Inordinate or rapacious desire. The Hebrew verb cha·madhʹ and the Greek verb e·pi·thy·meʹo both mean “desire.” (Ps 68:16; Mt 13:17) Sometimes these words may, according to the context, convey a bad, selfish desire. (Ex 20:17; Ro 7:7) The Greek word ple·o·ne·xiʹa literally means “a desire to have more” and is used in the Bible to denote “greediness” and “covetousness.”—Eph 4:19; 5:3, ftn; Col 3:5.
Greed can manifest itself in love of money, desire for power or gain, or voraciousness for food and drink, sex, or other material things. The Scriptures warn Christians against this degrading trait and command that they should avoid association with anyone calling himself a Christian “brother” who practices greediness. (1Co 5:9-11) Greedy persons are classed with fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, men kept for unnatural purposes, thieves, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners, and indeed, greedy persons generally practice some of these things. If an individual does not turn away from his greediness, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God.—1Co 6:9, 10.
In condemnation of foolish talking and obscene jesting, the apostle Paul commands that fornication and uncleanness or greediness “not even be mentioned among you.” This may mean that not only should such practices not exist among Christians but also that they should not even be a topic of their conversation for the purpose of gratifying the flesh.—Eph 5:3; compare Php 4:8.
Becomes Manifest in Actions. Greediness will manifest itself in some overt act that will reveal the individual’s wrong and inordinate desire. The Bible writer James tells us that wrong desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin. (Jas 1:14, 15) The greedy person can therefore be detected by his actions. The apostle Paul states that being a greedy person means being an idolater. (Eph 5:5) In his greedy desire such a one makes the thing desired his god, putting it above the service and worship of the Creator.—Ro 1:24, 25.
Alienates From God. Christians have come out from a world filled with all forms of bad conduct. Paul points out that not only are such things carried on but also that they are pursued with greediness, greedily sought after. Persons practicing these things are “alienated from the life that belongs to God.” Those becoming Christians find that Christ their Exemplar was free of such things, and hence they must make their minds over, putting on the new Christian personality. (Eph 4:17-24; Ro 12:2) At the same time they are living among greedy persons of the world and must be careful to maintain cleanness as illuminators in the world.—1Co 5:9, 10; Php 2:14, 15.
Greediness for dishonest gain would disqualify a man from being a ministerial servant in the Christian congregation. (1Ti 3:8) Since such men are to stand before the congregation as examples, it follows that the principle would apply to all members of the congregation. (1Pe 5:2, 3) Especially is this seen to be true in the light of Paul’s statement that greedy persons will not inherit the Kingdom.—Eph 5:5.
Covetousness. When greediness has as its object that which belongs to another, it becomes covetousness. In the Christian Greek Scriptures the same Greek word is used for “greediness” and “covetousness.” Jesus Christ stated that covetousness defiles a man (Mr 7:20-23) and warned against it. He followed this warning with the illustration of the covetous rich man who, at death, no longer had benefit from or control of his wealth and was also in the lamentable state of not being “rich toward God.” (Lu 12:15-21) Christians are told that their life is “hidden with the Christ” and that they must therefore deaden their body members as respects covetousness, hurtful desire, and all uncleannesses.—Col 3:3, 5.