1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) For the love of money is the root of all evil.—Some would water down this strong expression by translating the Greek words by “a root of all evil,” instead of “the root,” making this alteration on the ground of the article not being prefixed to the Greek word rendered “root.” This change, however, grammatically is unnecessary, as the article disappears before the predicate, in accordance with the well-known rule respecting subject and predicate.

St. Paul had just written (1Timothy 6:9) of men being plunged into destruction and perdition—the awful consequence of yielding to those lusts into which the fatal love of riches had guided them; he now sums up the teaching contained in these words by pithily remarking. “Yes, for the love of money is the root of all evil,” meaning thereby, not that every evil necessarily must come from “love of money,” but that there is no conceivable evil which can happen to the sons and daughters of men which may not spring from covetousness—a love of gold and wealth.

Which while some coveted after.—There is a slight irregularity in the image here, but the sense of the expression is perfectly clear. It is, of course, not the “love of money,” strictly speaking, which “some have coveted after,” but the money itself. The thought in the writer’s mind probably was—The man coveting gold longs for opportunities in which his covetousness (love of money) may find a field for exercise. Such inaccuracies in language are not uncommon in St. Paul’s writings, as, for instance, Romans 8:24, where he writes of “hope that is seen.”

They have erred from the faith.—Better rendered, they have wandered away from the faith. This vivid picture of some who had, for sake of a little gold, given up their first love—their faith—was evidently drawn by St. Paul from life. There were some in that well-known congregation at Ephesus, once faithful, now wanderers from the flock, over whom St. Paul mourned.

And pierced themselves through with many sorrows.—The language and the thoughts of Psalm 16:4 were in St. Paul’s mind when he wrote these words—“Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another (god).” The “many sorrows” here are, no doubt, the “gnawings of conscience,” which must ever and anon harass and perplex the man or woman who, for covetousness’ sake, has deserted the old paths, and has wandered away from the old loved communion of Christ.

The imagery used in this tenth verse seems to be that of a man who wanders from the straight, direct path of life, to gather some poisonous, fair-seeming root growing at a distance from the right road on which he was travelling. He wanders away and plucks it; and now that he has it in his hands he finds himself pierced and wounded with its unsuspected thorns.

6:6-10 Those that make a trade of Christianity to serve their turn for this world, will be disappointed; but those who mind it as their calling, will find it has the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. He that is godly, is sure to be happy in another world; and if contented with his condition in this world, he has enough; and all truly godly people are content. When brought into the greatest straits, we cannot be poorer than when we came into this world; a shroud, a coffin, and a grave, are all that the richest man in the world can have from all his wealth. If nature should be content with a little, grace should be content with less. The necessaries of life bound a true Christian's desires, and with these he will endeavour to be content. We see here the evil of covetousness. It is not said, they that are rich, but they will be rich; who place their happiness in wealth, and are eager and determined in the pursuit. Those that are such, give to Satan the opportunity of tempting them, leading them to use dishonest means, and other bad practices, to add to their gains. Also, leading into so many employments, and such a hurry of business, as leave no time or inclination for spiritual religion; leading to connexions that draw into sin and folly. What sins will not men be drawn into by the love of money! People may have money, and yet not love it; but if they love it, this will push them on to all evil. Every sort of wickedness and vice, in one way or another, grows from the love of money. We cannot look around without perceiving many proofs of this, especially in a day of outward prosperity, great expenses, and loose profession.For the love of money is the root of all evil - That is, of all kinds of evil. This is evidently not to be understood as literally true, for there are evils which cannot, be traced to the love of money - the evils growing out of ambition, and intemperance, and debasing lusts, and of the hatred of God and of goodness. The expression here is evidently a popular saying - "all sorts of evils grow out of the love of money." Similar expressions often occur in the classic writers; see Wetstein, in loc, and numerous examples quoted by Priceaus. Of the truth of this, no one can doubt. No small part of the crimes of the world can be traced to the love of gold. But it deserves to be remarked here, that the apostle does not say that "money is the root of all evil," or that it is an evil at all. It is the "love" of it which is the source of evil.

