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Riches (4149) (ploutos from pletho = to fill) properly denotes abundance, plentitude, and literally is used to refer to material wealth or prosperity (abundance of earthly, temporal goods) which is the meaning in the parable of the seed and the soils (Mt 13:22, Mk 4:19, Lk 8:14 = Material riches are deceitful and choke out reception of the Word of God. Be careful all you wealthy readers! Contrast spiritual riches - Ep 3:8) Indeed, think of the people who know whose whole lives glow with the glory of God for they are rich in spiritual possessions, albeit often poor in material possessions! Francis Havergal alluded to true riches in these lines... Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold; Take my intellect, and use Every power as Thou shalt choose. Play Hymn - Take My Life and Let it Be (Another Version by Chris Tomlin) In Greek Plutus was the god of riches. Liddell-Scott records secular uses of ploutos as referring to treasures of gold, silver, the "riches" of the earth. Our English word plutocrat means one who rules because of his wealth. In Greek the word is connected to pleroma, the word for "fullness" so that a rich person is one who is "full of money or property." Louw and Nida write that ploutos... an abundance of possessions exceeding the norm of a particular society and often with a negative connotation (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. United Bible societies) The father of Keynesian economics was J. M. Keynes (1883-1946) who said candidly that The moral problem of our age is concerned with the love of money, with the habitual appeal to the money motive in nine-tenths of the activities of life. Socrates (470-399 B.c.) said about wealth If a rich man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it. Detzler writes that... In early Greek literature, the fullness of material things was contrasted with the fullness of spiritual things. It was regarded as crude to be wealthy in terms of possessions but poor in terms of immaterial things. (Sadly, many people still make this foolish exchange. They surrender spiritual wealth for financial fatness.) Along the lines of this spiritual wealth one reads of Zeus, who was a pagan god rich in peace. But Homer spoke of wealth which made it possible for one to live without working. Socrates said that the rich were regarded as being socially sought after. (Wayne A Detzler. New Testament Words in Today's Language) Ploutos is more commonly is used in a figurative sense in the NT to speak of a plentiful supply of something and thus speaks of spiritual abundance or spiritual prosperity (God's kindness - Ro 2:4, His glory - Ro 9:23, Ep 1:18, 3:16, Php 4:19, Col 1:27, His grace - Ep 1:7, 2:7). Here in Romans 2:4 ploutos pictures an abundance or plentiful supply of God's kindness or goodness. God has a veritable treasure store of inexhaustible, bountiful kindness, forbearance and patience. They are not in short supply. Thank You Lord! Elizabeth Barrett Browning ("Sonnets from the Portuguese") stately it beautifully writing that... God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame. Wayne A Detzler. New Testament Words in Today's Language. TDNT writes that This group is connected with a root meaning “to flow,” which is connected to “to fill.” The basic sense, then, is “fullness of goods,” and ploutos may mean either material wealth or spiritual wealth (of wisdom etc.). Lexicography supports the linguistic analysis. Thus ploutos means “wealth,” plousios “well-to-do,” plouteo “to be or become rich,” and ploutizo “to make rich.” (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans) The NIDNTT notes that... The word-group associated with ploutos is related to polys, much, and means initially abundance of earthly possessions of every kind. Later its meaning divided in two directions. In the one it meant riches in a technical and material sense. In the other it was more general, and occurs with a qualifying word, generally in the gen., e.g. riches of wisdom, honour, mercy, etc. All the words in this group can bear this double meaning: plouteo, be or become rich; ploutizo, make rich; ploutos, possession of many goods, super-abundance of something, riches; and plousios, as an adj, wealthy, rich and as a noun a rich man. In Homer external wealth and virtue are not separated (cf. Il. 1, 171; 16, 5" class="scriptRef">5" class="scriptRef">596; 24, 536, 546; Od. 24, 486). Rich is a comprehensive term for a fortunate life blessed by the gods. Plato and Aristotle in particular judge riches by their effect on society. If they do not serve the community (polis), they are to be rejected. In Aristotle wealth is always material and is something that can be used wrongly or rightly (Pol. 1, 9, p. 1256b-1258a, 8; 2, 9, p. 1269a, 34 f.). But Plato distinguishes material riches from true riches which consist of wisdom, virtue and culture (Rep. 7, 521a; 8, 547b; Phdr. 279c; cf. F. Hauck and W. Kasch, TDNT VI 322). The Cynics completely despised material possessions because they brought commitments and anxieties with them (cf. Stob., Ecl. 5, 782, 18; 5, 785, 15 ff.; 5, 766, 12; 5, 806, 17 ff.; see further TDNT VI 322). The Stoics considered that the chief danger of riches lay in their creation of a feeling of false security, but they also recognized their value because of the opportunities of developing the personality which they offered (Seneca, De Vita Beata 22, 1; cf. TDNT VI 323). Basically riches were not to be rejected, for (a) in Gk. culture riches did not have the sociologically divisive influence that they have had in other cultures, and (b) the idea never appeared that they could be given up for the benefit of the poor. