The Bible & 7 Deadly Sins, Fact or Fiction?
The seven deadly sins are a series of sins that are said to be deadly, or fatal, to the soul and often give rise to other sins.
When it comes to the Bible, there are a few things to note:
- First and foremost, these sins are not deadly in the sense that they will outright kill you. However, they can lead to serious consequences.
- Secondly, these sins are not necessarily bad in and of themselves. It is only when they are taken to an extreme and abused that they become problems.
- Lastly, fact or fiction? Fact; to a degree. Though the sins themselves are found within the Bible, they are not explicitly mentioned as the “seven deadly sins.”
The seven deadly sins are also known as the seven cardinal sins, mortal sins or the capital vices and while “deadly” may sound terribly alarming, we must recognize that these sins are all forgivable in eyes of God through the shed innocent blood of Jesus Christ at the cross.
Generally Speaking, What is Sin?
Sin is an immoral act, generally against divine, religious, or moral law. While the Lord hates sin, as mentioned above, all sins (but one!) are forgivable in His eyes.
Among others, this passage describes a few of the sins we should avoid throughout life and our journey in faith:
With that said, let’s take a closer look at each of the seven deadly sins.
Lust is typically defined as an intense desire or longing, particularly regarding sexual desire; An uncontrolled or illicit sexual appetite accompanied by strong feelings of physical attraction.
While lust can be a healthy and normal part of a relationship, it can also become problematic if it starts to take over. Lust becomes not just a passing feeling, but an obsession, it can be damaging to both individuals involved and to the relationship itself. If you find yourself consumed by lustful thoughts or behaviors, it may be time to seek help. With proper attention, you can learn to manage your lustful feelings in a healthy way.
Particularly for people outside of a relationship, this can lead to an obsession with the object of their desire and (though not exclusive to an individual that is single) sometimes promote an urge to commit adultery.
While lust is often associated with negative connotations, it’s not always a bad thing. Many people believe that lust is essential for keeping the spark alive in a relationship and without it, a relationship may quickly become stagnant and unfulfilling. So while lust shouldn’t be allowed to control you, it can still play an important role in your life.
Examples of Lust in the Bible
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Galatians 5:19, KJV
25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
Proverbs 6:25. NKJV
4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Hebrews 13:4, NIV
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
Ephesians 5:3, ESV
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Matthew 5:28, KJV
18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18, ESV
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, NIV
16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
1 John 2:16, NIV
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Colossians 3:5, NLT
13 You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:13, NLT
Gluttony is often defined as overindulgence or excess, particularly when it comes to food and drink, and is often portrayed as a sin of self-indulgence similar to greed. However, some religious scholars argue that gluttony places an excessive focus on worldly pleasures in general. In either case, gluttony is seen as a detrimental force that can lead to physical and spiritual destruction. Excessive consumption can lead to obesity and other health problems, preventing people from focusing on more important things in life. For this reason, many religions encourage moderation in all things, including food.
For some, gluttony may be a form of self-comfort or self-medication. While overeating is not a crime, those who exhibit gluttonous behavior may be looked down upon by others and create a cycle of overindulgence as many cultures have a stigma attached to being overweight or obese, and those who struggle with these issues may feel ashamed or embarrassed.
If you think you may be struggling with gluttony, there are plenty of resources available to help you get on the path to recovery. With proper treatment and support, you can overcome this challenge and live a healthier life.
Examples of Gluttony in the Bible
23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Luke 12:23, NIV
12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”
Titus 1:12, ESV
20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Proverbs 23:20-21, KJV
20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.”
Deuteronomy 21:20, NIV
2 If you are a big eater,
put a knife to your throat;
3 don’t desire all the delicacies,
for he might be trying to trick you.
Proverbs 23:2-3, NLT
49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
Ezekiel 16:49, ESV
17 But they sinned even more against Him
By rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness.
18 And they tested God in their heart
By asking for the food of their fancy.
