Covetousness – Hebrews 13:5

posted in: German, German Vocabulary, Verses | 0

Hebrews 13:5 - die Kraft - strength

die Geldliebe – love of money, covetousness

Hebräer 13,5 Der Wandel sei ohne Geldliebe; begnüget euch mit dem, was vorhanden ist, denn er hat gesagt: “Ich will dich nicht versäumen, noch dich verlassen”;

Hebrews 13:5 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.

I wrote this verse down, but I didn’t pick a word from it. I don’t know what my original intention was when I picked this verse, but I decided that this post shall be about covetousness, as the word stood out the most.

I studied this verse together with a few others in a series on contentment, including 1 Timothy 6:6.

The word used in the German, Geldliebe, literally means “the love of money”. It appears to be a word coined and used specifically in a biblical context. I couldn’t find it in a regular dictionary.

Not surprising then that it’s also in this verse about the love of money being the root of all evil:

1. Timotheus 6,10 Denn die Geldliebe ist eine Wurzel alles Bösen, welcher nachtrachtend etliche von dem Glauben abgeirrt sind und sich selbst mit vielen Schmerzen durchbohrt haben.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The word “covetousness” is more frequently translated as die Habsucht.

I think that’s closer to the idea of covetousness, in that it’s about desiring things that we do not have, and not just money.

But the original word used in Hebrews 13:5 in Greek is ἀφιλάργυρος (aphilarguros) – literally meaning “not loving money”.[1]

The word for love of money is φιλαργυρία (philarguria).[2]

It’s clear that the words are related.

(The a- prefix to indicate that something is not, without or the opposite whatever follows is something that we also have in English, that comes from ancient Greek. We have it in words like atheism – the belief that there is no God, or even gods in general.)

I find Hebrews 13:5 comforting because it tells us that no matter what, we don’t need to worry. God will be with His children, helping them and watching over them every step of the way.

Perhaps this is a stretch, but my practical take is to not worry when I miss a good deal that could have saved me money. It’s really painful, that kind of regret that comes.

But all the money that we have belongs to God; it is never really our own anyway. He will ensure that we have enough for our needs, as He has already promised.

If we shall have everything that we need, then there isn’t a need for us to be covetous or greedy. I’m sometimes greedy for a good deal at a shop… and it’s rather unbecoming.

It’s another thing that I’ve yet to apply well to my life, but I’m glad to realise these things.

Then, at least I know where I ought to go.

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