Article: The Root of All Evil 1 Tim.6:10; how large a letter Gal.6:11 by Will Kinney

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1 Timothy 6:10


A verse that is frequently criticized in the King James Bible is 1 Timothy 6:10. "For the love of money is the root of all evil."


James White, in his book The King James Only Controversy, on pages 139 - 140 compares the KJB reading with the NASB, NKJV, and NIV. "For the love of money is A root of all SORTS OF evil". Then he comments: "First, is the love of money THE root of evil, or A root of evil? Secondly, is it a root of ALL evil, or ALL KINDS OF evil? Once again we enounter a situation in which something can be said for each translation."


"The word for 'root' in the Greek does not have the article before it, hence the more literal translation in this case would be 'a root', not the definite 'the root'. The text is not saying that the love of money is the only origin or source of evil, but that it is one of great importance."


"And is it ALL evil, or ALL KINDS OF evil? Literally the Greek reads, 'of all the evils', the terms being plural. The modern translations see this as referring to all KINDS of evils, while the KJV takes all evil as a whole concept. The KJV translation is a possibility grammatically speaking, but it seems to miss Paul's point."


" The love of money gives rise to all sorts of evil things, but there are, obviously, evils in the world that have nothing to do with the love of money. A minister friend of mine pointed out with reference to this passage that it is difficult to see how rape, for example, can be blamed on 'the love of money'. Such is surely a good question for a person who would insist upon the KJV rendering."


These are James White's comments and they are frequently brought up by those who criticize the King James Holy Bible.


In the first place ALL Bible translations frequently place a definite article 'the' when it is not in the Greek text and omit it when it is there in the Greek. Even the Holy Ghost does the same thing when we compare the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke. Often the definite articles are found in a phrase in one gospel and not in the other . This is not uncommon nor inaccurate in the least. There are several examples of both in all versions right here in 1 Timothy. A small sampling of examples are found in I Timothy 3:16. There is no definite article before the flesh, the Spirit and the world, yet all versions put them in the English text.


Likewise the definite articles are not translated in the NASB in 1 Tim. 6: 1 in 'the' masters, 'the' God and 'the' doctrine. I can make a very long list of such examples in just this little epistle of 1 Timothy.


Secondly, at least Mr. White admitted that the KJB reading is grammatically possible. Mr. W. Robertson Niccoll, in his well known book The Expositor's Greek Testament, explicitly says on page 144 of Volume Four, regarding "the root of all evil" that the reading of the Revised Version 'a root of all kinds of evil' (which is the same as found in the NASB, NIV, ESV, and NKJV) quote: "is not satisfactory. The position of riza (root) in the sentence shows that it is emphatic." End of quote.


Thus this other "scholar" is saying that the phrase in question should have the definite article 'the' before 'the root'. Mr. Niccoll is by no means a KJB only; he frequently corrects the Bible text according to his own understanding, just as Mr. White does, yet here his opinion is opposite to that of Mr. White.


Thirdly it should be noted that the readings of the NASB, NIV, and NKJV all add the words KINDS or SORTS to the text, which is not found in the Greek either, and omit the definite article THE before the word "evil". Neither do they make the word "evil" plural, as Mr. White suggests. So much for Mr. White's consistency in criticizing the King James reading as not being strictly literal.


Fourthly, not only does the KJB render this phrase as "the love of money is THE root of ALL evil" but so also do Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale's New Testament 1534, Coverdale 1535, Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible of 1599, The Great Bible, Wesley's translation 1755, Daniel Mace's N.T. 1729, Darby's translation, the Revised Standard Version, Webster's 1833 translation, the Douay 1950 version, the New American Bible of 1970, the Living Oracles New Testament, Goodspeed's American Translation, the Spanish Reina Valera versions of 1569, 1602 and 1858, the Lockman Foundation (same people who put out the NASB) Spanish Biblia de las Américas 1997 - "Porque LA raíz de todos LOS males es el amor al dinero",the 2004 Reina Valera Gomez Bible "Porque el amor al dinero es LA raíz de todos los males"; the Italian Diodati version 1602 and the New Diodati 1991, the French Martin 1744 and the 1996 French Ostervald - "Car l'amour de l'argent est LA racine de tous les maux"; the New English Bible 1970, the KJV 21st Century 1994, Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the 2003 International Standard Version, the Third Millenium Bible 1998, and The New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969 - "For the love of money is THE root of ALL evils."


