"For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1Tim. 6:10, NASB)
1. Summarize the original situation and the meaning of the text for the biblical audience.
Paul is writing a letter to Timothy who is at Ephesus (1:1-3). This is a letter of instructions and exhortations to Timothy for the church at Ephesus (1:3ff, 15ff, 18ff; 2:1ff, 8ff, 11ff; 3:1ff, 8ff, 11ff, 14ff; 4:1ff, 6ff, 9ff, 11ff; 5:1ff, 17ff; 6:1ff, 3ff, 11ff, 17ff, 20ff). In chapter 6 verses 6-10 Paul is addressing contentment. In verse 9 Paul specifically calls out “those who desire to be rich”. He says of “those” that they “fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” Thus when we come to verse 10 Paul is basically summing up what he called out in verse 9: “For the love of money”—those who desire to be rich—“is a root of all kinds of evil”—temptation, a snare, many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
2. What are the difference between the biblical audience/situation and our situation?
Some obvious differences are we are not the church at Ephesus, we don’t live in the first century, and our current economic plateau isn’t the same. Another difference is that every believer who reads this verse may not be a leader/pastor as was Timothy.
3. List the theological principles communicated by the passage.
If there is a love of money inside you (a desire to be rich) it will produce (lead to) all kinds of evil. Also, in light of the surrounding context, another principle is rather than desiring to be rich desire godliness and be content with what you have.
4. How should Christians today apply the theological principles in their lives?
An example of how to apply this theological principle today would be for a Christian not to pursue a career, advancement, ministry, achievements, or whatever else strictly or largely for the monetary or status gain. Another application is instead of having a love for money (desiring to be rich or wealthy or wanting more for more’s sake) gather (pray for and seek) a desire for godliness, contentment, and the love of Christ—which we do by reading, studying, and abiding in the Word of God.
Although this is not an extensive look at this verse, this short blurb is still powerfully to the point and challenges us to not want (desire) more for more’s sake—something I call the worship of self-gratification—because it’s ultimately to our disadvantage and destruction if we do so.