By Jeff Fry


I am writing to you about "gluttony". I am not writing to draw lines and say if you are 5 lbs. overweight, you are guilty of the sin of gluttony. I am not writing to say that everyone must be in "perfect" shape "physically". I also understand that there is some things, physically, that is beyond some people’s control that is a cause for obesity. As a matter of most studies, most people do not eat too much, they exercise too little. Common sense teaches us that if we take in more calories a day than we burn per day, we will put on weight. If you are not willing to burn more calories, you had better not over-eat.

Yes, gluttony is a sin. Gluttony by definition is: The act of eating to excess. The Bible does not say: "Thou shalt not over-eat". How can we know, then, if it is wrong to be gluttonous? In Num. 11:31-34, we have an example of gluttony. The Bible says that as the meat was in their mouths the wrath of the Lord was aroused. Why? The people had yielded to "craving". God had given them specific commands about getting their food (how much, which days, etc.). Their craving showed they did not trust in God to take care of them. Their bad examples are used to teach us not to be guilty of the same thing in 1 Cor. 10:5. In Mat. 6:33 we learn that to be anxious over food is wrong. We act as if we do not know where our next meal is coming from by overeating. We are not content with what God has provided us (Philp. 4:6- 12).

We show a lack of self-control by eating to excess. We are to have self-control in everything (1 Cor. 9:25). We are to add to our self-control each day we are Christians (2 Pet. 1:6). This includes our "table manners". We need to know when to say when while eating. Do not keep eating when you know you have had enough. Push yourself away from the table. We know that some things taken as "food" are wrong (drugs, tobacco, alcohol, etc.). We should show self-control when it comes to chocolate chip cookies because we know they have many calories.

Eating to excess is giving in to a lust of the flesh (1 Cor. 10:6). We often think of "lust of the flesh" only in regards to "sexual immorality". Lust means uncontrolled strong desires. Our bodies need food. We understand that we cannot steal to get food. Stealing is a sin. 1 John 2:16 clearly shows that that to lust after food (too much) is of the world. Eating to excess is a sin that will be sure to find us out (Num 32:23) and is open to all.

People who are guilty of gluttony are wasteful. Gluttonous people are not sharing with others who need food (1 Cor. 11:21). One sin of the son in Lk. 15:13 was he was guilty of wasting his substance. The old saying goes "Some people live to eat and others eat to live". Christians ought to eat to live. We need not to be building "bigger barns" out of our own bodies. Life does not consist of eating, drinking, and being merry in the things of this world.

Over-eating is detrimental to the body. We are to take care of our bodies because they are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). We understand it is wrong to take in foods that cause allergic reactions. Our bodies are marvelously and wonderfully made (Psa. 139:14). I am not writing to preach what foods are good and bad because our bodies are made in such a way as to dispose of most harmful and excess things found in foods. Do not go overboard on any particular food. I know it is wrong, though, when the body cannot get rid of the excess calories by turning the excess into fat. God commanded us to work. We have different roles (men and women) and different jobs. WORK does the body good (Gen. 3:19, 1 Tim. 4:8). Do you realize that many medical problems that occur are the direct results of being overweight (eating too much)? We are here but for a short space of time but let us not be guilty of shortening that time.

Deut. 21:20, Prov. 23:19-21 and Mat. 11:19 are also verses that show over-eating can become an idol to us. Gluttony is a form of idolatry (Col. 3:5). Glutton and forms of the word are used in way that clearly shows it is wrong. There is a time and place (the homes) for eating (1 Cor. 11:22). Let us not be guilty of trying to cover up the sin by making excuses for our behaviors. An easy way to make an enemy of someone is to ask what they weigh or how old they are. I am not asking you, but I do know myself that as I have gotten older, my weight is harder to control. Overeating has a lot to do with it. You know if you are eating too much.

In case you are wondering, I am 5’9", weigh 170 lbs., and can still wear the suit I was married in 26 years ago. Do you know when most overeating occurs? It occurs when the TV is on and after 8 o’clock.

Thanks for reading.

[Editor’s Note: Thanks to our brother and friend Jeff Fry for this good article on a subject we don't hear much about. I wonder if it is because we, in general, are so overweight in America, for example? We hope all readers will continue to study all Bible topics with open minds, willing to conform to God's Truth. Thanks for reading! - Mark J. Ward]

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