status as their love of God, which means that they should thereby love God enough to follow his commandment ...Berachot 54a"
  7. ^
  8. ^ Daniel B. Wallace Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics : An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament 1997 Page 265 "1 Tim 6:10 pi£ce JHXVTOW TWV KCCKWV eativ f| (juXapyupia This is a difficult text to translate, having the following possibilities: (1) "the love of money is a root of all evils," (2) "the love of money is the root of all evils," (3) "the love of money ... The reason for these six possibilities is that first, it is difficult to tell whether pi£a is indefinite (options 1 & 4), definite (2 & 5), or qualitative (3 & 6), and secondly, JtdtvTwv may mean "all without exclusion" (1, 2, & 3) or "all without distinction" (4, 5, ..."
  9. ^ St. Augustine: The Literal Meaning of Genesis – Livres 7 à 12 – Page 147 "In the stricter meaning of the word, avarice is what is more commonly called love of money. But St. Paul in using the word intended to go from the special to the general meaning and wished avarice to be understood in the broad sense of the."
  10. ^ David W. Jones Reforming the Morality of Usury: A Study of the Differences That ... 2004 – Page 53 "In this work Luther wrote: [The love of money] is so crass in the case of the pope and ecclesiastical estate that sticks and stones cry out to heaven. But this is nothing in comparison with what few people see, namely that the ecclesiastical estate ...
  11. ^ Eric W. Gritsch Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment 2012– Page 57 "In a sermon of 1519, Luther joined the discussion on the use and abuse of money-lending, linked to the practice of 'usury. ... German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate,' Luther associated commerce and the love of money ..."
  12. ^ "The 95 Theses – a modern translation – History Learning Site". History Learning Site. Retrieved 2017-07-12.