Finally and most importantly James White is the one who is missing the meaning of the text and not the King James Bible. I agree with him that the love of money is not the root of every form of evil out there like rape, the fall of mankind in Adam, pride, hatred or lust. But let's take a closer look at versions like the NKJV, NIV, and the NASB to see if they have solved the very problem men like James White address. The NKJV and NIV tell us "the love of money is A root of ALL KINDS of evil", while the NASB has: "the love of money is A root of ALL SORTS OF EVIL."


How many evils are included in the phrase "ALL kinds" or "ALL sorts of evil"? Well, it seems obvious that this would include ALL kinds of evil, not "many kinds" or "lots of different sorts", or "various types of evil". If Mr. White is going to criticize the King James reading because the literal meaning doesn't make sense to him, then to be fair, we would have to conclude that neither does the literal sense of his favorite versions. "All kinds of evil" still means ALL evil, and his modern versions are right back to meaning the very thing he criticized. How can the love of money be A root (and there necessarily must be other roots too that do the same thing) of ALL kinds of evil? This would also include the fall of man, rape, hatred, pride, and sexual lust.


Mr. White and many others seem to read the passage as though it said "the love of money is the root of all SINS". It doesn't. The text is not speaking of all kinds of sins, but of all evil. Evil is the result of sin, not the sin itself.


ALL EVIL is not referring to every kind of evil or sin but rather to a state of evil without mixture of any good. The word evil here denotes the consequences of sin, like unrest of the soul, a guilty conscience, a lack of contentment and other calamities both internal and external.


Notice the context: v.2 "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren: but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. THESE THINGS TEACH AND EXHORT. 3 If any man TEACH OTHERWISE, and consent not to the wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, AND TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH IS ACCORDING TO GODLINESS; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, surmisings. 5 PERVERSE DISPUTINGS of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, SUPPOSING THAT GAIN IS GODLINESS:from such withdraw thyself. 6 But GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT is GREAT GAIN. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that be rich FALL INTO TEMPTATION and snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 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 context is clear...it's about teaching false doctrines for monetary gain.


This person falls into a state of 'all evil' with no mixture of anything good in his life. He is drowned in destruction and perdition by many foolish and hurtful lusts. He is pierced through with many sorrows. There is no consciousness of anything good in this persons life and all he feels and experiences is a state of evil. The immediate context of 1 Timothy 6 is that of a Christian's attitude toward money, and in this context the root of all evil is the love of money. It is not speaking about the origin of sins in general.


Compare the following verses to see that the phrase 'all evil' does not refer to every imaginable form of evil or sin, but rather to a state of being which consists of unmixed evil.


In Joshua 23:15 Joshua tells the children of Israel: "Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you ALL EVIL THINGS, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you."


Likewise in Proverbs 5:14 "I was almost in ALL EVIL in the midst of the congregation and assembly." And in Genesis 48:16 Jacob testifies: "The Angel which redeemed me from ALL EVIL, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them."


In James 3:16 we are told: "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." Are we to conclude from this verse that where there is envy and strife, there also exist the fall of man, rape, incest, greed and murder? No, rather the presence of these two sins contaminate and affect everything else going on around them, and result in a state of evil.


The experience of most Christians is living in a state of blessings of good along with the presence of evil or difficulties in our lives. But the Christian who pursues the love of money will soon find himself in a state of only evil, sorrows and hurtful lusts and will lose the sense of God's presence and approval in his life. He has erred from the faith. I understand this to be the true sense of the passage as is found in the King James Bible, and many others as well.


