What does 1 Timothy 6:9 mean?This verse describes three things that happen to those whose desire is wealth. First, although every person is tempted in some way, those who desire wealth "fall" to temptation. The urge to "get rich," or to seek material prosperity at all costs, leads to disaster. In contrast, believers are to resist temptation and live for Christ.
Second, those who desire to be rich fall "into a snare." The Greek word Paul uses here is pagida: an animal trap, usually set with a rope or net, used to capture an animal lured in by bait. In a similar way, those who desired riches followed temptation until it led to doom. This is another hallmark of Christian teaching on sin and morality: Satan will often use temptations to "lure" us away from what we should be doing, in order to trap us in the consequences of our own sin (Psalm 119:110; 2 Timothy 2:26).
The third point is closely related to the second. Longing for riches amplifies the strength of other temptations. Though not explicitly listed here, some of these could include the urge to cheat, steal, or lie in order to increase one's income. History is filled with examples of people who used dishonesty, crime, or deception in an effort to become rich. This also repeats a character flaw Paul associated with false teachers (1 Timothy 6:4–6).
These temptations "plunge people into ruin and destruction." Desiring wealth can both ruin a person's life and in some cases lead to a premature death. Greed can lead to the destruction of one's personal relationships, physical health, and spiritual health. And, it can lead to more immediate, serious consequences. These include involvement in crime, pains and suffering for our friends and family, and even the revenge of other greedy people.