Psalm 78:17-18, NKJV
7 A discerning son heeds instruction,
but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
Proverbs 28:7, NIV
Greed is an intense and selfish desire, particularly for wealth, power and possessions in general. Greedy people are never satisfied with what they have and are always craving more, often characterized by a willingness to take advantage of others, and an inability to appreciate what they already have. It can lead to feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction, as well as envy and resentment towards others. It can also cause financial problems, as someone greedy is often willing to spend beyond their means to get what they want.
Greed can lead to a number of negative consequences, such as corruption, exploitation, and even violence. In many ways, greed is the opposite of generosity. Where greedy people are always looking out for themselves, generous people are willing to share what they have with others. Generosity is often seen as a virtue, while greed is considered a vice.
Ultimately, greed is all about self-interest and putting one’s own needs above everyone else’s. While it may provide some short-term “benefits,” in the long run it often leads to trouble.
Examples of Greed in the Bible
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
Psalm 10:3, ESV
27 The greedy bring ruin to their households,
but the one who hates bribes will live.
Proverbs 15:27, NIV
9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:9-10, NLT
25 He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.
Proverbs 28:25, NKJV
36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
Psalm 119:36, KJV
26 All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing.
Proverbs 21:26. NIV
36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
Mark 8:36, ESV
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Luke 12:15, KJV
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
Matthew 6:24, NLT
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
Matthew 23:25, NKJV
Sloth is often defined as physical laziness, but it can also refer to a lack of mental or emotional effort. It is generally considered to be a vice, as it leads to spiritual apathy and discourages people from doing good works. Sloth can also be damaging to relationships, as it inhibits communication and connection. When people are lazy in their interactions with others, it can lead to misunderstanding and conflict.
Sloth is a serious problem because it prevents us from doing the things that God has called us to do. We are called to be faithful witnesses for Christ, but slothful Christians are often ineffective at sharing the gospel. We are also called to serve others in need, but slothful Christians often turn a blind eye to suffering around them and the effort it involves.
If we want to be faithful followers of Christ, we must overcome the sin of sloth and learn to love others, as it is a destructive force that prevents people from reaching their full potential.
Examples of Sloth in the Bible
10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-11, NIV
15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
Proverbs 19:15, KJV
10 His watchmen are blind,
They are all ignorant;
They are all dumb dogs,
They cannot bark;
Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Isaiah 56:10, NKJV
12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
Hebrews 6:12, NIV
19 The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
but the path of the upright is a level highway.
Proverbs 15:19, ESV
18 Laziness leads to a sagging roof;
idleness leads to a leaky house.
Ecclesiastes 10:18, NLT
24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
Proverbs 12:24. KJV
4 Lazy people want much but get little,
but those who work hard will prosper.
Proverbs 13:4, NLT
9 And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.
Judges 18:9, KJV
Wrath is often associated with anger and can be defined as a strong, intense emotion such as hatred, rage or fury. It’s characterized by feelings of hostility, aggression and a need for vengeance.
When someone is in a state of wrath, they may act out in violence or say things that they later regret. Wrath can also be seen as a form of self-righteous justice. When someone has been wronged, they may feel wrathful towards the person who harmed them and in some cases, this can lead to a desire for revenge. However, it’s important to remember that wrath should not be confused with justice, as justice is about seeking fairness and balance, whereas wrath is often about seeking retaliation.
When left unchecked, wrath can lead to dangerous and destructive behaviors, such as verbal abuse, physical violence, and even murder. Because it is so destructive, wrath is considered one of the deadliest of all sins. Those who are consumed by wrath are often blinded by their rage and unable to see reason or act in their own best interests. As a result, they can cause great harm to themselves and others.
If you find yourself feeling wrathful, it’s important to take a step back and assess the situation before acting on your emotions. Remember that there’s a difference between revenge and justice, and make sure that your actions are aligned with your desired outcome while reflecting on what would be appropriate in the eyes of God.
