The then-current proverb, for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, is meant to give to the warning a kind of popular authority. Beyond this, however, the root metaphor contains an important truth. The hidden root is the source of life. If one is to rid a garden of weeds, the roots must come out. Similarly, Paul's hearers must not simply treat the problems caused by greed. They must tear out the root that produces the problems.
But how? We know from the story of the rich young man (Mk 10:17-31) how hard it is to loosen this particular root. Jesus' own assessment which follows is no easier: "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle" (10:24-25). But the same passage points to our only hope: "all things are possible with God" (10:27). The answer must lie in seeking God for the strength and determination to do what is impossible for us—to somehow take control of the lust for money and things, to somehow bring about the paradigm shift that will allow God and others to occupy the places of priority in life (Mt 6:33; see below on 6:17).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade to remove banner ads and unlock new features!
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!