My blog is where I post things I have learned through my own personal Bible study. Join me in digging deep into the Word to find the gold hidden inside. And feel free to email me if you think there's a theological error in any of my posts or if there's a topic you want me to cover in my next post.
Riches: Good or Bad?
3 years ago.

There are so many conflicting views on the Bible's instructions regarding wealth. Some say that wealth is acceptable, while others say that money is the root of all evil, and therefore is bad. What does the Bible actually say concerning wealth?

Matthew 6:19-21 says

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Ok, now let's make note of what we see in the passage:

  • We are not to hoard up earthly treasure
  • Earthly riches can be destroyed and stolen
  • We are to lay up treasure in heaven
  • Treasures in heaven cannot be destroyed or stolen
  • What we treasure is where our heart is

Summary: Miserly hoarding earthly wealth is of no eternal value because it can be destroyed. Building up treasure in heaven has eternal value because it cannot be destroyed.

Why hoard up earthly riches for our own selfish use? We can't take it with us to heaven. Only riches we build up in heaven will last. 1 Timothy 6:10 says

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.

Once again, let us take notes:

  • The love of money is the root of all evil
  • Greed has caused some to stray from the faith.
  • Desire for wealth has caused some people to forsake Christ
  • The evil resulting from their avarice pierces them with many sorrows

To love money that much truly is the root of all evil. A simple search on the internet will reveal hundreds of instances where desire for rices has caused people to commit acts of crime. But notice how the verse says that the love of money is the root of all evil, not that money itself is the root of evil.

An example of what happens when someone hoards up treasures on earth can be found in Mark 10:17-27, which reads,

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'" And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."

Quite a lengthy passage to digest, right? This time, why don't you write the notes yourself on a piece of paper before you read on?

Have you written out your notes on Mark 10:17-27? Compare them with the ones I have written down:

  • A rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to be saved
  • Jesus quotes him several of the 10 Commandments
  • The rich young man says he has kept them since his youth
  • Jesus tells him to sell everything and give it to the poor
  • The rich young man went away sorrowful
  • Jesus says it is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God
  • Jesus' disciples are astonished, so He repeated Himself
  • It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God
  • Astonished, His disciples asked Him who then can be saved
  • Jesus says that with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible

Now that we have finished our note-taking, let us ask ourselves a question: Why did Jesus tell the rich young man to sell everything, since salvation is only by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)?
Jesus knew the heart of the young man. He knew that he loved his money. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." The young man loved his money more than he loved God. He did not love God with all his heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). Indeed it is harder for a person trusting in wealth to enter heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. But with God all things are possible. By believing in Jesus for salvation, and not in wealth, can we enter into His kingdom.

Instead of hoarding up wealth for our own selfish desires, 1 Timothy 6:17-18 gives us a worthwhile usage for our extra cash:

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.

Thus concludes my study on Riches: Good or Bad?. My belief is that wealth is not evil. Being rich is acceptable because it makes us able to do more good. But don't just take my word for it; be like the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11 and study it for yourself. This post only "scratches the surface" on the subject, so there's plenty more you can study. Have fun studying, and God bless.