Sunday, April 19, 2009

for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil

A popular and important but misremembered verses....

It headlined my Sunday School lesson this morning in I Timothy 6:9-21.

Before I get there, though, a few other nuggets...

First, note that the context of I Tim 6:9-10 is the problems of I Tim 6:3-6 and the contrast of I Tim 6:7-8.

Second, note that the direct application is to "people who want to get rich" (6:9) and "some people eager for money"-- in other words,
not the wealthy per se, but people who eagerly desire much more (however much they might have by any objective standard).

This is a vital point-- in terms of a biblical understanding of wealth.
It's not nearly so much about what you have as:
1.) how you get it (e.g., work vs. theft vs. receiving stolen goods vs. receiving charity);
2.) your attitude in trying to obtain it (here); and
3.) how you use it (stewardship; more later).

I Tim 6:10 is misquoted all the time.

It's not "money is the root", but "the love of money"...
It's not "the root", but "a root"...
It's not a root of evil, but a root of all kinds of evil...

I Tim 6:11-12 has some wonderful phraseology.

-6:11b starts with the negative: "flee"

-6:11c starts into the positive commands: "pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness"

-6:11c's list includes, somewhat oddly, endurance and gentleness. Endurance and gentleness are modifying marks of maturity-- taking the first four and extending them into difficult circumstances. To be more specific, endurance is patience with difficult circumstances and gentleness is patience with difficult people.

-6:12 says to "fight the good fight of the faith"-- as opposed to fighting a not-so-good fight or one that is not "of the faith". So, we have 11's flight and 12's fight. Note also that fight seems like an odd combo, on the surface, with 11's "gentleness".

I Tim 6:17-19 follows up commands to the rich (by some objective measure-- i.e., virtually everybody)-- to be "rich in good deeds".

Great stuff!


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