The Bible presents various stories and teachings that underscore the destructive and corrupting influence of greed for individuals and societies. It highlights the need for contentment, generosity, and love over the unhealthy pursuit of materialistic gain. The intricate biblical portrayal of greed spans across books of Old and New Testament.
What is Greed According to the Bible?
Greed, as depicted in the Bible, is the excessive desire for material wealth and possessions. Often, it is identified as an inordinate craving beyond what one needs or deserves and is usually driven by selfishness. In fact, the Bible paints greed as a form of idolatry, where one’s focus shifts from God and spiritual matters to the material world. The unbridled lust for wealth and possessions often leads to moral compromise, loss of ethical values, and ultimately, spiritual ruin, as presented in various biblical narratives.
Who are the Biblical Figures Associated with Greed?
Several figures in the Bible have been associated with greed. Among them are King Ahab who coveted Naboth’s vineyard, Gehazi who lied to acquire gifts from Naaman, and Judas Iscariot, infamous for betraying Jesus out of greed. These characters serve as cautionary tales, their stories delineating the dire consequences that can arise from unchecked greed. Judas Iscariot, for instance, is arguably the most notorious figure associated with greed. His avarice led him to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, a deed that eventually led to his downfall and death.
Why Does the Bible Condemn Greed?
The Bible condemns greed mainly because it diverts humans from their spiritual path. When people become excessively focused on acquiring wealth and possessions, they often neglect their relationship with God and their moral obligations towards others. According to the Bible, greed ensnares and leads to destructive behavior, often resulting in dishonesty, theft, betrayal, and other sinful actions. Moreover, greed creates a false sense of security, where individuals overly rely on their wealth instead of placing their trust in God. The Bible warns that greed can lead one to live a life that is materially rich but spiritually impoverished.
What are the Biblical Teachings Against Greed?
The Bible teaches against greed using parables, commandments, and direct counsel. One prominent parable against greed is the story of the rich fool who, after a bountiful harvest, decided to store his excess crops for himself, only to die the following night. The Bible, through this parable, highlights the futility of greed and the importance of being rich towards God, rather than amassing earthly treasures. Commandments such as “Thou shall not covet” directly oppose greed, imploring followers to avoid unhealthy cravings for others’ possessions. And there are numerous verses throughout the Bible that directly counsel against greed, advocating for contentment and generosity instead. The Bible also repeatedly emphasizes the importance of helping the needy and sharing one’s resources. These teachings not only propose an antidote to greed but also advocate a way of life that fosters community, care, and compassion, aligning with the broader biblical vision for humanity.
Below is our full list of bible verses on greed (King James Version – KJV) provided in ranked order.
Most Popular Bible Verses About Greed
1 Timothy 6:10
“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.”
“25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.”
1 Timothy 6:9
“9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
“15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
“5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
“27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.”
“24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
“10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.”
“24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.”
1 John 2:16
“16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
“5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
“1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.”
“21 An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.”
“3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
“11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.”
“3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.”
“13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.”
“33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
2 Peter 2:3
“3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
“22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.”
“36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
1 Thessalonians 2:5
“5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:”
“3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;”
“6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”
Related Themes: Stealing
1 Corinthians 5:11
“11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”
“26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.”
“25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.”
“4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.”