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Holman Bible Dictionary


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The Greek form of a Syriac or Aramaic word for “money,” “riches,” “property,” “worldly goods,” or “profit.” In general use it was a personification of riches as an evil spirit or deity. From about 1500 it has been current in English as indicating the evil influence of wealth. The word is not used in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it is used only by Jesus (Matthew 6:24 ; Luke 16:9 ,Luke 16:9,16:11 ,Luke 16:11,16:13 ). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” He meant that no one can be a slave of God and worldly wealth at the same time. The undivided concentration of mind to money-getting is incompatible with wholehearted devotion to God and to His service (Colossians 3:5 ). In the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 15:1-13 ), Jesus commended the steward's foresight, not his method. His object was to point out how one may best use wealth, tainted or otherwise, with a view to the future. See Steward.

Ray Robbins

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Mammon'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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