Can the 7 deadly sins be found in scripture?

The 7 Deadly or Capital Sins are not found in a list, per se, in the Bible, but rather are part of Church Tradition, dating back to the early Church and especially St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. These sins are considered deadly or capital (from the Latin word for head; caput). In the Bible, there are examples of lists of sins, such as Proverbs 6:16-19 and Galatians 5:19-21, however, these are not specifically the 7 Deadly sins of pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth (acedia), as they are enumerated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1866. At various points in the Bible, all 7 of these sins are proscribed. Traditionally, the Church has also provided virtues that counteract these deadly sins. They are humility (vs. pride), generosity (vs. avarice), love/charity (vs. envy), kindness (vs. wrath), self-control/chastity (lust), temperance (vs. gluttony), and zeal (vs. sloth).

Joe Paprocki

Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).


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