Apparently even back in the days of John Calvin some were criticizing the reading of "the root of all evil". John Calvin translated it as it stands in the King James Bible and then makes these comments: "For the root of all evils is avarice" There is no necessity for being too scrupulous in comparing other vices with this. It is certain that ambition and pride often produce worse fruits than covetousness does; and yet ambition does not proceed from covetousness. The same thing may be said of the sins forbidden by the seventh commandment. But Paul’s intention was not to include under covetousness every kind of vices that can be named. What then? He simply meant, that innumerable evils arise from it; just as we are in the habit of saying, when we speak of discord, or gluttony, or drunkenness, or any other vice of that kind, that there is no evil which it does not produce. And, indeed, we may most truly affirm, as to the base desire of gain, that there is no kind of evils that is not copiously produced by it every day; such as innumerable frauds, falsehoods, perjury, cheating, robbery, cruelty, corruption in judicature, quarrels, hatred, poisonings, murders; and, in short, almost every sort of crime. Statements of this nature occur everywhere in heathen writers; and, therefore, it is improper that those persons who would applaud Horace or Ovid, when speaking in that manner, should complain of Paul as having used extravagant language."


The King James Bible is always right.


Will Kinney



Galatians 6:11 "Ye see how LARGE A LETTER I have written unto you with mine own hand."


A certain Theodore Mann tells us in his article, 'Problems with the KJV', that the King James Bible is in error when it says "how large a letter". He writes: "How large a letter" should be "large letters." Paul is speaking about the size of the letters he is writing, not the length of the epistle."


The purpose of this little study is to examine whether Mr. Mann is correct or whether he is simply offering his own opinion. Keep in mind that Mr. Mann does not believe ANY Bible in any language is the complete and inerrant words of God. Scholars as well as Bible translations differ greatly in what they think this phrase means and how to translate it.


Many modern versions like the NKJV, NIV, NASB, RSV and ESV take this phrase to mean that the apostle Paul was writing either this verse alone, or else the entire epistle, in large letters, like A, B, C, D etc.

The NKJV along with the NASB, NIV, ESV say: "See WITH WHAT LARGE LETTERS I have written to you with my own hand!" The NIV has: "See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!"


Other versions like Darby's 1870 translation, and Lamsa's says: "See HOW LONG A LETTER I have written to you with mine own hand." Then Mr. Darby footnotes: "Or perhaps, 'in what large letters'. It was long for the apostle to write with his own hand, as he generally dictated to another."


The Douay-Rheims version says: "See WHAT A LETTER I have written to you with my own hand."


Coverdale's Bible translation of 1535 says: "Beholde, WITH HOW MANY WORDES I haue wrytten vnto you with myne awne hande."


Among those Bible translations that agree with the King James Bible rendering of "Ye see HOW LARGE A LETTER I have written" are the following: Tyndale 1525, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Daniel Mace's N.T. 1729, Wesley's translation 1755, Webster's 1833, the Bible in Basic English 1960, the Italian Diodati, the 1994 KJV 21st Century, and the 1998 Third Millenium Bible.


The Spanish Reina Valera of 1569, 1602, 1858 and 1865 also read as does the King James Bible with: "Mirad qué LARGA CARTA os he escrito de mi mano." Likewise the 1744 French Martin bible reads the same as the King James Bible with: " Vous voyez quelle grande Lettre je vous ai écrite de ma propre main." - "Ye see what a large letter I write to you"


The Modern Greek translation Bible also takes the view of the King James Bible. It says: "Idete oson makran eistolhn sas egraya me thn ceira mou." - "You see how LARGE A LETTER I have written to you with my own hand."


Adam Clarke comments on the phrase "how large a letter" saying: "There is a strange diversity of opinions concerning the apostle's meaning in this place. Some think he refers to the length of the epistle, others to the largeness of the letters in which this epistle is written. It appears plain that most of his epistles were written by an amanuensis, and simply subscribed by himself; but the whole of the Epistle to the Galatians was written by his own hand...As to writing it, the uncial character was that which was alone in use in those days, and this character is as easily made as the capitals in the Roman alphabet, which have been taken from it. I conclude, therefore, that what the apostle says must be understood of the length of the epistle, in all probability the largest he had ever written with his own hand; though several, much larger, have been dictated by him, but they were written by his scribe or amanuensis."


John Wesley tersely comments: "Ye see how large a letter - St. Paul had not yet wrote a larger to any church. I have written with my own hand - He generally wrote by an amanuensis."


Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments remarks: "Scholars advocate opposing views on what is meant by this; for certainly, it may be translated otherwise than in English Revised Version (1885). MacKnight rendered it thus: The phrase is rightly translated how large a letter. The first word properly signifies of what size; and the second denotes an epistle, as well as the letters of the alphabet.


