Another passage relating to Paul’s Prosperity Plan is found in I Timothy chapter 6. A friend recently asked me to comment on an online article opposed to the prosperity teaching of a popular TV evangelist, and under the heading of “False Promise #1: Financial Prosperity for Believers” this statement was made: “[Paul] wrote that a Christian must flee the desire to get rich (I Tim. 6:10-11).”
Let’s read the Bible verse first, “For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, Timothy, belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness” (I Timothy 6:10-11 NLT).
Ah, where have I heard verse 10 before? Yes, the Andrew Sisters — “Money is the root of all evil, Money is the root of all evil, Won’t contaminate myself with it, Take it away, take it away, take it away.” Or the paraphrase we sang as teenagers: “Money is the root of all evil, Don’t contaminate yourself with it, Give it to me, give it to me, give it to me!” Verse 10 is perhaps the most misquoted of all Bible verses. It clearly talks about “the love of money…”, an extreme greed for riches.
So the verse does not say that money is an evil at all. Money is amoral, a tool, a medium of exchange to make life easier. In this series of teachings we have already seen that Paul encouraged believers in the right use of money.
Most commentators and recent translations will say, “For a root of all evils is the desire for money…” Jesus used money and had a treasurer to take care of it. Paul encouraged believers to give proportionally and persistently, and to give to those less fortunate. So it is not the use of money that Paul discouraged but the chasing after money, the blind trust in money, and blatant materialism. In chapter 3 he specifically writes that church leaders such as “elders” (verse 3) and “deacons” (verse 8) were not to be people who “love money” or are “greedy for money.” So there is a godly use of money and a dangerous chasing after money.
Nor does Paul condemn rich people. He wrote in I Timothy 6:17-18, “Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them.” All of nature is based on growth, and as you grow it is not evil to “enlarge your tent” or to develop a store of money, for you will need such a store to help others.
When you take God as your financial partner, you give Him his share of your increase first, and this in itself helps you keep the balance you need in respect to money. John Wesley, that godly preacher who transformed England, taught you should give 10 per cent to God, save 10 per cent for yourself, and live off the balance. Such proportional giving and proportional saving still works in our society today.
Want to learn how all this works? Get your own copy of Four Keys to Prosperity, its an important and beautifully printed small book, just $5.00 plus postage. Discover the Action, Attitude, Amount, Affirmation. And by the way, this article is not an appeal for finances but an appeal for faith to be excercised. I’d rather you gave to some other ministry than see this article as a fundraiser.