What Does the Bible Say About Being Fat?


In today’s image-obsessed culture, being overweight or obese often carries a strong social stigma. With rising rates of obesity, Christians may wonder what Scripture has to say about being fat. Does the Bible condemn being overweight? Or does it affirm that all bodies are beautiful?

This post will examine key biblical passages that reference fatness and obesity. We’ll explore what these verses reveal about God’s perspective on excess weight and how He calls the Church to approach this issue. Along the way, we’ll touch on related themes like gluttony, health, and loving others well.

Key Takeaways:

Viral Believer is reader-supported. We may earn a small fee from products we recommend at no charge to you. Read Our Affiliate Disclosuree

  • The Bible views gluttony and lack of self-control as sinful, but does not directly prohibit being fat.
  • Scripture emphasizes caring for our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. This suggests pursuing healthy habits.
  • We must show grace, not judgement, to overweight brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Beauty stems from the heart, not outward appearance. Christians should affirm the inherent dignity of all people.
  • By relying on the Spirit, we can overcome disordered appetites and cultivate self-control.
What Does the Bible Say About Being Fat?

The Bible Condemns Gluttony, Not Fatness

The Bible has relatively little to say directly about being fat. Scripture references fatness neutrally or even positively in some cases. For example, fat livestock were considered prime sacrifices (Genesis 4:4). Descriptions of fat land indicate agricultural prosperity (Genesis 27:28).

However, the Bible does condemn overindulgence and lack of self-control. Passages warn against glutting oneself on rich foods or wine (Proverbs 23:20-21). They instruct us not to join those who are “given to appetite” (Proverbs 23:20 NKJV). Gluttony and drunkenness are listed among the sins of the unrighteous (Deuteronomy 21:20). Self-indulgence reflects poor stewardship of our bodies and spiritual apathy.

Still, these verses critique excess more than they prohibit fatness itself. Eating too much at times does not automatically make someone a glutton. With effort and God’s help, overweight Christians can cultivate discipline without harboring shame.

Our Bodies Are Temples of the Holy Spirit

Scripture clearly calls us to steward our physical bodies well. The apostle Paul urges:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Since our bodies belong to God, we should care for them accordingly. This includes pursuing positive habits like healthy eating and exercise. When we lead physically disciplined lives, we better honor the Lord’s temple within us.

Maintaining a moderate weight through lifestyle choices can show respect for our God-given bodies. This demonstrates self-control and spiritual maturity. However, the Bible condemns neglecting our health through laziness or overindulgence. Balance and wisdom are key.

Show Grace, Not Judgement, to Overweight Brothers and Sisters

While Scripture calls us to steward our bodies well, the Bible never sanctions shaming or belittling overweight people. Jesus always showed grace to those society scorned. He touched lepers and welcomed prostitutes without judgement (Matthew 8:2-3, Luke 7:36-50).

As Christians, we are likewise called to show compassion, not condemnation, to those struggling with excess weight. Do not ridicule or assume it reflects greed or laziness. Extend the same grace God has given you.

The Lord urges us:

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)

Instead of judging, we can encourage overweight brothers and sisters in their journey toward health. Offer accountability and practical support if they wish. But emphasize their dignity as beloved children of God.

True Beauty Comes from Within

Society often equates thinness with beauty and worth. The Bible, however, locates true beauty in the heart, not outward appearance. 1 Peter 3:3-4 describes:

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Our culture idolizes image and achievement. But Scripture roots our identity firmly in Christ alone. As believers, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), regardless of body shape or size. The Church must affirm the profound dignity of all people, just as Christ did.

When we take pride in holiness and good works more than thinness, we live as citizens of God’s kingdom. The Lord calls us to “honor marriage, and to keep oneself pure” (Hebrews 13:4). As we pursue purity of heart, outward appearances matter far less.

Rely on the Spirit to Overcome Disordered Appetites

For Christians struggling with obesity or overeating, Scripture offers hope and guidance. Relying on the Holy Spirit enables us to cultivate self-control and overcome disordered appetites. As Galatians 5:16 promises:

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

The Spirit empowers us to embrace healthy habits that honor God. As we submit to His leading, He transforms us from the inside out. Our bodies become instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:12-14).

With prayer and community support, overweight individuals can experience freedom from unwanted food cravings. The Church should provide grace-filled accountability to aid in this journey. But the true work of heart change comes from the Spirit within.


The Bible does not condemn being fat, but does warn against gluttony and poor self-control. As God’s image-bearers, we are called to steward our bodies well as temples of the Holy Spirit. This pursuit of health must be paired with grace, not judgement, toward overweight people. True beauty stems from the heart, not outward appearance. And by walking in the Spirit, Christians can overcome disordered appetites.

When guided by biblical principles, the Church can encourage positive physical habits without idolizing thinness or shaming anyone. Our identity rests in Christ alone. As we treat bodies as holy vessels, we give glory to God from the inside out.

About The Author

Scroll to Top