Gluttony

Preaching and Worship Resources about Gluttony

Gluttony is inordinate indulgence in or preoccupation with food or drink. At first, gluttony seems too banal to count as a deadly sin. Could beaming grandmothers with steaming platters of pork chops be enablers? And yet gluttony can become idolatrous.

In Scripture

Examples: “This son of ours is . . . a glutton and a drunkard” (Deut. 21:20). “Jeshuran grew fat, bloated, and gorged! He abandoned God who made him” (Deut. 32:15). Those who are “at ease in Zion” spend all their time feasting and lounging (Amos 6:1-7). Philippians describes people whose “end is destruction, their god is the belly, and their glory is in their shame” (Phil. 3:19).

Warnings: “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat” (Prov. 23:20-21, NIV). “Companions of gluttons shame their parents” (Prov. 28:7). “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery” (Eph. 5:18).

Drunkenness vice lists Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 5:13, Galatians 5:21, 1 Timothy 3:2

Points to Ponder

Linked human appetites The desert fathers who first numbered the deadly sins included gluttony because they were convinced that human appetites are linked. Gluttony seemed to them a part of Roman food orgies that included other debaucheries, and they were convinced that gluttony blunts the hunger and thirst for God. So they counseled us to savor food and drink just enough to nourish but not enough to sate.

Five gluttonous errors Medievals distinguished five gluttonous errors, namely, eating too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, and with too much fuss.

Wasteful Like avarice, gluttony is wasteful. In some countries the wastefulness is a national sin.

Addictive Gluttony in food and drink may become addictive. Because addictions are progressive and subject to the tolerance effect, they easily become injurious, disabling, or even fatal. In addiction, people trap themselves by attempting to relieve distress with the very thing that caused it. That’s the demonic feature of addiction.

Self-control and gratitude The opposite of gluttony in Galatians 5:23 and 2 Peter 1:6 is self-control, which is probably a requirement for gratitude. The person who eats slowly and reflectively may preserve the joy of simple treats, such as a ripe apple on a crisp October day.

Antidotes For gluttony of excess, diminished calorie allowances and expanded eating times; for gluttony of delicacy, only one new cookbook a year (also, once a week, prepare a Spam, Velveeta, and lima bean casserole); for gluttony of excess, avoid buffet restaurants, church pancake breakfasts, and hotdog eating contests; for gluttony of delicacy, attend the places and events just listed; periodic fasting and prayer; attendance at 12-step program meetings.


Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.