What Are The 7 Deadly Sins In The Bible?

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Published by Kimberly Wall

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Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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In the heavens, before Creation, a radiant being named Lucifer, the Morning Star, basked in the splendor of his celestial abode. His brilliance outshone the surrounding stars, and he reveled in his unparalleled beauty and wisdom.

As the music of the heavens played, a seed of desire sprouted within Lucifer—a desire to ascend beyond his appointed station and rival the very throne of God.

Isaiah 14:12–15 tells of Lucifer’s audacious proclamation: ‘I will be like the Most High.’ In this drama, Lucifer’s pride blossomed into rebellion. The desire to be God’s equal, or perhaps even surpass the Almighty, became a consuming fire within him.

The narrative unfolds as Lucifer rallies disobedient angels to his cause, challenging the divine order. The connection to the Seven Deadly Sins lies in Lucifer’s original deadly sin—pride.

What Are The 7 Deadly Sins In The Bible?

While absent from a single biblical passage, the seven Deadly Sins[1] find their roots in Christian teachings. This compilation of vices, identified by theologians and writers over centuries, serves as a moral compass.

Encompassing a range of transgressions, this list navigates the complexities of human behavior, revealing a moral framework deeply ingrained in religious traditions and shaping ethical discourse across time.

Lust

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

— Matthew 5:28
  • Intense or inappropriate desire, often of a sexual nature
  • Engaging in extramarital affairs or consuming explicit and inappropriate content

Gluttony

Do not be among the drunks or gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.

— Proverbs 23:20-21
  • Excessive consumption of food or drink
  • Constantly overeating, especially to the point of harming one’s health

Greed

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

— 1 Timothy 6:10
  • Excessive desire for material wealth or possessions
  • Exploiting others for financial gain, hoarding wealth without consideration for those in need

Sloth

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

— Ecclesiastes 9:10
  • Laziness in doing one’s work and duties
  • A chronic avoidance of work and responsibilities, which leads to stagnation

Wrath

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

— Proverbs 15:1
  • Intense and violent anger or resentment
  • Seeking revenge and harboring intense anger lead to destructive actions

Envy

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

— Proverbs 14:30
  • Jealousy or resentment of others’ qualities, achievements, or possessions
  • Feeling bitterness and resentment toward someone else’s success or possessions

Pride

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

— Proverbs 16:18
  • Excessive belief in one’s own abilities or importance, often leading to arrogance
  • Arrogance and an inflated sense of self-importance, refusing to acknowledge one’s faults
men wearing suits gambling

Where Did The 7 Deadly Sins Originate?

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

— Proverbs 6:16-19

The concept of the seven deadly sins and other sins holds profound historical significance, stemming from a mix of biblical, theological, and literary origins.

Crucial to its development are three pivotal narratives: Isaiah 14:12–15, detailing the fall of Lucifer, a defiant angel aspiring to surpass God; the saga of Adam and Eve’s descent; and the writings of Pope Gregory I. These sins are generally considered offenses against religious or moral law.

Isaiah 14:12–15, sourced from the Hebrew Bible, unveils Lucifer’s rebellion, shedding light on the roots of this enduring moral framework woven into the fabric of religious and cultural narratives.

The passage describes his pride, a sin that is often associated with the first of the deadly seven sins, namely, pride itself. Lucifer’s desire for self-glorification and independence from God set the stage for the theological understanding of pride as a cardinal sin.

The Fall of Adam and Eve, as recounted in the Book of Genesis, is another foundational narrative for the seven deadly sins. In a pivotal moment in human history, Adam and Eve, our first parents, yielded to the serpent’s allure in the Garden of Eden, breaching divine instructions.

This disobedience caused the original sin that initiated an enduring human battle against immorality. The Genesis tale reveals its perpetual relevance to human conduct and behavior.