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan) Here are the 22 NT uses of ploutos...notice that Paul is word is a favorite of Paul's especially in Ephesians, which is filled with riches!... Matthew 13:22 "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Mark 4:19 and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Luke 8:14 "And the seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. Romans 2:4 (note) Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 9:23 (note) And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, Romans 11:12 (note) Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! Romans 11:33 (note) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 2 Corinthians 8:2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. Ephesians 1:7 (note) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, Ephesians 1:18 (note) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 2:7 (note) in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:8 (note) To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, Ephesians 3:16 (note) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; Philippians 4:19 (note) And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:27 (note) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 2:2 (note) that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 1 Timothy 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Hebrews 11:26 (note) considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. James 5:2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Revelation 5:12 (note) saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." Revelation 18:17(note) for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!' And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance Comment: Note the striking contrast between the riches of the Lamb (Re 5:12) and those of the world system opposed to the Lamb! There are 70 uses of ploutos in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) 16" class="scriptRef">16" class="scriptRef">Gen. 31:16; 5.19" class="scriptRef">19" class="scriptRef">Deut. 33:19; 49.10" class="scriptRef">10" class="scriptRef">1 Sam. 2:10; 1 Ki. 3:11, 13; 10:23; 29.12" class="scriptRef">1 Chr. 29:12, 28" class="scriptRef">28; 2 Chr. 1:11f; 9:22; 17:5; 18" class="scriptRef">18.1" class="scriptRef">18:1; 32:27; Esther 1:4; 5:11; 10:2; Job 20:15, 18; 21:7; 31:25; Ps. 37:3, 16; 49:6, 10; 52:7; 62:10; 73:12; 76:5; 112:3; 119:14; Prov. 3:16; 8:18; 11:16, 28; 13:7f, 22f; 19:4; 21:17; 22:1, 4; 24:4; 28:8; 29:3; 30:8; 31:3, 29; Eccl. 4:8; 5:13f, 19; 6:2; 9:11; Isa. 16:14; 24:8; 29:2, 5, 7f; 30:6; 32:14, 18; 60:5, 16; 61:6; Jer. 9:23; 17:11; Dan. 11:2; Mic. 6:12; Haldane explains that Paul qualifies these three great attributes of God by referring to them as... the riches of His goodness, and long–suffering, and forbearance, to mark the greatness of their extent, their value and abundance, and to excite admiration in beholding a God all–powerful, who has no need of any of His creatures, and is infinitely exalted above them, striving for so long a period with an unrighteous, ungrateful, rebellious, and stiff–necked people, but striving with them by His goodness and patience. This language is also introduced to correct the false judgments of men on this patience of God; for they are apt, on this account, to imagine that there is no God. If, say they, God existed, He would not endure the wicked. They suppose that God does not exercise His providence in the government of the world, since He does not immediately punish their sins. To repress these impious thoughts, the Apostle holds forth this manner of God’s procedure as the riches of goodness and patience, in order that the impunity which it appears that sinners enjoy, might not be attributed to any wrong principle. (Haldane, R. An Exposition of Romans). John Piper writes of the riches of His kindness... Yes there is kindness in the midst of wrath. God is always doing more than one thing. Jesus said, "He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Mt 5:45-note). Paul said to the pagans of Lystra, "[God] did not leave Himself without a witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:17). He said this to people who were dying and suffering and sinning under the wrath of God. God warns with his wrath and he woos with his kindness. He speaks both languages: severity and tenderness. Do you recall how Jesus interpreted the coming of John the Baptist as a severe, leather-girded, locus-eating, desert-living, adultery -condemning prophet, on the one hand, and his own coming as a party-going, wine-making, child-healing, sin-forgiving savior, on the other hand? He said, "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn." Instead, you said, "John has a demon and Jesus is a glutton" (Mt 11:17). The gospel came with both languages, but they would not hear. O, unbeliever, God is speaking to you in your pain to warn you, and God is speaking to you in your pleasure to woo you. Don't misread the voice of God. Brian Bell - It is not the badness of man but the goodness of God that brings a person to repentance! So, me living with guilt on overload won’t do it?…Nope! How about Shame that would make a sailor blush?... Nope! The prodigal (Luke 15:11-32) came to repentance, not when he thought of his badness but of his father’s goodness! But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! (Lk.15:17) “When the dove was weary, she remembered the ark and flew into Noah's hand at once!” (Spurgeon) "Copy and paste the address below into your web browser in order to go to the original page which will allow you to access live links related to the material on this page - these links include Scriptures (which can be read in context), Scripture pop-ups on mouse over, and a variety of related resources such as Bible dictionary articles, commentaries, sermon notes and theological journal articles related to the topic under discussion."

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