Greed: God’s Children Should Not Be Greedy, Are You?

Greed is not a quality that pleases God. Because greedy people make material things their god! In fact, it is just another form of idol worship.

Revised: Friday, September 29, 2023

Greed: God’s Children Should Not Be Greedy, Are You?

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STM Bible Study Summary

Luke 12:15
And [then] He said to them, “Be careful and guard yourselves against [practicing] all forms of greed, for a person’s life does not consist of having a lot of possessions.” (AUV)
KJV: And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousnessG4124: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
G4124 πλεονεξία pleonexia (ple-o-ne-xiy’-a) n. Strong’s Definition – avarice, i.e. (by implication) fraudulency, extortion:—covetous(-ness) practices, greediness.

Think about this:

Did you know that a greedy person is the same as an idol worshipper? Yes, greedy people make things their god! Jesus warned against this. So, make it a priority to understand greed; this study can help.

Key Points:

1. Covetousness

Greed is a form of coveting (lusting for more). Covetousness is a sin. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 6:10, it is named as one of the sins that stop people from entering heaven.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Don’t you know those who are unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be fooled! People who are immoral, worship idols, commit adultery, are sexual perverts, homosexuals, 10 thieves, greedy, drunkards, abusers, or cheaters, will not inherit the kingdom of God. (FBV)
KJV: 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.

2. Destructive

When people constantly want more than they have, it destroys them and others.

Proverbs 1:17-19
It is useless to spread out a net right where the birds can see it! 18 These men are setting their own trap. They will only catch themselves! 19 All greedy people end up this way. Greed takes away the life of the greedy person. (ICB)
KJV: Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. 18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

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Greed - More, more, more, more - Never ever get enough - Excessive desire for more than one needs

Greed Is

By definition

Excessive and eager desire to get or have. A desire for more than one needs or deserves, such as food, drink, wealth, or power. It is greediness. Stresses lack of restraint and often of discrimination in desire. An unmixed evil; Christians are to be on guard against (Luke 12:15).

Mark 7:21-23
It’s what grows out of the hearts of people that leads to corruption: evil thoughts, immoral sex, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wicked acts, treachery, sensuality, jealousy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All of these come from within, and these are the sins that truly corrupt a person [spiritually defile people, make people unacceptable to God]. (Voice)
KJV: For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousnessG4124, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Jesus used pleonexia in Mark 7:22; translated by KJV as ‘covetousness’. In fact, many if not most of the modern translations use ‘greed’ to replace ‘covetousness’ throughout the NT.
G4124 πλεονεξία pleonexia (ple-o-ne-xiy’-a) n. 1. avarice. 2. (by implication) fraudulency, extortion. 3. desire for advantage. 4. greed.

Greed is compared to idolatry since the desire for material wealth or money comes first in the heart of idolatrous people (Colossians 3:5). Therefore, church leaders must “not [be] greedy for money, but eager to serve” (1 Peter 5:2).

In essence, “greed” defines a person’s character. The person motivated by love for God will sacrifice possessions to serve others. The person motivated by love for self will sacrifice others—and God—to possess things. Jesus warned against all types of greed (covetousness).

Filthy lucre

This is true of those who preach and teach the “prosperity Gospel”, as it refers to those who teach wrongly for the sake of money.
Titus 1:11
This must be stopped. It turns whole families from the truth. They teach these things to make money. (NLV)
KJV: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
G146 αἰσχροκερδής aischrokerdes (ai-schro-ker-d̮ees’) adj. 1. characterized by sordid, disgraceful gain. 2. of disgraceful gain. 3. eager for base gain (greedy of or given to filthy lucre).

The word greedy is used twice in the KJV (NT); 1 Timothy 3:3 and 8. Both times it comes from the Greek word aischrokerdes.

Synonyms for “greed”

  • Acquisitive – A strong selfish desire to get and own material things.
  • Avarice – Extreme desire to have or get money; extravagant desire to gain and hoard wealth; covetousness; greediness or insatiable (excessive) desire of gain; cupidity; also, in a figurative sense, an excessive desire for some benefit or advantage.
  • Covetous – Excessive desire to have something, mainly material things that someone else has.
  • Cupidity – Unrestrained greed for wealth or power; avarice. Passionate carnal desire; sexual love.
  • Desire – To wish for the possession and enjoyment of, with earnestness; to long for; to covet; as, to desire wealth.
  • Gluttony – The act or habit of eating too much or having a great capacity for something; greedy.
  • Selfish – Putting yourself first with little or no regard for others; self-seeking. Caring or concerned only for oneself; self-centered.
  • Rapacity – The quality, act, or practice of being excessively greedy. Outrageous greediness of gain.

