Why Money Is Not the Root of All Evil

“Money is the root of all evil.” How many times have you heard that? I’ve heard it more times than I can count, and I’ve even spotted it hanging on the wall of the Monkees’ apartment on TV. It’s a popular thing to say, but it’s not true.

Without getting into a theological debate about evil or its roots, I will say that “Money is the root of all evil” is a misquote of a biblical source, in 1 Timothy 6:10. English translations vary, but they all say something along the lines of “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Notice the difference? It’s about the love of money, not money itself, being the root of all kinds of evil, not all evil. A few small words make all the difference.

If any major religions truly pointed to money as the root of all evil, a lot of people would be trying to be as poor as possible. Money would be treated like a communicable disease. (“Please don’t pay me so much; it’s not right for you to spread it around!”) Some people of faith do give away most of their income or take a vow of poverty so that they are better able to serve others and do good works, but most of those will describe their lifestyles as a special calling or a gift, something beyond what God requires of most adherents of their faith.

Even if you’re not a believer, think about the logic of saying that money is the root of evil. If money were the root of all evil, only people who had money would do evil things, and the people with the most money would be the most evil of all. Though some people without money like to think that’s true, it’s not. Poor people can cheat and steal and assault and kill as well as rich people and people in between.

Looking at it from another angle, greed (the love of money) does cause people to do some pretty horrible things, but so do lust for power or sex, hatred, the desire for revenge, jealousy, and even some more noble things, such as a desire for purity or an attempt to protect someone else. Money is rarely on the mind of a man who drops a drug into a woman’s drink so he can take her home practically unconscious.

I’ve sometimes heard “Money is the root of all evil” used as an excuse for not saving, as if to say, “I’m a better person if I’m poor.” But intentionally spending all your money as soon as you get it does not make you a better person (unless, maybe, you’re giving it all away). Rather, it makes you irresponsible. On the other hand, making good use of your resources by saving for your future does not make you evil; it makes you more able to help others (or avoid needing the help of others) when the need arises.

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28 Responses to Why Money Is Not the Root of All Evil

  1. Man is usually the root of all evil..

    No matter, how much we try, we have a tendency to stray into bad things. Money is just a conduit. Sad but true.

  2. Fred says:

    Money simply magnifies the qualities of the owner.

  3. M E says:

    LACK of money is the root of all evil. 😉

  4. Chad says:

    I agree – the lack of money is the root of all evil!

  5. Aubrey says:

    Required reading:


    “So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

    “When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor — your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

  6. A Marino says:

    My brother is a Minister and for years I knew that his finances were limited. Years ago, he had called me long distance and I became concerned about the costs and asked him about it. He said to me

  7. A Marino says:

    Somehingwas left off

    My brother said tome that money is only sa good as you can use it.

  8. dare2baware says:

    Money is definately NOT the root of all evil…it is what we THINK, our PERCEPTION and our ATTITUDE towards money that is the root of all evil.

  9. Cindy M says:

    You’ve got the bible verse all wrong!! The bible says it’s THE LOVE OF MONEY!! And it IS true.

  10. Cindy M says:

    Sorry, should have given you the verse precisely or more accurately, YOU should have looked up the verse before you wrote the comments:

    “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,” Paul in I Timothy 6:10. In its context in chapter 6, Paul is instructing Timothy in the running of the church. You need to read the book of I Timothy and in particular the chapter to fully understand the verse in its context, particularly those verses around it.

  11. Shannon says:


    I did look up the verse — in five versions. Both the NIV and the NAS are worded exactly as I quoted above. Thanks for including the context, though.

  12. Shannon says:

    Correction — both the NIV and the ASV have that wording.

  13. cuckee says:

    Very logical line of argument. Money is only the meauserment tool for a person’s efforts. The same tool can be used differently by different people. Some use money for the benefit of people and are inspired to take the society to the next level while some are not.

  14. Kenny says:

    Humans are the root of all evil.

  15. Pingback: The Virtual Handshake Blog | » Carnival of the Capitalists 9-24-2007

  16. Tia says:

    Humans are the root of all evil money is just a side branch of it

  17. cabanagj says:

    if money is the root of all evil? how come these preachers and sects collects money? religious sects are cults.

  18. Good thoughts. The key is what you do with it.

  19. chris says:

    naw all of you are wrong. Money is the root of all evil because if money is not used correctly and you use it for the wrong intentions money will eventually grow like a tree and lots of problems will come your way. If money is used incorrectly the root will grow into a tree of evil and the only way to destroy it is to cut it down! For example. Tupac Shakur was starting a movement and exposing the corporate lies in the music industry. So what did the industry do? THEY SHOT HIM TO DEATH BEFORE HES SEED COULD GROW! So when people say money is the root of all evil it means exactly that. Dont change GODS word in the bible that would not be a good idea.

    One love, One peace, One GOD

    Ps: to those of you who are saying LACK OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL YOUR WRONG! If that were true then why do people who have lots of money do more crimes than people who are strucken with poverty? Dont believe me? look it up for yourself! My gosh people can be so stupid! The media has you all brainwashed!

