I remember reading a Hebrew version of the Bible with English translation *right to left) many years ago and I am sure the English directly translated to 'some evil' rather than 'all evil'. Can anyone confirm this?

  • 5
    are you sure it was Hebrew (Aramaic)? This passage's original language was almost certainly Greek.
    – wax eagle
    Feb 7, 2014 at 13:31
  • Definately not sure, must try and find it again, think it was lost when moving.
    – user12979
    Feb 7, 2014 at 13:43
  • 6
    Not "money," but "the love of money." Important distinction.
    – Ben Miller
    Feb 7, 2014 at 20:16

5 Answers 5


The quote is from 1 Tim 6:10 (which would have been written in Greek, not Hebrew). The Greek reads:

ῥίζα γὰρ πάντων τῶν κακῶν ἐστιν ἡ φιλαργυρία

Here are some translations:

KJV: For the love of money is the root of all evil

ASV, NRSV, TNIV: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil

NET: For the love of money is the root of all evils.

The NET gives two translator's notes:

This could be taken to mean “a root,” but the phrase “of all evils” clearly makes it definite. This seems to be not entirely true to life (some evils are unrelated to love of money), but it should be read as a case of hyperbole (exaggeration to make a point more strongly).

Many translations render this “of all kinds of evil,” especially to allow for the translation “a root” along with it. But there is no parallel for taking a construction like this to mean “all kinds of” or “every kind of.” The normal sense is “all evils.”

  • Do the translator notes give examples of the evils that come from the love of money? It all seem a bit vague. Feb 8, 2014 at 21:11
  • 1
    No, because that isn't a translation issue. Feb 9, 2014 at 7:46

An important translation issue for this verse is that there is no definite article (the) in any Greek manuscript that precedes the word translated as "root". Thus, it is perhaps a better translation to say that the love of money is a root of all evil rather than the root of all evil.

When we recall Satan's fall, it was not the love of money, but the love of self, or pride, that drew him away. Indeed, there is no issue of currency in heaven for Satan to love.

“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ ~ Isaiah 14:12-14 NASB

Logically speaking as well, it would be hard to envision the love of money being the root of sins like lust or adultery or vandalism or slander or gossip. To be sure, the love of money can certainly be the root of sins like envy, stealing and greed, but not every sin.

So, it seems the better understanding is that the love of money is something that is a root for other sins, and we should guard against that, but conquering the love of money does not solve all temptation. Indeed, loving God more than we love ourselves is probably much more critical to conquering all sin. It should be remembered that the absolute greatest commandment in the whole of Scripture is not to simply abstain from the love of money, but to love God.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ~ Deuteronomy 6:5 NASB


The context of the passage gives the answer. Paul in the preceding verses (2 Timothy 6:3-9) is addressing people who think that godliness is a way to get rich ("godliness is a means of gain"), who desire to be rich through their religion. For these people, the love of money will be the root of all sorts of evil – of ignoring their spouses, of being workaholics and hurting their health in the process, of spurning the care and teaching of their children, of making foolish financial choices and risking their family finances, and so on. These are all different kinds of evils, and the man’s love of money is the root cause of them all, and it twists his perspective of what's right.

In other cases, some people will love the admiration of others, or strongly desire a particular job or thing. They can make foolish choices as a result, and for them, their desire for admiration or a job will be the root of all kinds of evil.


The exact translation will depend on the translational philosophy. The different translations, which necessarily involve interpretation since there is no one-to-one correspondence between languages, are trying to give the reader an idea of the intended meaning (in there opinion) by phrasing it slightly differently.

In any case, the JFB commentary suggests it is hyperbole or synecdoche:

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"; its offshoots are "temptation, a snare, lusts, destruction, perdition."

The passage may also be a sort of "perspectival relationship" where all sins can be seen as manifestations of one particular type of sin. John Frame suggests that all sins could likewise be viewed through the lens of any of the Ten Commandments (or other laws).

Tim Keller takes this approach Conterfeit Gods where he suggests that all sins are a form of idolatry (the first/second commandment, depending on how you count).

Frame, in his exposition of the Ten Commandments, notes that any sin could seen as a form of adultery (the bride betraying our husband, as in the OT imagery and comparable to the NT image of the bride of Christ) or sabbath breaking (not resting and trusting in God alone). And so on for the other commandments in the Decalogue.


I think that 'the root of all evil is money' bacause there is information about Satan making money (trading) before his fall. "By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. " Ezekiel 28:16

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    Feb 9, 2014 at 3:23

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