The Sin of Gluttony

Text: Proverbs 23:1-3

The Bible condemns the sin of gluttony. But what exactly is a glutton? It is not necessarily one who is overweight. It is also not necessarily one who enjoys food. Jesus was wrongly accused of being a glutton (Luke 7:34) which shows that gluttony is about more than outward appearances. So if we are going to talk about the sin of gluttony, we need to look at what the Bible actually says about it.

Generally Associated with Drunkenness

  • Several passages tie gluttony and drunkenness together (Luke 7:34; Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Proverbs 23:20-21) – the reason for this is that the sins have similar root causes
  • But they are not identical – one needs food to survive, but does not need alcohol
  • Even the casual use of alcohol is wrong (1 Peter 4:3; Proverbs 23:31) – we need to take a closer look at gluttony and see why it is wrong

Indicative of Being a Poor Steward

  • Solomon warned that gluttony led to poverty (Proverbs 23:20-21) – root word means “to be lavish, a squanderer”; same mentality as the prodigal son (Luke 15:13-14)
  • We are to be good stewards of the blessings God has given (Proverbs 3:9-10; 13:22; 1 Timothy 6:17-18) – yet gluttony abuses the blessing of food that God has provided (Acts 14:17)
  • Gluttony is about more than just eating – it is about squandering the blessings God has given us

Associated with Laziness

  • Paul said the Cretans were “lazy gluttons” or “slow bellies” (Titus 1:12)
  • God’s people are to be hardworking (Ecclesiastes 9:10) and must be willing to work to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10) – but gluttony is connected with laziness (Proverbs 23:21; 6:9-11)
  • Gluttony is about more than food – it focuses on food to the neglect of doing the work that one is responsible to do

Indicative of a Lack of Self-Control

  • Paul compared food with sexual relations (1 Corinthians 6:13, 16-18) as both require self-control – self-control so sexual relations are kept within the confines of marriage (Hebrews 13:4); self-control in eating so that it is for the strength of the body (1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Samuel 28:20; Acts 9:18-19)
  • Christians must have self-control to please God (2 Peter 1:6, 8; Galatians 5:22-23)
  • We must “not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12) – this includes food (1 Corinthians 6:13); uncontrolled eating

Reflects a Carnal Mindset

  • Paul spoke of some “whose god is their appetite” (Philippians 3:19) – not limited to gluttony, but the mentality is included
  • We are not to focus on carnal things, but spiritual things (Romans 8:6)
  • As we set our minds on spiritual things, that will cause us to think a certain way about food – show gratitude (1 Timothy 4:3-4); life is more than food (Matthew 6:25); serving God in His kingdom ought to be a higher priority than food (Matthew 6:33; Romans 14:16-17, 20); work for the food that leads to eternal life (John 6:27, 48-51, 63)


  • Christians must avoid the sin of gluttony – but this is not a prohibition against enjoying food
  • Instead, it is a charge to be good stewards, to be hardworking, to exercise self-control, and to be spiritually minded

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