Examples of Wrath in the Bible
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Ephesians 4:31, KJV
26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
Ephesians 4:26, NIV
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
Psalm 37:8, ESV
4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
Proverbs 11:4, NKJV
20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
James 1:20, NLT
3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.
Psalm 85:3, KJV
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1, NIV
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4, ESV
Envy is defined as the longing for someone else’s possessions, qualities, or “luck.” Envy is different from jealousy in that it is not necessarily motivated by fear or insecurity. Instead, it is driven by a desire to have what someone else has.
Envy can be a very destructive force, leading people to resent those who are successful and sabotage their happiness in an attempt to bring others down. It can also lead to conflicts and toxic relationships that damage important bonds with others that may not be reconciled for a lifetime.
If left unchecked, envy can poison a person’s entire outlook on life. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome this deadly sin:
- By recognizing the roots of envy and learning to be content with what one has and cultivating compassion for others; it is possible to break free from the cycle of envy and live a fuller, more joyful life.
- Envy is often considered a destructive emotion because it can lead to negative thoughts and actions, but it can also be used in positive ways. For example, feelings of envy can motivate you to work harder to achieve your own goals.
If you cannot shake your envious emotions, try channeling your envy in healthy ways, as it can be a powerful force for good in your life.
Examples of Envy in the Bible
30 A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.
Proverbs 14:30, ESV
2 Resentment kills a fool,
and envy slays the simple.
Job 5:2, NIV
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1 Corinthians 3:3, KJV
4 Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood,
but jealousy is even more dangerous.
Proverbs 27:4, NLT
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
1 Corinthians 13:4, NKJV
14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
James 3:14-16, ESV
4 And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Ecclesiastes 4:4, NIV
1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Psalm 37:1-2, KJV
17 “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
Exodus 20:17, NLT
Pride is often thought of as a positive trait, a sign of strength and self-assurance. However, in the Christian tradition, pride is considered a sin because it leads to an excessive love of self, and a desire to judge and place oneself above others (sometimes including even God!). After all, pride is the root of all sin, and it is the reason we fell from grace in the first place.
When we are proud, we believe that we are better than others, and worthy of more respect and admiration. This can lead us to act in ways that are selfish and arrogant, looking down on those who are different from us. Pride can also lead us to believe that we are invulnerable and that we do not need help or support from others. As a result, pride can make us blind to our own weaknesses and shortcomings. It can also make us resistant and stubborn to change, unwilling to admit when we are wrong.
When pride goes unchecked, it can damage relationships and lead to conflict. It is an attitude of superiority that puts us in competition with God, leading us to believe that we are better than others and deserving of special treatment.
Ultimately, pride is a destructive force that prevents us from living humbly and in harmony with others. If we want to live a life free from sin, we need to learn humility and put our trust in God.
Examples of Pride in the Bible
5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5, KJV
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,
Jeremiah 9:23, ESV
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Psalm 10:4, NIV
16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
Romans 12:16, NLT
16 Your fierceness has deceived you,
The pride of your heart,
O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock,
Who hold the height of the hill!
Though you make your nest as high as the eagle,
I will bring you down from there,” says the Lord.
Jeremiah 49:16, NKJV
3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Galatians 6:3, KJV
2 Pride leads to disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2, NLT
6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6, ESV
18 Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18, NIV
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
Proverbs 8:13, NKJV
Key Takeaways on The Bible and the 7 Deadly Sins
- The 7 deadly sins – pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, lust – are woven throughout the Bible as vices to avoid.
- Each sin taken to the extreme can damage spiritual life and relationships. But in moderation, some have positive aspects.
- Scripture shows how the 7 sins manifest through attitudes like arrogance, hostility, selfishness, excess, and obsession.
- Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross offers redemption from all sins for those who repent and believe in Him, including the 7 deadly sins.
- Confessing sins and rejecting them through the power of the Holy Spirit enables freedom from their grip.
- Biblical virtues like humility, charity, patience, temperance, and diligence counteract and provide balance to the 7 deadly sins.
