Max Patterson
Neosho, MO


There are five New Testament words that are translated covetousness. As one views these five words and their meaning, one comes to an understanding of the scope of this vile sin.
Epithumeo. Literally to fix the desire (passion) upon, so to long for, lust after, fix the desire upon.
• Romans 13.9, You shall not covet.
• I Corinthians 10.6, Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

To covet earnestly, or desire earnestly.
• I Corinthians 12.31, Covet earnestly the best gifts.
• I Corinthians 14.39, Covet to prophesy.

Orego. To stretch after, covet after, reach after.
• 1 Timothy 6.10, For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith ...
Pleonexia. A desire to have more or a greater amount.
• Luke 12.15, Beware of covetousness.
• Ephesians 4.19. To work all uncleanness with greediness.
• Colossians 3.5. Covetousness, which is idolatry.

Philarguros. Money-loving (literally, silver-loving).
• Hebrew 13.5, Let your conduct be without covetousness.
• I Timothy 3.3, Not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous.
• Luke 16.14, Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

Compare philarguros to the Las Vegas type of gambling.
The practical fruits of covetousness are easily seen in a number of illustrations from the Bible. Jesus warns to beware of covetousness because of what it is and what it does.

• Micah 2.2 states, And they covet fields, and take them by violence, and houses, and take them away, so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.

• Saul and the Israelites were disobedient, and covetousness was the motive in I Samuel 15.9.

• Covetousness caused David to commit adultery, and even murder. II Samuel 11.1-5.

The ten commandments had expressly stated, You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20.17.

• In olden times covetousness caused men to lie. Consider Gahazi in II Kings 5.20. Annias and Sapphira, Acts 5.1-11, and Achan, Joshua 7.

• Covetousness robs one of power and strength. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

• Covetousness leads men to depart from the faith. I Timothy 6.10.

• Finally, it causes men to use others for their own advantage. Peter spoke of these in 2 Peter 2.3. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.
Is there any wonder why this attitude is condemned in the Bible. The terribleness of this attitude is only passed by its practice.

Max Patterson
Neosho, MO

Written By

Bella Vista Church of Christ


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