Biblical Leadership Traits - Not a Lover of Money

Masters Men: Leadership

Biblical Leadership Traits

Free from the Love of Money

1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7; 1 Timothy 3:8



This is a straight up concept. The KJV and the NKJ have “not covetous”. However, most translations give the literal rendering which is “not a lover of money” ( φιλ άργυρος). The only other use in the New Testament is NAS Hebrews 13:5 Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," Clearly, this trait is closely aligned with contentment.

It is also used without the negative prefix: NAS Luke 16:14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at Him. NAS 1 Timothy 6:10 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 a pang. NAS 2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,

So, God desires that his people avoid loving money at all costs. This is especially true of leaders. Remember, it is not money that is the problem. He does not say “free from possessing money” or “free from using money.”

A different term is used in Titus 1:7 and 1 Timothy 3:8 (deacons). There the term μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ is used. It is translated in a variety of ways – “not given to filthy lucre” (KJV); “greedy for gain” (ESV); “not fond of sordid gain” (NAS); “not pursuing dishonest gain” (NIV); “not greedy for money” (NKJ); “not…greedy for gain” (RSV). The term is a combination of aiscroj meaning shame or disgrace and kerdoj meaning profit or gain. Therefore we come up with the translation greedy for gain/money/profit.

The term is used only in these three places. However note a related term appearing in NAS 1 Peter 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; And two separate words rather than one word in NAS Titus 1:11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain.

We must be careful with this statement of the trait as well. Gain or profit is not bad. It is “base” gain that is to be avoided.


  1. What are some telltale signs that a person “loves money”?
  1. Can you cite an instance in which you lost money or income for the sake of personal integrity or Christian testimony?
  1. In an attempt to get to the bottom line of this trait, answer the following questions:
    1. What percentage of your gross income do you give to your local church?
    2. Would you be comfortable if your credit card statements became a matter of public record?
  1. What is the practical danger of having an officer in the church who is a lover of money?

Embezzlement – Judas

Catering to those who provide him with material things

Wrong example

  1. What do you think about an elder who has an abundance of material things or is wealthy?

© Copyright. Joseph Flatt. 2018. All rights reserved. May be used for educational purposes without written permission but with a citation to this source.