What the Bible Says About Greed

Updated on October 13, 2019
revmjm profile image

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

Greed: Definition

Greed is defined as having an intense and selfish desire for something. That desire can be for material gain, power, status, wealth, food, sex, or for something else. The longing is also referred to as avarice. Often the desire is to obtain and possess more than one actually needs or deserves.

Greed is not for the greater good for everyone else. Instead, it is for a person's own selfish interest. Greed can be for anything but is most commonly for food, money, possessions, power, fame, status, attention, or sex.

Greed is considered to be one of the seven deadly sins. The list includes pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

What Experts Say About Greed

Erich Seligmann Fromm was a social psychologist, psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. The German Jew who fled the Nazi regime and settled in the United States defined greed as "a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction." In other words, a person might have an insatiable urge for something, but when he gets it, he wants more.

Thomas Aquinas was an Italian Dominican friar, influential philosopher, Catholic priest, theologian, and doctor of the church. He knew a lot about human emotions. He said greed is "a sin against God." He justified his definition by saying man neglects eternal things by choosing temporal things.

Meher Baba was an Indian spiritual master who said, "Greed is a state of restlessness of the heart, and it consists mainly of craving for power and possessions." He concluded by saying when a man gets what he greeds for, he is still left dissatisfied and empty.

In Dante's Purgatory, greedy people were punished by being bound and forced to lie face down on the ground because they concentrated too much on earthly thoughts and possessions.

The Bible Warns Against Greed

God warns people about greed because He knew people would be tempted to accumulate material things. Often, greed opens the door to other sins and we find ourselves falling farther from God and what He has for our lives. We must be careful to protect our hearts and minds against greed and to practice satisfaction and contentment.

Luke 12:15 states, "Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

First Corinthians 6:10 says, "Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

According to Ecclesiastes 5:10, "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless."

Proverbs 11:18 says. "Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf."

Proverbs 15:27 indicates, "The greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live."

Barn
Barn | Source

Biblical Example of Greed

Jesus told a parable in Luke 12:16-21 which is a good example of greed and what happened to a certain man who was greedy. The man already had an abundant harvest. Yet he wanted to build bigger barns so he could store more crops. He decided to tear down his existing barns and build bigger ones. Then he said to himself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”

The man left God out of his decision. Therefore, God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?

The interpretation of this parable is that this is how it will be with those who store up things for themselves but is not rich toward God. They want to accumulate more temporal things than focusing on spiritual things.

What's Wrong With Being Greedy?

Some people might think there is nothing wrong with being greedy. However, there is a lot wrong with being greedy. We should be satisfied with what God has allowed us to have. Sinful actions are associated with greed because the deep-rooted desire might lead to sinful living.

For instance, a person might steal from banks, his own family, his neighbors and other individuals to get what he wants. Many people are in prison today for killing someone to get what they wanted.

Do you know any greedy peope?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      5 weeks ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Jason, for your kind remark. I like Erich Seligmann Fromm's definition also. I think it says a great deal about what greed really is. As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Jason Capp profile image

      Jason Reid Capp 

      5 weeks ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Ooh, boy. That Erich Seligmann Fromm definition of greed is enough to merit writing this article. That was a perfectly accurate assessment, and I know too many people in my life with such an insatiable desire.

      Once again, awesome stuff, Margaret! I love your take on subjects like this and how you assess them.

    • Cheryl E Preston profile image

      Cheryl E Preston 

      5 weeks ago from Roanoke

      Great teaching on greed. You really explained it.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)