Paul sets out for his readers the dangers of the love of money in both general and specific terms. First, the pursuit of wealth leads down a road filled with every variety of pitfall. The words temptation and trap may well be used with Satan's manipulations in mind (3:7), and the Enemy is certainly capable of using the hope of wealth to blur the moral distinctions of believers. Foolish and harmful desires not only are for wealth itself but are probably also immoral cravings unleashed by access to wealth. Wealth leads people into circles where the rules are different, the peer pressure is tremendous, and the values are totally distorted. What, for the believer, might have been unthinkable from the outside becomes quite natural once on the inside. And the end of this is utter devastation, which Paul emphasizes with a verb that means to plunge (as if to drown) and two nouns that combine to describe complete destruction. Let the reader beware, for there are no such warning signs along the path to riches.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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