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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Covet, Covetous, Covetousness

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A — 1: ἐπιθυμέω
(Strong's #1937 — Verb — epithumeo — ep-ee-thoo-meh'-o )

"to fix the desire upon" (epi, "upon," used intensively, thumos, "passion"), whether things good or bad; hence, "to long for, lust after, covet," is used with the meaning "to covet evilly" in Acts 20:33 , of "coveting money and apparel;" so in Romans 7:7 ; 13:9 . See DESIRE , FAIN , LUST.

A — 2: ζηλόω
(Strong's #2206 — Verb — zeloo — dzay-lo'-o )

is rendered "covet earnestly," in 1 Corinthians 12:31 , AV; RV, "desire earnestly," as in 1 Corinthians 14:39 (AV "covet"). See AFFECT , DESIRE , ENVY , JEALOUS , ZEALOUS.

A — 3: ὀρέγω
(Strong's #3713 — Verb — orego — or-eg'-om-ahee )

"to stretch after," is rendered "covet after" in 1 Timothy 6:10 , AV; RV, "reaching after." See DESIRE , REACH.

B — 1: ἐπιθυμητής
(Strong's #1938 — Noun Masculine — epithumetes — ep-ee-thoo-may-tace' )

"a luster after" (akin to A, No. 1), is translated in 1 Corinthians 10:6 , in verbal form, "should not lust after." See LUST.

B — 2: ἐπιθυμία
(Strong's #1939 — Noun Feminine — epithumia — ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah )

denotes "coveting," Romans 7:7,8 , RV; AV, "lust" and "concupiscence;" the commandment here referred to convicted him of sinfulness in his desires for unlawful objects besides that of gain. See DESIRE , LUST.

B — 3: πλεονεξία
(Strong's #4124 — Noun Feminine — pleonexia — pleh-on-ex-ee'-ah )

"covetousness," lit., "a desire to have more" (pleon, "more," echo, "to have"), always in a bad sense, is used in a general way in Mark 7:22 (plural, lit., "covetings," i.e., various ways in which "covetousness" shows itself); Romans 1:29 ; Ephesians 5:3 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:5 . Elsewhere it is used, (a) of material possessions, Luke 12:15 ; 2 Peter 2:3 ; 2 Corinthians 9:5 (RV, "extortion"), lit., "as (a matter of) extortion" i.e., a gift which betrays the giver's unwillingness to bestow what is due; (b) of sensuality, Ephesians 4:19 , "greediness;" Colossians 3:5 (where it is called "idolatry"); 2 Peter 2:14 (AV, "covetous practices"). See EXTORTION.

Note: Cp. the corresponding verb pleonekteo, "to gain, take advantage of wrong." See ADVANTAGE , DEFRAUD , GAIN , B, Note (2), WRONG.

C — 1: πλεονέκτης
(Strong's #4123 — Noun Masculine — pleonektes — pleh-on-ek'-tace )

lit., "(eager) to have more" (see B, No. 3), i.e., to have what belongs to others; hence, "greedy of gain, covetous," 1 Corinthians 5:10,11 ; 6:10 ; Ephesians 5:5 ("covetous man").

C — 2: φιλάργυρος
(Strong's #5366 — Adjective — philarguros — fil-ar'-goo-ros )

lit., "money-loving," is rendered "covetous" in the AV of Luke 16:14 ; 2 Timothy 3:2 ; RV, "lovers of money," the wider and due significance.

C — 3: ἀφιλάργυρος
(Strong's #866 — Adjective — aphilarguros — af-il-ar'-goo-ros )

No. 2, with negative prefix, is translated "without covetousness" in Hebrews 13:5 , AV; RV, "free from the love of money." In 1 Timothy 3:3 , the AV has "not covetous," the RV, "no lover of money."

Note: Trench, Syn. 24, points out the main distinction between pleonexia and philarguria as being that between "covetousness" and avarice, the former having a much wider and deeper sense, being "the genus of which philarguria is the species." The "covetous" man is often cruel as well as grasping, while the avaricious man is simply miserly and stinting.

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Covet, Covetous, Covetousness'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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