Galatia 5:19 interpretation


What is luxury in Galatia 5:19? Is it luxury in terms of sumptuous living/ opulence or luxury it terms of lust/ lechery (archaic form)? Thanks!

I have read that smoking & drinking moderately is not a sin, but from the examples of the saints they abstain completely from them. I would say that no saint is made by drinking and smoking moderately, it is still considered a venial sin, like immodesty, bad example, or ruinous to health albeit unclear if taken in small quantity. What is your opinion?

Thanks again

Quote Gal 5:16-19:
[16] I say then, walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would. [18] But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, [20] Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects


Drinking alcohol in moderation is no sin. Many saints have been moderate alcohol consumers, as were Christ and His Apostles.

Luxury comes from the Latin word for “excess.”


Luxury is, as you mentioned, an archaic term for lust or lechery.

To understand “luxury” in this passage, we should go back to the original language. I am no expert, but I guessed the original or at least an early manuscript was Greek, and searching the internet for “Galatians 5:19 Greek” I found this resource:
Galatians 5:19, English translations and commentary from Bible Hub
The section titled “Pulpit Commentary” discusses the translation from Greek, and explains that the word in question, ἀσέλγεια, “appears to point to reckless shamelessness in unclean indulgences.”

Searching then for ἀσέλγεια, I stumbled across this online Greek dictionary:
Teknia Greek Dictionary: ἀσέλγεια
which quotes, in Engish, several Bible verses in which the Greek word appears. Follow the link to see them for yourself. This is an amazing resource!

Other English translations render ἀσέλγεια as debauchery, licentiousness, lasciviousness, or words to that effect.


Just to add to Beryllos reply above. The site “Studylight” has some good resources as well.
On there I found this definition from “Thayer” for ἀσέλγεια: “Unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness lasciviousness, wantonness, outragiousness, shamelessness, insolence.”

Also - -
Echoing PaulfromIowa’s comment, something done in moderation is not sinful.

Moderation, by it’s very nature, assumes a degree of thought and consideration. A level of self control - which is what one is seeking if one wishes to live “in the Spirit”. Thus by avoiding the kinds of excesses that St Paul speaks of here one is, in effect, subjugating the flesh to the spirit.

St Paul’s letters can sound strident at times. He writes with a strong “voice” which very likely comes from his Pharasitic background which would have seen things very “black and white”. Yet Paul also writes with great care and precision. This too would be a result of his background in “The Law”.
Additionally - care must be taken when reading Paul’s letters because Paul’s’ letters are very often responses to communications that he receives from a given community. We do not have these underlying communications so it can be difficult to place some of his writings into a particular context.
Then add on top of this the difficulties in translating…and next thing you know you feel like…:whacky::hypno:

Now - - -
Are things like smoking, drinking etc sinful? It can be hard to say. In another place Paul tells us that:
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. (1 Cor 10:23)
So the question becomes, does a given action “build up” (spirit, grace, virtue etc) or does it weaken…Is the thing helpful or is it not helpful.
Each person, each situation, can have a slightly different take on this. Much depends on where one is in their spiritual journey.



Moderate levels of alcohol can have health benefits, and it does not effect people around you when done in moderation. On the other hand smoking has no positive benefits and the second hand smoke not only invades on other people’s space because it stinks, it also is harmful to others standing aaround. I have no problems with people using the electric ones because it has no effect on people around them.


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