Greed, one of the seven deadly sins, can be defined as the uncontrollable and selfish longing for material gain such as land, food, and in most cases, money. And it is something that anyone of us can be sucked into, especially when we are not where we want to be in life.
Here are a few verses that I have highlighted for you to enlighten you on the ugly reality of what being too greedy or selfish can do.
What Does the Bible Say About Greed and Selfishness?
The Bible has a lot to say about greedy people and their selfish desire to always want more, which is why the Bible tells us that money is the root of all evil. Greed causes betrayal, lies, cheating, and stealing, basically, people will stop at nothing to get what they want.
The Bible also warned us that the devil will come to us, just like he did Jesus, and tempt us into walking away from God, all in an effort to gain the world. But as the saying goes “All that glitters is not gold,” and being too greedy and selfish will only send us running into the hands of the devil.
Additionally, the Bible implores those who are rich in this present world or who can help those in need, to not be self-centered or set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on the mark of the higher calling.
And use the blessing that you have received to help a friend so they can bless a friend.
Bible Verses About Greed and Selfishness
Proverbs 15:27 “Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.”
Solomon here was telling us the end result of being too greedy for unlawful gain. As we all know, every bad choice we make in life will have dire consequences tomorrow or even years to come.
And it might not even fall on you, but your children or their children might feel the bite of it (Exodus 34:7). So try to think about that whenever you are tempted to receive bribes that will compromise the laws of God.
2 Timothy 3:2-3 “2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good.”
This verse was prophesied in Revelations, that in the last days, men will become selfish, money lovers, boastful, abusive, children becoming disobedient, and even family members will kill their own.
Paul outlines all these things that are happening now because persons’ hearts have gotten so evil and are becoming lovers of themselves, rather than lovers of Christ.
As Christians, we are tested and tried every day because we are in the world, but we shouldn’t fall prey to what the world will trap us into. But rather focus on the blessing that you will receive once you set your hearts on Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:4 “Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Regardless of your status or position in life, this verse is urging us to treat each other with selflessness and respect. The Apostle Paul is encouraging us to not only think about our own interests but to consider the needs of others as well.
God requires his children to be in unity with each other so that we all can reap the benefits of the Kingdom of God.
1 John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”
Do you remember the story of the good Samaritan? It illustrates how many people today will look at a beggar or someone badly in need of help and completely ignore them.
In the parable, this man was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. And out of the many persons who passed this man, only one stopped and helped (Luke 10:25-37).
Sometimes in life, God will put persons in our lives to test us, whether it be our enemies or our friends. He will bless you with riches just to see how far up the ladder you will climb without helping those below.
Just remember this, if you keep that selfishness in your heart, the same helpless, needy person you step on to go up, will be the same person you’ll pass going down.
Acts 20:35 “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Many people today only want to be on the receiving end of riches, but will never spare a dollar, or lend a hand. The meaning behind selfishness is thinking about yourself and ignoring the needs of your neighbor.
Now it is not saying you should give everything you have to benefit them, which is why God gave us wisdom, but what matters is how you choose to use what you have to benefit not just yourself, but others as well.
The aim of this verse is for us to remember the example Jesus set for us in the Old Testament, where in His words He said “It is more blessing to give than to receive.”
The Bible says “Every man according to his good works will be rewarded bountifully, and it is a cheerful giver who will be blessed, rather than someone who gives grudgingly or out of boast (2 Corinthian 9:7).
Bible Verses About Greed and Corruption
James 3:16 “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
Where there is jealousy or selfish ambitions, there is bound to be chaos. When believers rely on the desires of the flesh, it interferes with their godly wisdom, and opens up the door to corruption and evil actions.
And as we know, no good can come out of corruption. Always wanting what others have, never satisfying what God has blessed you with, will always lead you down the wrong path, causing you to eventually hurt others in the process.
As the Bible spells it out, you cannot serve two masters. You can’t say you serve God and portray ungodly characteristics. While personal goals and achievements are important, they shouldn’t be the only things that matter.
Yes, those are important, but we have to remember to put God first and let him guide our thoughts. And let us strive to use the wisdom of God which comes with peace, hope, and grace.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
The thing about the devil is that when he is tempting believers, he doesn’t come with silver, but he will present us with gold, or something he knows will be hard for us to resist. Even the “get-quick-schemes” that are plaguing the world today will catch even the very pastors today.
Why? Well, it all comes down to the love of money. Being too hasty to get rich can make anyone gullible and thus causing them to fall into temptations.
The love of money can cause also crime, death, deceit, and the breaking up of relationships. Some will even wander from their love for Christ and take unto themselves damnation.
Today, let us decide not to let words of flattery or greed for money lead us down the rabbit hole. Paul is reminding us to flee from this and pursue righteousness.
Proverbs 28:25 “A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.”
The main lesson here is that greed causes conflicts and malicious acts toward one another. It causes you to covet your neighbor’s car or their house, or cause you to refrain from paying your tithes or throwing offerings.
It can also cause stress, anxiety, fraud, scam, and many more sinful acts. And so to escape from those we simply must put aside our selfish desires and let our faith and trust in God work together, only then will our store baskets be richly blessed.
Hosea 10:13 “But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors.”
If you understand anything about farming, it is safe to say that whatever a farmer grows, that’s what they reap. And this is what this verse is telling us, sometimes life gets the best of us and instead of doing things the right way, we do things our own way, which leads to us reaping destruction.
And the Bible tells us that many persons have turned their backs on God, and He allowed them to do what they want, and they have become filled with every kind of wickedness, greed and envy have taken over their minds.
Whatever seed we are planting today, let it be those that will benefit us spiritually and physically. Let us plant the seed of righteousness so that we can reap in abundance the blessings of God.