Pope Gregory I, in the 6th century, played a crucial role in shaping the list of the seven deadly sins as we know them today. In his influential work “Moralia in Job,” Gregory compiled a list of vices and mortal sins that became the foundation for the seven deadly or cardinal sins.

He consolidated and codified previous theological teachings, emphasizing the importance of addressing these specific sins to lead a virtuous life. The sins he identified—pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust—captured various aspects of human behavior that were seen as deviating from a righteous path.

What Can Cure These Deadly Sins?

Here are several principles and practices that believers may follow to overcome these deadly sins:

1. Repentance. Acknowledge and confess your sins, seeking forgiveness from God. The process of repentance involves genuine remorse and a commitment to change.

2. Prayer. Regular and unceasing prayer is seen as a way to strengthen one’s connection with God. We seek guidance and gain the strength to resist sinful temptations from the enemy.

3. Fasting. When we abstain or refrain from certain foods or activities as a spiritual endeavor, we please God. For a certain period, this practice enhances our indwelling Holy Spirit to discipline and develop our self-control.

4. Humility. Cultivate a humble attitude by recognizing your limitations and shortcomings. Pride, in particular, can be countered by fostering humility.

5. Charity and Generosity. Exemplifying kindness, generosity, and love can counteract greed and envy. The Bible exhorts us to share with those in need as a way to help others rather than pursue selfish desires.

6. Self-Discipline. Fostering self-control can help vanquish various sins. This may involve setting boundaries, establishing healthy habits, and resisting impulsive behaviors.

7. Gratitude. Practicing gratitude can counteract feelings of discontent and greed. By focusing on what one is grateful for, individuals can develop a more positive and content mindset.

8. Biblical Guidance. Studying the Bible and incorporating its teachings into one’s life can provide guidance on how to live in a way that aligns with Christian principles.

Does God Forgive The 7 Deadly Sins?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

— 1 John 1:9

Yes, God forgives any person who commits any of the deadly sins. The good news is that Christian teachings emphasize the idea of forgiveness through repentance and God’s mercy. In the Bible, David, Paul, and others crossed God but were given reprieve after repenting.

If someone recognizes their mistakes, repents, asks for forgiveness, and makes an effort to change their ways, God forgives and extends mercy. The Bible highlights God’s compassion and willingness to forgive, emphasizing qualities like being slow to anger and abounding in love.

How To Deal With The Guilt Of Sin

Dealing with guilt over sin is a common concern for many people, and the Bible provides guidance on how to address this issue. Here are some key principles based on biblical teachings:

Confession And Repentance

Acknowledge your sins before God. Confession involves admitting your wrongdoing and being genuinely sorry for it.

Psalm 32:5 says, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Seek God’s Forgiveness

Understand and trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Accept God’s Grace

Know that believing in Christ Jesus brings salvation and forgiveness. Ephesians 2:8–9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.”

Learn And Grow

Use your experience of guilt as an opportunity for spiritual growth. Allow God to transform you. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Forgive Yourself

Understand that God’s forgiveness is complete, and once you’ve confessed and repented, forgive yourself. Philippians 3:13–14 encourages us to forget what is behind us and press on toward the goal.

Avoid Repeat Offenses

Strive to live a life that honors God and avoids the same sins. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).

Embrace God’s Love

Know that God loves you deeply. Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Community And Accountability

Surround yourself with a supportive Christian community. Having accountability partners can help you stay on the right path. James 5:16 encourages confessing your sins to one another.

snake slithering down statue of green alligator tail

Conclusion

In the biblical perspective, all sin carries the weighty consequence of death and eternal estrangement from God without a hierarchical grading of transgressions. Yet, the promise of redemption shines through divine grace, repentance, and embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The remedy for these sins lies in receiving a new heart, a transformative gift from God that aligns with His love and law. Quoting Ezekiel 36:26–27, this new heart, empowered by the Holy Spirit, enables individuals to walk in God’s statutes and judgments, offering humanity its sole prospect of redemption and eternal life. 

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