Which while some coveted after - That is, some who were professing Christians. The apostle is doubtless referring to persons whose history was known to Timothy, and warning him, and teaching him to warn others, by their example.

They have erred from the faith - Margin, "been seduced." The Greek is, they have been led astray from; that is, they have been so deceived as to depart from the faith. The notion of deception or delusion is in the word, and the sense is, that, deceived by the promises held out by the prospect of wealth, they have apostatized from the faith. It is not implied of necessity that they were ever real Christians. They have been led off from truth and duty, and from all the hopes and joys which religion would have imparted.

And pierced themselves through with many sorrows - With such sorrows as remorse, and painful reflections on their folly, and the apprehension of future wrath. Too late they see that they have thrown away the hopes of religion for that which is at best unworthy the pursuit of an immortal mind; which leads them on to a life of wickedness; which fails of imparting what it promised when its pursuit is successful, and which, in the great majority of instances, disappoints its votaries in respect to its attainment. The word rendered "pierced themselves through" - περιέπειραν periepeiran - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and is a word whose force and emphasis cannot be well expressed in a translation. It is from πείρω peirō, and is made more emphatic by the addition of the preposition περι peri. The word πείρω peirō, means, properly, "to pierce through from one end to another," and is applied to meat that is "pierced through" by the spit when it is to be roasted (Passow); then it means to pierce through and through. The addition of the preposition περι peri to the word, conveys the idea of doing this "all round;" of piercing everywhere. It was not a single thrust which was made, but they are gashed all round with penetrating wounds. Such is the effect on those who cast off religion for the sake of gold. None can avoid these consequences who do this. Every man is in the hands of a holy and just God, and sooner or later he must feel the effects of his sin and folly.

10. the love of money—not the money itself, but the love of it—the wishing to be rich (1Ti 6:9)—"is a root (Ellicott and Middleton: not as English Version, 'the root') of all evils." (So the Greek plural). The wealthiest may be rich not in a bad sense; the poorest may covet to be so (Ps 62:10). Love of money is not the sole root of evils, but it is a leading "root of bitterness" (Heb 12:15), for "it destroys faith, the root of all that is good" [Bengel]; its offshoots are "temptation, a snare, lusts, destruction, perdition."

coveted after—lusted after.

erred from—literally, "have been made to err from the faith" (1Ti 1:19; 4:1).

pierced—(Lu 2:35).

with … sorrows—"pains": "thorns" of the parable (Mt 13:22) which choke the word of "faith." "The prosperity of fools destroys them" (Pr 1:32). Bengel and Wiesinger make them the gnawings of conscience, producing remorse for wealth badly acquired; the harbingers of the future "perdition" (1Ti 6:9).

For the love of money is the root of all evil; money itself is not evil, but the immoderate love of it, whether discerned in an over eager desire after it, or an excessive delight in it, is the cause of much evil, both of sin and punishment.

Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith; which money while some too greedily thirsted after, (for though the article be feminine and cannot grammatically agree with arguoion, which is neuter, yet that doth agree with it as to the sense, being understood in filorguria, with which the subjunctive article grammatically agreeth),

they have erred, or been seduced, from the faith, that is, the doctrine of the gospel, or profession of Christianity.

And pierced themselves through with many sorrows; and exposed themselves to a great many sorrows, which have pierccd their very souls, such as cares, troubles for the loss of their estates, &c. For the love of money is the root of all evil,.... Of all the evils before mentioned, and of others; not money itself, as silver and gold, which are God's creatures, and his gifts, and may be used to, and answer many good purposes; but the love of it, and not any love of it; for there may be a lawful love of it, and desire after it, so far as it is requisite to the necessaries of life, to answer the calls of Providence, the duties we owe to God and men, to serve the interest of Christ, and do good to fellow creatures and fellow Christians: but it is an immoderate insatiable desire after it, and an inordinate love of it, which is here meant, such as is properly idolatry: as when a man loves it, not only besides, but above God; serves it as if it was God, and places his trust and confidence in it, independent of God, and his providence; such love of it is the source and spring of all iniquity, as above; it was the sin of Judas, and the root of all his iniquity. The phrase is Jewish. So idolatry is said to be , "the root of all iniquities" (q); see Hebrews 12:15