Bible Verse About Greed and Money (Materialism)
Proverbs 15:16 “Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.”
Here we are presented with two options: Living for God knowing the promises that await you, or getting rich and losing your soul (Mark 8:36).
Now this is not saying we shouldn’t want money because in most parts of our lives it is necessary, but if we love money so much that we forget about God, that’s when the turmoil happens.
So Solomon is telling us that a faithful living coupled with the fear of the Lord is far better than great riches (Proverbs 22:1).
Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”
There is comfort and hope in this verse right here. It is also showing the benefits of waiting on the Lord, and the consequences when we become chasers of money. The Bible says a stingy man who eagerly chases after money, has no idea of the poverty that will come upon them.
And like Solomon mentioned “An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end.” (Proverbs 20:21)
This verse encourages us to be content and patient with what we have. You don’t have to run after the riches of the world, though it is hard to refrain sometimes, just know your time is coming, all you have to do is wait patiently on the Lord.
Proverbs 11:6 “The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.”
This verse, in its simpler form, means true believers who uphold righteousness are protected from trouble. However, the other part of this verse is what most human beings suffer from today, we become captivated by earthly desires, which then trap us into sin and lead us down a very dark path.
The reality is that oftentimes rich people don’t even depend on God, and that is why most times God withholds our blessing because He knows that when He blesses you financially, you won’t need Him anymore.
Still, the Bible promises that God will not give us more than we can bear, and there is no temptation that is uncommon to man. God will provide a way for us to escape it, and if that isn’t enough, He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us.
So let us not allow the devil to tempt us into bowing down to him for bags of gold, it’s not worth it in the end. Trust in the truth of God so that we can be saved.
Mark 8:36 “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
Here we see again, the battle between “gaining and losing.” Jesus is asking us this question here, “What good is there in gaining the world and sending our soul to hell?”
This is why the Bible tells us that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is greedy or rich to enter into Heaven (Matthew 19:24).
Let us consider this message here, we can’t “have our cake and eat it too.” In order to save our souls, we have to do what it takes to live a holy life, and not depend on the world for our happiness.
Ephesians 5:5 “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person, such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
The harsh reality of this verse is that nothing unclean can enter Heaven, meaning those who live a sinful life will have no lot nor part with God. And so it is a good thing we can be forgiving and saved through grace.
Let us therefore not take salvation for granted, let us examine ourselves and make every effort to not let the glistering of the world cause us to lose our spot in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27).
Ecclesiastes 5:10 “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”
Money can indeed make people do crazy things, and it is also no secret that each one of us, at the back of our head, will say “If only I had a little more money,” or “If only I had that car, or that house.”
We all at times wish for more money, especially when the bills are piling up and our 9-5 job is just not cutting it anymore. This excessive desire in always wanting more can never be peaceful to one’s mind and thus causing such a person to be trapped by the vanities of the world.
The Bible encourages us to “Keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God will never leave you; never will He forsake you (Hebrew 13:5).” We are to trust that God will take care of our financial needs.
And know that being wealthy is also a gift from God, not to be worshiped but to be used for a greater purpose than ourselves. And also an important reminder is that money cannot buy our way into Heaven.
James 5:1 “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.”
In this verse, James was giving a warning to “ rich people ” about what awaited them ahead. However, he was necessarily condemning everyone who is rich, but he was referring to those who allow their wealth to lead them into sinful pleasures.
In the verses that follow, they also speak of those landowners or bosses that love to live at the expense of others, but trust and believe that those hard workers that they refuse to pay, their voices will reach the ears of the Lord of Host (V.4).
And so if you find yourself being at the hands of people like that, just remember that God will punish those who seek to hurt His people. Additionally, if we are blessed to have wealth, we should use it to help others in need, those of whom James was seen here mentioning.
Jeremiah 17:11 “Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end, they will prove to be fools.”
This verse speaks of a covetous man who gains his riches in an unhealthy way is like a bird who tries to hatch the eggs of another bird. When those eggs are hatched the young birds will eventually leave the nest and go on their own, and leave that bird with nothing but the nest.
And so God will see to it that whatever scheme or scam a person uses to gain wealth, will have a very bad ending. So let’s make sure we are not at the receiving end of God’s wrath and try to earn our living in an honest and godly way.
Bible Verses on Overcoming Greed and Selfishness
1 John 20:17 “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
It is important not to let the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life distracts us from the righteousness of God. And while it is easier said than done, it also reminds us that whoever keeps their eyes on the prize and abides in the will of God, will have eternal life.
Luke 12:15 “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
There are many people today who make riches and power their main pursuit in life. And so this verse warns us not to let the greed of wealth be our main focus in life.
As the psalmist wrote, “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.” For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous (Psalms 37:16-17).”
1 Timothy 6:6-8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
The lesson here is that we need to be grateful for what we have. The Word of God reminds us that we can’t bring our money to the grave and that our souls and lives are valued more than all the riches in the world.
As long as we have food, clothing, and a roof over our heads, we should remain content until God blesses us with more.
1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.”
In this verse, Paul is telling us that many will laugh to our face, but in their mind wish to see us perish. He is also telling us that some would even call themselves a brother or sister in Christ, but only indulge in sin.
The Bible says “Woe to them who go the way of Cain,” (Jude 1:11) they claim to be of God, but are only false prophets, choosing wealth over integrity, and are interested in their own gain.
The Bible also laid out guidelines for believers that there should be no hint of sexual immorality, any kind of impurity, or greed (Ephesians 5:3). So Paul is advising us to watch the companies that keep and us hold on to the truth of God so that we won’t be led astray.
Don’t let greed or selfishness corrupt your heart, and force you into making bad decisions. And don’t let your wealth and riches be the reason you miss Heaven. Remember, you are blessed to be a blessing.