October 1, 2014| 1

Love and Money (1 Timothy 6:10-12)

10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

This is perhaps the most quoted verse about money in the Bible. Sadly, it is also probably most often misquoted. The misquoted, “money is the root of all evil” implies that money itself is evil. But that is not what the text says.

The focus of this passage is love, not money. What do we love? What do we pursue with passion? If we love and desire money so much that it drives us more powerfully than godly desires drive us, we are in trouble. And that is Paul's point. In this letter full of fatherly advice to his protégé Timothy, Paul is not writing to expound on the evil nature of money, but to inspire in Timothy (and his followers) a passion for godly virtues and rightly-ordered love.

Paul uses the word φιλαργυρία (philagyria), which occurs only once in the Bible, to describe the problem of misdirected love. It means “money-loving” or “love of money.” He warns against the dangers of money-loving, and exhorts Timothy (and us) to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness,” and to “fight the good fight.”

Businesspeople get to live out this call every day. Every big or small decision offers an opportunity to “fight the good fight,” and our choices reveal the love of our hearts. The “good fight” is not mainly about monetary outcomes; it is about the desire to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.

So how do we cultivate this desire? How do we keep these virtues in the forefront of our decision-making behavior when monetary outcomes demand daily attention, and when money wins so many arguments in the marketplace and the halls of power?

The key to “fighting the good fight” is to become better lovers. To love what God loves. To love righteousness, mercy, and justice. To love the peace of mind that comes from honoring a contract or commitment. To love the customer. To love the employee who benefits from our steadfastness and gentleness. In short, we are to love God’s purpose for our business more than the money it makes.


© Bruce D. Baker, 2014

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  1. You have explained the most important verse about money in Bible very correctly. It’s amazing to see how many people take it in the wrong manner. I don’t think anyone can explain this better. Your last few lines on becoming better lovers is just amazing. I have already read it 4 times 🙂

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