What Is Covetousness In The Bible

What is Covetousness in the Bible?

Covetousness is a powerful force that can manifest through a variety of motives in life, and it is an important concept in the Bible. Throughout scripture, the negative consequences of covetousness are referenced, and warnings are issued against desiring what belongs to others. The definition of covetousness in the Bible is a strong and inordinate desire for something that we do not have.

In the Bible, covetousness can be used to speak to both craving material or spiritual possessions, or using those items to achieve a sustaining or fulfilling status in life. The desire for something can be insurmountable to the point that it overrides rationality or any lingering concerns about moral implications. In the book of Exodus, it states that coveting “is a form of idolatry.” It implies that love for material objects can be analogous to an idol of worship, and a lasting impediment to human relationships.

In the book of Proverbs, it states that “leeching desires excite the fool,” and that such cravings should not be allowed the fool. This warns against the danger of inordinate desires. In 1 Timothy 6:6-10, covetousness is denounced by the Apostle Paul as a form of idolatry and a danger to one’s spiritual walk with Christ. Paul also suggests that the person being tempted by evil desires should instead seek honorable gain in all matters.


Covetousness is closely related to greed and commonly abused today by people with an insatiable appetite for material wealth or power. The notion of covetousness in the Bible is closely intertwined with the sin of greed, and these concepts are both associated with unethical behaviors that can have dire personal and social consequences. The message of the Bible encourages us to recognize that material wealth is not the same as spiritual well-being and to strive for a life of moral excellence, built on Biblical principles.

First and foremost, covetousness in the Bible is meant to warn against the wrongful acquisition of wealth, power, and influence. The Bible speaks of a highly-elaborate system of virtuous behaviors, yet there is a particularly strong warning against wrong attitudes towards material wealth. The notion of covetousness in the Bible is associated with unethical behaviors that are ultimately counterproductive to a life of spiritual excellence, such as unfairly taking advantage of others and disregarding the consequences of greedy pursuits.

In addition to the danger of wrongfully acquiring wealth, power, or influence, the notion of covetousness in the Bible is also meant to encourage individuals to focus on their spiritual well-being and not be distracted by worldly concerns. The Bible teaches that a life of godly virtue results in greater satisfaction and fulfillment in the world. Therefore, people should feel a greater sense of satisfaction in spiritual pursuits, rather than being envious of what others have.


In today’s society, it is easy to become focused on obtaining material wealth and status, while losing sight of the importance of morality and integrity in life. Therefore, the idea of covetousness in the Bible has important implications in today’s world. Allowing covetousness in one’s life could mean sacrificing important principles and compromising one’s morality in pursuit of material gain. According to the Bible, it is indeed possible to have financial success without forsaking one’s moral integrity, so it is important to avoid the temptation of inordinate desire.

Additionally, viewing material objects as a source of complete satisfaction or purpose can be dangerous. The idea of covetousness in the Bible is meant to encourage individuals to focus on their spiritual well-being, rather than becoming obsessed with material objects in search of personal fulfillment. Therefore, it is necessary to practice discernment when desiring something, and recognize the difference between what is necessary and what is considered excessive.


The consequences of succumbing to one’s own desires can be devastating. Humankind is naturally created to seek a sense of security and gratification, but these needs must be weighed against one’s deeper spiritual purpose. The Bible warns against desiring that which one does not have, and encourages us to recognize the damaging effects of greed on our relationships, character and spiritual progress. The consequence of allowing covetousness in one’s life can include resentful feelings of envy and disunity, putting a strain on individuals and relationships.

Covetousness also breed corrupt behavior, as individuals are willing to use dishonest means in order to obtain that which they crave. Such immoral actions can lead people into a spiral of negative consequences, potentially tarnishing the person’s reputation and leading to more disheartening situations. Covetousness can lead to a lot of pain, suffering and destruction in one’s life, if not curbed in time.


The issue of covetousness in the Bible can be seen from a number of different perspectives. Popularly, the concept of covetousness is associated with selfishness and greed, yet the Bible paints a more complex and nuanced picture. While the concept of covetousness in the Bible is commonly considered to be part of a larger discussion of principles and morality, different Christians have different perspective regarding the issue.

For example, some Christians view the concept of covetousness as a sign of commitment to one’s faith, advocating practices of contentment and gratitude. They suggest that if we recognize how fortunate we are and if we practice modesty and humility, this can lead to a more fulfilling spiritual life. If we focus on our spiritual well-being rather than desiring excessive material goods, we can attain a more satisfying life, according to this perspective.

On the other hand, some Christians take a less forgiving view of covetousness. This perspective acknowledges the inbred selfish nature of the human being and the constant craving for pleasure and gain. They suggest that covetousness can be difficult to overcome and might even lead people to act on their baser desires and contribute to moral decline in society. In this sense, the concept of covetousness in the Bible can be interpreted as a warning against the corrupting nature of lustful desires.


Fortunately, there are a number of ways to prevent the effects of covetousness on an individual’s life. Firstly, it is important to focus on spiritual growth and not let the desire for material gain overtake one’s priorities. Additionally, it is important to practice self-control and be mindful of the tendencies and patterns of our thoughts, while avoiding extremes of wanting too much or too little. Practicing empathy and gratitude are two important virtues that can help individuals overcome the negative effects of covetousness, in order to live a more meaningful and peaceful life.

Additionally, surrounding oneself with positive influences, such as family, friends, and colleagues can have a significant impact on one’s mentality and thought process. Developing hobbies and interests that are focused on growth and learning can be very deprogramming as well, so finding a balance between self-improvement and relaxation is key in managing temptation.

Finally, prayer and a regular practice of Scriptural readings are important in aiding the process of overcoming covetousness. With the help of Christ, a person will be able to recognize the importance of leading a virtuous life, and develop greater appreciation for the spiritual values associated with non-material pursuits. The Bible encourages us to seek a life of honor and moral excellence through surrendering to a higher power, while avoiding the trap of covetousness in the process.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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