Home > John's Blogs, Temptation & Sin > Seven Capital Vices, Part 1

Seven Capital Vices, Part 1

I’ve been reading Rebecca Konynkyk DeYoung’s book Glittering Vices, which is a look at what we commonly call the “7 deadly sins.”  I’ve thought it valuable enough to blog a little bit about it, and I think it could be helpful to think about the seven vices and their remedies.  First, however, we need to establish exactly what they are.  DeYoung is going to refer to them “capital vices,” so we need to start where she starts.

Historically, they have been developed since early church history and there is not always agreement on which of the 7 sins would actually qualify.  They do not occur as a list anywhere in scripture, and so people in my circles tend to shy away from talking about them.  However, they have been used to think about how we develop character and as such they are still valuable.

DeYoung calls them “capital vices” instead of “deadly sins” because of how she understands them.  Rather than being specific sins that lead to death, they are categories of vices that have grown from pride, and then other sins grow from those seven.  DeYoung says,

(W)e can think of pride as the root and trunk of a tree, which extends upward into seven main branches, each of which represents one capital vice.  From those vices, in turn, grow man other branches, each of which bears poisonous fruit.

Thus, from pride grows 7 vices, and from those 7 vices grow other sins.  If we cut off those seven, we can keep sin from growing in our life.

But why call them capital vices at all?  DeYoung defines them:  “vices concern deeply rooted patterns in our character, patterns broader than a single act but narrower than our sinful human condition in general.”  In other words, they are sins, but more importantly they are capital vices – patterns of behavior that take root in our lives.

The problem with my patterns of behavior is that I get used to them, and no longer notice that they are patterns.  As I was reading, I began to recognize some of them in my life.  Perhaps you will, as well.

What are they?  Envy, Vainglory, Sloth, Avarice, Anger, Gluttony, and Lust.  I want to see how DeYoung defines each one, and the solution for each one, as we look at each one in turn.

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  1. April 2, 2010 at 6:45 am

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