which while some coveted after; in a greedy and insatiable way:

they have erred from the faith; the doctrine of faith. Observing that the professors of it are generally poor, they have declined that path, and have not so much as heard the word; and if they have heard and embraced it, yet when persecution arises because of it, they drop their profession of it; or else their minds are so filled with worldly cares, and deceitful riches, that the word is choked, and becomes unprofitable, and by and by, Demas like, they forsake it, having loved this present world.

And pierced themselves through with many sorrows; riches are therefore fitly compared to thorns, which give great trouble and uneasiness, both in getting and keeping them; and oftentimes the reflection upon the unlawful ways and means made use of to obtain them, gives very pungent pain and distress; see Job 20:15. The apostle seem to allude to the Hebrew word used for a covetous man, which signifies one that pierces, cuts, and wounds, as such an one does both himself and others.

(q) R. David Kimchi in Isaiah 27.9.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and {d} pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

(d) Sorrow and grief do as it were pierce through the mind of man, and are the harvest and true fruits of covetousness.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 6:10 gives a reason for the thought in 1 Timothy 6:9.

ῥίζα γὰρ πάντων τῶν κακῶν ἐστὶν ἡ φιλαργυρία] It is to be observed that Paul does not mean to say, whence all κακά whatever proceed, but what proceeds from φιλαργυρία. Hence there is no article with ῥίζα. Hence, too, de Wette’s correcting remark, that ambition, too, may entirely destroy man, does not affect the author of the epistle.

By τὰ κακά may be understood both physical and moral evils (wickedness); here the latter idea is uppermost (otherwise in Polycarp, Ephesians 4 : ἀρχὴ πάντων χαλεπῶν φιλαργυρία). Φιλαργυρία only here in the N. T. (Jeremiah 8:10, LXX.).

ἧς τινὲς ὀρεγόμενοι] ὀρέγεσθαι does not mean deditum esse, but it is to be acknowledged that the manner of connection is not exact, since φιλαργυρία, as de Wette rightly says, is itself an ὄρεξις. Hofmann’s interpretation is artificial. He makes ὀρέγεσθαι denote here “the grasping of a man after something out of his way,” and “the thing after which he reaches sideways is said to be the plant which afterwards proves to be to him a root of all evils,” so that ἧς does not refer to φιλαργυρία, but to ῥίζα πάντων τῶν κακῶν.

ἀπεπλανήθησαν ἀπὸ τῆς πίστεως] The reason of this is the inner connection between faith and blessedness. The denial of the one necessarily implies the denial of the other. The aorist passive has a neuter sense; Luther rightly: “have gone astray from the faith.” The compound only here and at Mark 13:22; the ἀπό added serves to intensify the meaning.

καὶ ἑαυτοὺς περιέπειραν ὀδύναις πολλαῖς] περιπείρειν ἅπ. λεγ. “pierce through,” not “sting all round, wound in every part” (Matthies). The ὄδυναι πολλαί, here regarded as a sword with which they have pierced themselves through, are not the outward pains which they have drawn on themselves by avarice, but the stings of conscience (“the precursors of the future ἀπώλεια,” Wiesinger) which they have prepared for themselves by apostasy from the faith. To this his own experience the apostle here directs attention, that he may thereby present more vividly the destructiveness of the φιλαργυρία.1 Timothy 6:10. ῥίζα, κ.τ.λ.: The root of all evils. The R.V., a root of all kinds of evil is not satisfactory. The position of ῥίζα in the sentence shows that it is emphatic. Field (in loc.) cites similar examples of the absence of the article collected by Wetstein from Athenæus, vii. p. 280 A (ἀρχὴ καὶ ῥίζα παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ ἡ τῆς γαστρὸς ἡδονή), and Diog. Lært. vi. 50; and adds five others from his own observation. It is, besides, unreasonable in the highest degree to expect that on the ground of his inspiration, St. Paul’s ethical statements in a letter should be expressed with the precision of a text book. When one is dealing with a degrading vice of any kind, the interests of virtue are not served by qualified assertions.