As in all cases where two translations are possible, the context and other overall consideration must be resorted to. Of pertinence here, it seems, is the opinion of Ramsay, who said, "Those who suppose that a trifling detail, such as the size or shape of Paul's handwriting, could find room in his mind as he wrote this letter are mistaking his character.


We have followed the opinion of Hendriksen who wrote: "If, of all Paul's letters that have been preserved, Galatians was the very first one that he wrote, as we have assumed, he could perhaps have written, `See what a big letter I wrote you'


Most current scholars go the other way, however, taking an alternate rendition and interpreting it to mean Paul's eyesight was bad, or his handwriting was characteristically large, thus forming a kind of signature, or even that he was somewhat illiterate! It seems to this student that such guesses have little in their favor." (End of Coffman's comments)


Barnes' Notes on the New Testament says: "How large a letter. Considerable variety has existed in regard to the interpretation of this phrase. The word here used and translated how large \~phlikoiv\~ means, properly, how great. Some have supposed that it refers to the size of the letters which Paul made in writing the epistle --the length and crudeness of the characters which he used. Such interpreters suppose that he was not well versed in writing Greek, and that he used large letters, and those somewhat rudely made...Others suppose that he means to refer to the size of the epistle which he had written. Such is the interpretation of Grotius, Koppe, Bloomfield, Clarke, Locke, Chandler, and is, indeed, the common interpretation, as it is the obvious one. According to this, it was proof of special interest in them, and regard for them, that he had written to them a whole letter with his own hand. Usually he employed an amanuensis, and added his name, with a brief benediction or remark at the close."


John Calvin comments: "To convince the Galatians more fully of his anxiety about them, and at the same time to ensure their careful perusal, he mentions that THIS LONG EPISTLE had been written with his own hand."


John Gill comments: (Caps are mine) "how large a letter", or "with what letters"; which some understand of the largeness of the characters he wrote in; others of the deformity of them, he not writing a good hand, being an Hebrew, and not used to writing Greek; others of the grand and sublime matter which it contained; though neither of these seem to be the apostle's meaning; BUT HE INTENDS THE LENGTH OF THE EPISTLE, which he mentions, as an instance and expression of his love to then, care of them, and concern for them: inasmuch as he took so much pains to write SO LONG A LETTER to them, in order to set things right in their view, and recover them from error: not but that he had sent as long, or longer letters to other churches, as to the Romans, the Corinthians, and Hebrews: but then it is to be observed what follows:


I have written unto you with my own hand. The epistle to the Romans was written by Tertius, though dictated by the apostle, (Romans 16:22) as very likely the others were by Timothy, or some other amanuensis. The apostle only put his name, and wrote his salutation, which was his token, in all his epistles, of the truth and genuineness of them; (2 Thessalonians 3:17) , but this was not only dictated by him, but wrote with his hand, which very probably the Galatians knew; and since it was not usual for him to do so, it was the greater proof of his affection for them; that amidst so much work, and such labours as he was employed in, he should sit down and write SO LONG AN EPISTLE to them. "


Jamieson, Fausset and Brown likewise comment: "If English Version (King James Bible) be retained, the words, "how large a letter will not refer to the length of the Epistle absolutely, but that it was a large one for him to have written with his own hand. NEANDER supports English Version, as more appropriate to the earnestness of the apostle and the tone of the Epistle: "How large" will thus be put for "how many."


Finally, Martin Luther, in his well know Commentary on the Book of Galatians, says: "Ye see HOW LARGE A LETTER I have written with mine own hand." With these words the Apostle intends to draw the Galatians on. "I never," he says, "wrote such a long letter with my own hand to any of the other churches." His other epistles he dictated, and only subscribed his greetings and his signature with his own hand."


What we see in the study of Galatians 6:11 is that Mr. Mann is merely offering his own OPINION, and stating it as an indisputable fact that the King James Bible is in error. The facts are that many others with equal or superior learning disagree with his opinions, and render the phrase exactly as it stands in the King James Bible. There are NO ERRORS in the providentially preserved and pure words of God as found in the Authorized King James Bible.


Will Kinney


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