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Mounce Archive 29 — Money Bags (Luke 10:4; 12:33; 22:35, 36)

Categories Mondays with Mounce

Jesus says, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out” (NIV; cf. NRSV, NLT, NET).

I don’t know about you, but I don’t carry a purse. Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn’t even carry my wife’s purse unless I grab the straps in a way that makes it clear the purse isn’t mine. And unlike some of my friends, I don’t carry a “man-bag.”

The other problem with “moneybag” is that the similar “moneybags” is used pejoratively for a wealthy person.

The problem is that there really isn’t a word in English for this. The ESV has “moneybag” (also HCSB), but that’s what a cowboy straps to the side of the horse behind the saddle. KJV has “bags,” but today that sounds like what we carry our groceries in.

A βαλλάντιον was made of woven cotton or rushes, or were made of leather. They were “baglike, drawn together at the neck with leather straps or strong cords” (IDB 3:971). They were on a smaller side, as I recall carried on the waist, often under the outer garment (see

So they were bigger than a wallet and not carried in a back pocket. They weren’t a “clutch.” What other word is there in English?

What about “money pouch”? Any ideas? I would really like to know if there is another word or phrase. Thanks for your help.


William D. [Bill] Mounce posts about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics on the ZA Blog. He is the author of numerous works including the recent Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures and the bestselling Basics of Biblical Greek. He is the general editor of Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words. He served as the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version Bible translation, and is currently on the Committee for Bible Translation for the NIV.

Learn more about Bill's Greek resources at and visit his blog on spiritual growth at

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