What are the Seven Deadly Sins?

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Question: What are the seven deadly sins? Where are they in the Bible?

Answer:  The Bible does not have a list called 'the seven deadly sins.' A Catholic Church monk around the 4th century A.D. likely started this list. It is not so much a collection of the worst offenses man can commit, as it is a list of what Roman Catholics consider are the seven most sinful attitudes that are the basis for all OTHER sin. The most common list of sins (attitudes) considered "deadly" are - Wrath, Greed, Lust, Pride, Envy, Sloth and Gluttony.

The nearest thing in the Old Testament to a list of seven transgressions considered bad is in the sixth chapter of the book of Proverbs. Solomon writes that God hates the following.

  1. Someone who is full of pride

  2. Liars

  3. People who murder the innocent

  4. People who constantly devise ways to do evil

  5. People who are eager to do wrong

  6. Those who bear false testimony against another

  7. Those who seek to pull people apart through sowing seeds of contention, discord, etc.

The only thing clearly in common, however, between the list of what God hates and what Catholic's believe are the seven worst sins is the attitude of Pride.

The New Testament has at least two lists that delineate bad behavior. These lists, once again, are very different from that of the seven deadly sins. The first list is found in 1Corinthians 6:9 - 10. The apostle Paul states that the following people will NOT receive eternal life - adulterers, thieves, drunkards, extortioners, the covetous and so on.

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The second list, found in Galatians 5:19 - 21, again states that those who do practice the following will NOT be in God's kingdom - fornication, idolatry, sorcery, outbursts of wrath, those who spread dissensions and heresies, those who have selfish ambitions, those who are contentious, and still others.

Ultimately, the Bible teaches that ANY sin, unrepented of, brings the death penalty. We might grade sin but God does not.  ANY sin is deadly! The Bible defines sin as the transgression of ANY of the laws of God, which includes the ten commandments (1John 2:3 - 4, 3:4).

All mankind, from the greatest to the least, sins (Galatians 3:22). And the penalty for sinning is DEATH (Romans 6:23). Thankfully, God has provided a way to be forgiven - through the unselfish sacrifice of Christ (Romans 5:8).

God does not stop at only forgiving us. He promises there will come a time when He will decide NOT to remember them FOREVER!

"No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they ALL shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, AND THEIR SIN I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

Thank you for your question regarding the seven deadly sins.

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