What are the origin and meaning of the words greed is idolatry found in Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5 ? In what sense are the greedy guilty of idolatry? Many different answers have been given to this question throughout the history of interpretation. In fact, a consensus exists on only one score - that the expression serves to blacken greed. Brian Rosner takes up the challenge of interpretation by tackling the phrase as a metaphor. With an in-depth study of the text from this vantage point, he concludes that the comparison of greed with idolatry teaches that to desire to acquire and keep for oneself more material goods is an attack on God's exclusive rights to human love, trust, and obedience. Rosner's work here has profound implications for theology and ethics today.
Brian S Rosner is Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Ethics at Moore Theological College and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Ancient History at Macquarie University in Sydney.