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The 7 Deadly Sins of the Bible

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What are The 7 Deadly Sins of the Bible


Ten Commandments

The 7 Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins of the Bible
The 7 Deadly Sins of the Bible

Deadly Bible sins have always been popular areas of focus in the church. An early 2nd century document, the Didache, contains a list of five. Origen produced a sevenfold list and at the end of the 4th century Cassian amended this sevenfold list. Eventually, the Seven Deadly Sins (or Vices) we know today were defined in the 6th century by Pope Gregory the Great, as a set of negative values: the values that you are supposed to adopt is that you will avoid these things and actually adopt their opposites.

  1. Pride is an excessive belief in one's own abilities.
  2. Envy is wanting what others have, be it status, abilities, or possessions.
  3. Gluttony is the desire to eat or consume more than you require.
  4. Lust is a powerful craving for such as sex, power and money. 
  5. Anger is the loss of rational self-control and the desire to harm others.
  6. Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain.
  7. Sloth is laziness and the avoidance of work.



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Ten Commandments of God

7 Deadly Sins in the Bible List

The Seven Deadly Sins appear in Proverbs and were further identified by the Pope, but they are not a formal list in the Bible. Some people further say that some of the sins they can also be listed in Matthew's Gospel (chapters 5 through 7), but they are not in a simple list there either.. Others submit Proverbs 6:16-19, but this is a different list, covering pride, lies, murder, evil plans, swiftness in sin, lies again, causing conflict. Clearly not the same.

These sins were identified as a group around the same time as the Bible was being translated into a single language. Rather than these sins being identified in a single place in the Bible, they are found all through it, from Genesis to Revelation. The letters of the New Testament mention all of these, and many others as well. The Catechism has many Scriptural references in the section that lists the "Seven Deadly Sins." It is well to remember that the Scriptures come from the Jewish and Christian Churches, not the other way around. In both cases, faith preceded the writing.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (New International Version)

 16 There are six things the LORD hates,
       seven that are detestable to him:

 17 haughty eyes,
       a lying tongue,
       hands that shed innocent blood,

 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
       feet that are quick to rush into evil,

 19 a false witness who pours out lies
       and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Ten Commandments of God

The Seven Deadly Sins

The seven deadly sins are a list originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen man's tendency to sin. The misconception about the list of seven deadly; sins is that they are sins that God will not forgive. The Bible is clear that the only sin God will not forgive is that of continued unbelief, because it rejects the only means to obtain forgiveness Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross.

The church made a division between sins which were venial and could be forgiven without the need for the sacrament of Confession and those which were capital and merited damnation. Capital or Deadly Sins were so called because they could have a fatal effect on an individual's spiritual health. British wall paintings stressed the connection between committing the Deadly Sins and ending up in Hell.

You might imagine that the church would want to prevent people even thinking about such spiritually dangerous actions. But there were two good reasons why churchmen felt it was important to educate people:

  1. so that they would not commit these sins without realizing how serious they were
  2. so that they would be able to confess any such sins and gain absolution.

This desire to educate the laity about the Seven Deadly Sins can be particularly associated with the Fourth Lateran Council. This Council established the practice of annual confession for all, declaring that:

  • All the Faithful of both sexes shall, after they have reached the age of discretion, faithfully confess all their sins at least once a year to their own (parish) priest and perform to the best of their ability the penance imposed, receiving reverently at least at Easter the sacrament of the Eucharist, unless perchance at the advice of their priest they may for a good reason abstain for a time from its reception; otherwise they shall be cut off from the Church during life and deprived of Christian burial in death. Wherefore, let this salutary decree be published frequently in the churches, that no one may find in the plea of ignorance a shadow of excuse.
  • Let the priest be discreet and cautious that he may pour wine and oil into the wounds of one injured after the manner of a skilful physician, carefully inquiring into the circumstances of the sinner and sin, from the nature of which he may understand what kind of advice to give and what remedy to apply, making use of different experiments to heal the sick one.


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