More about this sin

Greed can lead to crime and ultimately death (Proverbs 1:17-19). Jude warned us to be aware of those (Jude 1:4 and 1:8) who follow their own ungodly desires (Jude 1:18).

Jude 1:11
It will be terrible for them [Woe to them!]. They have followed the way of Cain [who murdered his brother Abel; Genesis 4:1-15 (5 and 8)], and for money [because of greed; for wages] they have given themselves [poured themselves out] to doing the wrong [error] that Balaam did [Numbers 22—24; 2 Peter 2:15–16]. They have rebelled against God as Korah did, and like Korah, they surely will be destroyed [In the rebellion of Korah, they were destroyed; Numbers 16]. (EXB)
KJV: 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 [Korah].

“Ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward”? The Expanded Bible “…and for money [because of greed; for wages] they have given themselves [poured themselves out] to doing the wrong [error] that Balaam did (EXB).

According to Bible Knowledge Commentary “Balaam, under the guise of serving God, encouraged others to sin, while at the same time seeking to gain monetarily from their error. Similarly, the false leaders of Jude’s day, greedy for money, led others into sin without recognizing the danger of their actions.”

I warn you to know the Scriptures for yourself and avoid every form of greed.

Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction. —Erich Fromm (1900–1980), American psychologist. Escape from Freedom (1941) 1.

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You are God’s people, so don’t let it be said that any of you are greedy. Ephesians 5:3 (CEV) - Greed

God’s Children

Ephesians 5:3-5
You are God’s people, so don’t let it be said that any of you are immoral or indecent or greedy. 4 Don’t use dirty or foolish or filthy words. Instead, say how thankful you are.
5 Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure that people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God. (CEV)
KJV: But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 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.

Beware of false teaching

Greed is a sin and because of greed, false teachers/preachers will tell you lies to get your money. So do not be deceived by the size of their congregation or the number of supporters. Peter warned us about greedy preachers, aka ‘false teachers’.

2 Peter 2:1-3
In the past there were false prophets among God’s people. It is the same now. You will have some false teachers in your group. They will teach things that are wrong—ideas that will cause people to be lost.
And they will teach in a way that will be hard for you to see that they are wrong. They will even refuse to follow the Master who bought their freedom. And so they will quickly destroy themselves.
2 Many people will follow them in the morally wrong things they do. And because of them, others will say bad things about the way of truth we follow.
3 These false teachers only want your money. So they will use you by telling you things that are not true. But the judgment against these false teachers has been ready for a long time. And they will not escape God who will destroy them” (ERV)


But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
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.
Feel free to compare this with your preferred Bible translation. Know that the word covetousness (verse 3) in the KJV and NKJV is the Greek πλεονεξία pleonexia meaning ‘greediness (desire to have more)’.

Qualifications of an Elder/Bishop/Overseer

The Defender’s Study Bible – The “elders” (Titus 1:5) and “bishops” (Titus 1:7) are the same. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary – “not given to filthy lucre”—not making the Gospel a means of gain (1 Timothy 3:3, 8).
Titus 1:7-8
For the bishop (an overseer, elder, church leader, or pastor) as God’s steward must be blameless, not self-willed or arrogant or presumptuous; he must not be quick-tempered or given to drink or pugnacious (brawling, violent); he must not be grasping and greedy for filthy lucre (financial gain);
8 But he must be hospitable (loving and a friend to believers, especially to strangers and foreigners); [he must be] a lover of goodness [of good people and good things], sober-minded (sensible, discreet), upright and fair-minded, a devout man and religiously correct, temperate and keeping himself in hand. (AMPC)
KJV: For a bishopG1985 must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
G1985 ἐπίσκοπος episkopos (e-piy’-sko-pos) n. specifically, the superintendent, head, or overseer of any Christian church.

Are you greedy?