  20. Steve says:

    Human decision making is based on monetary cost. If for instance your broke, do you buy expensive tyres for your car or the cheaper ones? Or do you make them last as long as possible. The possible outcomes could be you blow a tyre and kill yourself or someone else, it’s raining you skid and run over someone because your tyres are bold. You can’t say it doesn’t happen. Do companies try to maximise profits for share holders? Of course they do, how? Maximum return for smallest expenditure, in other words maintenance runs to a budget, minimum people maximum work. What does that mean? Well it could mean that an important piece of equipment is substituted for a lesser cost item by people who are overworked and fatigued, scary if it’s an aeroplane manufacturer. If there is one thing that is true then it’s the fact that “If it makes money, it exists. If it doesn’t make money it doesn’t exist.” That’s why we have crime, corruption, prostitution, drugs, the black market. Money also segregates our society because we all have to have it to survive, and if you think we don’t give it a go and see how well you do. So is money or man the root of all evil? Both We created money it was our invention. It was suppose to aid us because bartering goods was becoming difficult. But all it has done is manipulate humanities decision making process throughout our entire history since its creation. How deep is the impact of that? Well I believe it to be the lowest common denominator. It is in existence when your born until you die, and your whole life is spent trying to get it. That in itself can manifest itself in so many ways that it would be impossible to list it all. The psychological manipulation is all consuming. Do we need it? No, but try taking it away and see how hard people fight it. Then you’ll know just how much of a hold it has on us…

  21. mobeen says:


  22. Steven says:

    I think Gordon Gecko summed it up pretty well in Wall Street. Of course money isn’t inherently evil. Like anything else humans create, something can only be as powerful as we make it. Since our society seems to value money so highly, it gets pushed to the forefront and people use it as a scapegoat for all things (including the oft maligned and extremely vague “evil”.)

    I try to work as much as possible. I don’t do this because my job is particularly fulfilling. I do it because I want to make sufficient money so I can relax when I’m 65 and not have to keep working at Wal Mart as a greeter when I’m 87 years old…On second thought, I think I’ll call out sick tomorrow using one of these excuses: http://www.agoodexcuse.org/work-excuses/how-to-succeed-in-business-without-really-lying

  23. jack says:

    hey i agree all right thats a good statment thank you you helped us alot

  24. jonathan says:

    The desire for money is nothing more than the desire to better your circumstances; to participate in an honest exchange of your work or assets for something you deem to be of equal value. The quote, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” causes people to (successfully) trace various examples of corruption back to the desire for money. I say successfully because you will find the desire for money behind many forms of corruption, but an important distinction must be made: it not simply the desire for money, but the desire for UNEARNED money that causes corruption.

  25. pamela says:

    I think it all goes down in human nature… MONEY is Not a root of all evil, WHY? who created it? Human… so it all depends in all human attitude toward the use of his money.. weather for better or evil… so blame it in ur self.. if u use your money in evil ways… remember.. our creator, blessed us to what ever situation we may be.. cause he want us.. to be useful, in a goodways.. so money is not evil in all ways.. it is human who became evil toward the way he use the money.

  26. Singh says:

    I feel money is quite a good thing. There are a lot of perspectives which allow me to think so and I’d like to share some of them. Firstly, money is the result of effort. No value can be created without effort. It is the honest workman that adds value to the dollar and not the people who obtain it through malicious or unethical means. Money is only as good as its value. So if the value has been added through effort how can it be evil. Money is a means of survival. It is a tool which can be used any which way you want to use it. You can use it for good or for bad. Money cannot buy happiness for the person who does not understand its true value. An honest man who has worked hard for the money earned is the only true lover of money and is the only person who can derive happiness from it. A man who would commit a crime for money does not know the value of money at all. Such a person can only desire money but never deserve it. And eventually such a person will only get what he deserves. Money cannot redeem you of your crimes. Money can buy you a lawyer and it can even prove you innocent in the eyes of the law. But ask yourselves, can it prove the same to your eyes? You will always have committed that crime and no one might know it except you, but can money take that feeling away. Money cannot buy happiness for the one who has not earned it. Money is happiness for the one who has earned it. It is the reward for the earnest earner. Money is survival. If there was no survival through money man would only be just another animal. Money is not the root of evil. Evil is the root of evil. Evil in itself is the root and the cause. Evil resides in the minds and hence cannot be destroyed. Evil, the devil inside us all, is what makes us do all the wrong things. If a poor man commits a crime for money, money is what will give him a chance at survival. Money is a means of survival. How you wish to obtain it is something that only our mind can tell us. It is the mind that told the poor man to commit the crime for money and not the money that told him to do it. Money is just a means. Use it as you wish. Do what you want with it. Do what you want for it. Good is good. Bad is bad. Money is simply money. Don’t blame it for the flaws in you. Man is all flawed.

  27. wolfe says:

    Money is the root of all evil, read the bible morons, things suppose to be free until the evil interupt the free stuff until now just madness.

  28. Irish Ros says:

    Yea.it’s true however if we just use the money for good and if we have a discipline on using the money then money wouldn’t be blame for the evil doings right? . I enjoy reading this .

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