φιλαργυρία: avaritia ([299]) rather than cupiditas ([300], [301], Vulg.). The use of this word supports the exposition given above of 1 Timothy 6:9. Love of money, meanness and covert dishonesty where money is concerned, is the basest species of the genus πλεονεξία.

[299] Cod. Frisingensis

[300] The Latin text of Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[301] Speculum

ἡς: In sense the relative refers to ἀργύριον, understood out of φιλαργυρία, with which it agrees in grammar. The meaning is clear enough; but the expression of it is inaccurate. This occurs when a man’s power of grammatical expression cannot keep pace with his thought. Alf. cites as parallels, Romans 8:24, ἐλπὶς βλεπομένη, and Acts 24:15, ἐλπὶδαἣν καὶ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι προσδέχονται.

τινες: See note on ch. 1 Timothy 1:3.

ὀρεγόμενοι: reaching after (R.V.) expresses the most defensible aspect of coveting (A.V.).

ἀπεπλανήθησαν: peregrinati sunt ([302]) erraverunt ([303], Vulg.). The faith is a very practical matter. Have been led astray (R.V.) continues the description of the man who allows himself to be the passive subject of temptation. Chrys. illustrates the use of this word here from an absent-minded man’s passing his destination without knowing it.

[302] Cod. Frisingensis

[303] The Latin text of Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

περιέπειραν: inseruerunt se. The force of περί in this compound is intensive, as in περιάπτω, περικαλύπτω, περικρατής, περικρύπτω, περίλυπος.

ὀδύναις πολλαῖς: There is a touch of pity in this clause, so poignantly descriptive of a worldling’s disillusionment.10. the love of money] One word in the original, occurring only here and belonging to the later Greek; the adjective in Luke 16:14, ‘the Pharisees, who were covetous,’ R.V. ‘lovers of money,’ and so 2 Timothy 3:2. ‘It differs from the ordinary word for covetousness (e.g. Colossians 3:5) (which does not occur in these Epistles) in denoting rather avarice, a love of money already gained, than an active grasping after more.’ Trench’s N. T. Synonyms, § 24.

the root of all evil] It has been much questioned whether we are to translate this admitted predicate ‘a root’ or ‘the root.’ On the general grammatical question, such passages as 1 Corinthians 11:3, ‘the head of the woman is (the) man,’ make ‘the root,’ quite correct; if with R.V. we render ‘a root,’ it lays a stress on there being other roots, which is beside the point: the stress surely is on the ‘all,’ interpreted however in that rhetorical sense, if it may be so called, which is common in N. T. as elsewhere (cf. 1 Timothy 6:17), and is well given in R.V. We may translate the root of all kinds of evil. For this use of the plural we may compare ‘supplies of food,’ 1 Timothy 6:8.

which while some coveted after] ‘Which (love-of-money) some reaching after,’ R.V. keeping to the root-notion of the participle. The verb (and its noun) occur four times in N. T. and in each place the Revisers give a different version, 1 Timothy 3:1 and Hebrews 11:16 in a good sense; here and Romans 1:27 in a bad sense. ‘Desire,’ a colourless word, would fit everywhere, but is weak. Bp Wordsworth ingeniously explains the seemingly incongruous desire for the love-of-money thus: ‘riches were a proof of divine approbation: love of wealth was a love of God’s favour: thus they sanctified avarice.’ But the relative is only formally, logically, in agreement with the abstract. ‘love-of-money:’ all readers of A.V. or R.V. would refer the ‘which’ to the real antecedent in sense, ‘money,’ and would be virtually right.