I hope your answer to this question is NO! In fact, you can control your desires with the self-control given by the Holy Spirit. So we can thank the Lord because our loving Father knew what we needed!

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Not Greedy

Greedy people have a constant urge to get more for themself. As a result, they rarely care about the needs or feelings of others.

God’s children should not be greedy

Philippians 2:3-4
In the way that you live, do not just try to help yourself. Do not be proud. Instead, respect other people. Think about other people as more important than yourself. 4 Do not think only about the things that you want to do for yourself. Each of you should think also about how you can help other people. (EASY)
KJV: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Look out for the good of others

This passage relates to the effect of our conduct upon others.
1 Corinthians 10:24
Do not look out only for yourselves. Look out for the good of others also. (NCV)
KJV: Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth [good; well-being].

Living to please (help) others

Romans 15:1-3
We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. 2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. 3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” (NLT)
KJV: We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Don’t loose your inheritance/reward

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
“Do you need reminding that the unjust have no share in the blessings of the kingdom of God? Do not be misled. A lot of people stand to inherit nothing of God’s coming kingdom, including those whose lives are defined by sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual deviancy, theft, greed, drunkenness, slander, and swindling” (Voice)
KJV: 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.
Colossians 3:5
“Therefore, put to death whatever is worldly in you: your sexual sin, perversion, passion, lust, and greed (which is the same thing as worshiping wealth).” (GW)
KJV: Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

The love of money

Yes, greed, covetousness, and many things that people do are sinful. So I leave you with this final thought from Hebrews 13:5.
Hebrews 13:5
Be free from the love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions], content with such things as you have, for he (Jesus) has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you” (WEB).
KJV: 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.

Remember this, God’s children should not be greedy. Thank you for taking the time to read this Bible study. I urge you to make full use of it. Blessings to you and your loved ones— Tim. ☺


Note: parenthesis (#) encloses the key verse(s).


  • Luke 12:13-21 (15).
  • Key Points: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 (9-10) and Proverbs 1:8-19 (17-19).

Greed Is

  • By definition: Mark 7:1-23 (21-23); compare Matthew 15:1-20 (18-20).
  • Filthy lucre: Titus 1:10-16 (11); 1 Timothy 3:3 and 8.
  • More about this sin: Jude 1:1-11 (11); Genesis 4:1-15 (5 and 8); and 2 Peter 2:15–16. Proverbs 1:17-19 and Jude 1:4, 8, and 18.

God’s Children

  • Ephesians 5:1-7 (3-5).
  • Beware of false teaching: 2 Peter 2:1-3.
  • Qualifications of an Elder/Bishop/Overseer: Titus 1:5-9 (7-8) and 1 Timothy 3:3 and 8.

Not Greedy

  • God’s children should not be greedy: Philippians 2:1-4 (3-4).
  • Look out for the good of others: 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 (24).
  • Living to please (help) others: Romans 15:1-6 (1-3).
  • Don’t loose your inheritance/reward: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 (9-10) and Colossians 3:1-11 (5).
  • The love of money: Hebrews 13:1-6 (5).

Related studies/lessons/snacks for further spiritual growth:


1 – Quote by Erich Fromm

Question about “Greed: God’s Children Should Not Be Greedy, Are You?”: Are you living above your means or desiring more than you need?

See what is available on the Sound Truth Ministry website.

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One thought on “Greed: God’s Children Should Not Be Greedy, Are You?

  1. Greed - Maui resorts & hotels
    We’re back!
    Greedy people make things their god! Jesus warned against this. So, make it a priority to understand greed; this study can help…?


    Message in the picture:
    Greedy people know only two things: “Give me,” and “Give me.” – Proverbs 30:15 (ERV) – Greed

    Verse for the day:
    Ephesians 5:3-5 But there must be no sexual sin among you. There must not be any kind of evil or selfishly wanting more and more, because such things are not right for God’s holy people.

    4 Also, there must be no evil talk among you. Don’t say things that are foolish or filthy. These are not for you. But you should be giving thanks to God.

    5 You can be sure of this: No one will have a place in the kingdom of Christ and of God if that person commits sexual sins, or does evil things, or is a person who selfishly wants more and more. A greedy person like that is serving a false god.
    [Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)]

    Go to this Bible study; click on/tap the picture or link.
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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