- Accounts of biblical figures highlight the destruction caused when deadly sins go unchecked versus the hope in repenting.
- The Bible teaches the 7 deadly sins stem from separation from God. A restored relationship with Him brings freedom from sin.
- Scripture points towards renewing our minds, focusing on eternity, and relying on grace to overcome worldly vices.
The Seven Deadly Sins Concluded
We must always keep these vices in mind and recognize that we have all sinned; it’s something that we are born into this world doing. We sin when we disobey God, disobey His commands, disobey His Word, and we sin when we rebel against Him in our thoughts and actions. Don’t be fooled, everyone in the Christian faith sins and none of us are perfect.
If we are to be saved from our sins, we must first turn away from them. Our natural inclination may be to do what we please, however, if we truly want to be forgiven we must take the first step and turn away from our sinful ways. But, there is hope for us through our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross to forgive us of our sins. He took our punishment so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life with Him. If you confess your sins and ask for forgiveness, He will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
We need to be honest with God in regards to our choices and ask for His forgiveness. He is always willing to forgive us, but we must first be willing to turn away from sin and towards Him.
The Seven Virtues
Conversely, each of the seven deadly sins has a virtue that “balances the equation.” These vary by scholars and acknowledgments but are commonly known as:
Redemption through Jesus Christ
When Jesus died on the cross, He took all of our sins upon Himself. He was the perfect sacrifice, and His death was the price of our redemption. Because of this sacrifice, we can be forgiven and have new life in Christ. So when you are feeling lost and struggling to forgive yourself, remember that you have already been forgiven. You are loved and you are not alone. Turn to Jesus and find peace in His forgiveness.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17, NIV
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
1 Peter 2:24, NKJV
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 5:6-8, NLT
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10, KJV
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14, ESV
What are the 7 deadly sins according to the Bible?
The 7 sins the Bible warns against are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. These manifest in attitudes of superiority, excess, hate, discontentment, and laziness.
Where in the Bible are the 7 deadly sins listed?
The list is not explicitly given but the sins are illustrated through accounts of biblical figures and verses warning against attitudes like lust, gluttony, greed, pride, and hatred.
Are the 7 deadly sins forgivable?
Yes, through faith in Jesus Christ, all sins including the 7 deadly sins are forgivable. The Bible teaches God graciously offers redemption to all who repent and believe.
What is the biblical remedy for the 7 deadly sins?
Scripture gives remedies like cultivating opposite virtues, prayer, Scripture meditation, accountability, self-control via the Holy Spirit, and centering thoughts on eternity.
How does the Bible say we should respond to deadly sin?
The Bible advises honestly confessing sins, repenting through the power of the Holy Spirit, fleeing from temptation, producing spiritual fruits, and embracing Christ’s forgiveness.
What are examples of the 7 deadly sins in the Bible?
Examples include the early church’s greed in Acts 5, rich fool’s gluttony in Luke 12, Cain’s envy and wrath in Genesis 4, King David’s lust and pride in 2 Samuel 11-12.
What are the virtues that counteract the 7 deadly sins?
Opposite virtues include humility, generosity, purity, gratitude, temperance, patience, and diligence to counter pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.
How does Jesus’ sacrifice relate to the 7 deadly sins?
Jesus’ sacrifice provides full atonement and cleansing from all sins including deadly ones for those who believe in Him as Savior. This empowers freedom from their grip.
What is the biblical punishment for 7 deadly sins?
Scripture warns unchecked deadly sins lead to brokenness in this life. The ultimate consequence is spiritual death without Jesus. But there is grace available to all who repent.
What are key Bible verses about the 7 deadly sins?
Ephesians 5:3-5, Matthew 23:25, Proverbs 6:16-19, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Galatians 5:19-21, James 3:14-16, and 1 John 2:15-17.
For more articles on biblical themes, please reference our articles here.
This article references verses written from the King James Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), English Standard Version (ESV), and New King James Version (NKJV) translations of the Bible.