The phrase comes from the Bible. First Timothy 6:10 tells us, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Paul in the preceding verses is addressing people who think that godliness is a way to get rich, who desire to be rich through their religion. For these people, the love of money will be the root of all sorts of evil – of ignoring their spouses, of being workaholics and hurting their health in the process, of spurning the care and teaching of their children, of making foolish financial choices and risking their family finances, and so on. These are all different kinds of evils, and the man’s love of money is the root cause of them all.
In other cases, some people will love the admiration of others, or strongly desire a particular job or thing. They can make foolish choices as a result, and for them, their desire for admiration or a job will be the root of all kinds of evil.
I believe that Paul meant the statement for a specific and narrow application, not a universal one. Nevertheless, people are tempted to do what’s wrong in order to get more money. “Follow the money,” we are told. When reporters follow the money trail, they often write juicy stories of bribes and kickbacks among the rich and powerful, politicians and businessmen, who already have more than enough to enjoy life. Money has been the downfall of many in high places down through the centuries, and will continue to be.
What Do You Think?
a. Does all evil have a single root? If so, what is it?
b. If the Bible claims that God will remove all evil from the world, exactly what will he remove to make sure of evil’s elimination?
c. We are told that “everyone has their price.” Would you be tempted to burgle a house or commit other crimes if you were offered a million dollars to do it? If you were about to lose your house and job, would you reconsider? How much would you accept to rob the government at tax time?
d. If a nosy reporter followed the money in your case, would the trail lead to underhanded deals, or aboveboard helpfulness?