have erred from the faith] R.V. is justified in rendering have been led astray. The Greek aorist ‘merely represents the action of having occurred, as filling a point of past time’ (Winer, iii., xl. 45, a). When it stands by itself, as here, with no qualifying word, this force is represented by the English perfect, as giving just in our idiom the past verbal idea merely, with no further stress or point, cf. Ellicott on 1 Thessalonians 2:16. The word occurs in N.T. again only in Mark 13:32, ‘that they may lead astray, if possible, the elect.’ ‘The faith’ as in 1 Timothy 1:19, where see note.

pierced themselves through] Lat. transfigo; only here in N.T.1 Timothy 6:10. Πάντων τῶν κακῶν, of all evils) For it destroys faith, the root of all that is good: at first sight, the love of money seems to take away the nutriment or food that supports many crimes, as luxury, wantonness, etc.; but it is in reality the root of all evils. All evils in 1 Timothy 6:9 are comprehended under temptation, a snare, lusts, destruction, perdition; although the article τῶν does not precisely relate to those evils, but is added to πάντων, according to custom, for the purpose of amplifying or heightening the effect, without its relative power.—φιλαργυρία, the love of money) When money is loved for itself, it is not used for procuring “food and raiment.”—ἧς) φιλαργυρίας, viz. ἀργύρου.—τινὲς) some: the Ephesians, ch. 1 Timothy 5:15.—ὀρεγόμενοι, having coveted) ch. 1 Timothy 3:1, note [having grasped at].—ὀδύναις πολλαῖς, with many sorrows) of the conscience, producing remorse for property badly acquired; also of the mind, urging to the laying up of more. The remedy of these sorrows is faith.Verse 10. - A root for the root, A.V.; all kinds of for all, A.V.; some reaching after for while some coveted after, A.V.; have been led astray for they have erred, A.V.; have pierced for pierced, A.V. Love of money (φιλαργυρία); only here in the New Testament, but found in the LXX. and in classical Greek. The substantive φιλάργυρος is found in Luke 16:14 and 2 Timothy 3:2. A root. The root is better English. Moreover, the following πάντων τῶν κακῶν (not πόλλων κακῶν) necessitates the giving a definite sense to ῤίζα, though it has not the article; and Alford shows dearly that a word like ῤίζα, especially when placed as here in an emphatic position, does not require it (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:3, where in the second and third clause κεφαλή, being in the emphatic place, has not the article). Alford also quotes a striking passage from Diog. Laert., in which he mentions a saying of the philosopher Diogenes that "the love of money ( φιλαργυρία) is the metropolis, or home, πάντων τῶν κακῶν." Reaching after (ὀρεγόμενοι). It has been justly remarked that the phrase is slightly inaccurate. What some reach after is not "the love of money," but the money itself. To avoid this, Hofmann (quoted by Luther) makes ῤίζα the antecedent to η΅ς, and the metaphor to be of a person turning out of his path to grasp a plant which turns out to he not desirable, but a root of bitterness. This is ingenious, but hardly to be accepted as the true interpretation. Pierced themselves through (περιέπειραν); only here in the New Testament, and rare in classical Greek. But the simple verb πείρω, to "pierce through," "transfix," applied 'especially to "spitting" meat, is very common in Homer, who also applies it metaphorically exactly as St. Paul does here, to grief or pain. Ὀδύνησι πεπαρμένος, "pierced with pain" ('Il.,' 5:399). Love of money (φιλαργυρία)

N.T.o. See 4 Macc. 1:26. Rare in Class.

The root (ῥίζα)

Better, a root. It is not the only root. In Paul only metaphorically. See Romans 11:16, Romans 11:17, Romans 11:18.

Coveted after (ὀρεγόμενοι)

See on 1 Timothy 3:1. The figure is faulty, since φιλαργυρία is itself a desire.

Have erred (ἀπεπλανήθησαν)

More correctly, have been led astray. oP.

Pierced through (περιέπειραν)

N.T.o olxx.

Sorrows (ὀδύναις)

See on Romans 9:2.

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