Vice and Virtue Lists of the New Testament

Vice and Virtue Lists of the New Testament addresses the lists found in every section of the New Testament and in almost every book.

Contents and highlights:

  • Introductory Article (pp. 1-4):
    • Lack of Old Testament influence
    • Ancient Greek influence
    • Stoic influences
    • Hellenistic-Jewish influences
    • Qumranic influence?
    • Post-NT examples
    • The impact of these influences on the New Testament writings
    • The variety of forms in the New Testament
    • The limits of the genre
    • The rhetorical functions of the NT lists
    • Distribution of Vice and Virtue Lists in the New Testament (chart)
  • Detailed Analysis (pp. 5-27):
    • Text (NASB95, UBS4) of every passage, highlighting in context each vice (219+) and virtue (149+), and providing explanatory notes. Vice-related entries are shown in blue. Virtue-related entries are shown in red.
    • The passages analyzed include:
      • Synoptic Gospels (to reflect influences of Jesus’ teaching on the epistles): Matthew 5.1-12; 15.1-20; Mark 7.20-23; Luke 6.20-35
      • Early General Epistle James 3.13-17
      • Paul’s Travel Epistles: Galatians 5.13-26; First Corinthians 5.9-11; 6.9-10; 13.1-13; Second Corinthians 6.1-10; 12.20-21; Romans 1.28-32; 13.13
      • Paul’s Prison Epistles: Colossians 3.1-17; Ephesians 4.1-3, 25-32; 5.1-14; 6.14-20; Philippians 4.8
      • Paul’s Pastoral Epistles: First Timothy 1.8-11; 3.1-7, 8-13; 4.12; 6.11; Titus 1.5-9; 3.1-3; Second Timothy 2.22; 3.1-13
      • Later General Epistles: First Peter 2.1-3; 3.8-9; 4.1-6, 15-16; Second Peter 1.1-11; Hebrews 7.26-27
      • John’s Apocalypse: Revelation 9.20-21; 21.5-8; 22.14-15
  • Exhaustive Concordance (pp. 29-50):
    • 188 entries, providing an exhaustive index of each vice and each virtue from the previous passages.
    • Items are listed alphabetically by Greek lexeme, with cognates grouped together under larger headings
    • NASB95 and UBS4 text is provided for context.
    • Again, the vice-related entries are shown in blue and the virtue-related entries are shown in red.

PDF ver. 2014-03-01
50 pp. 8.5 x 11″ 1.2 mb

PDF version history:
2014-03-01: Updated SKU
2010-10-25: Typo correction
2010-10-24 New release

Citation (items to consider; form will vary):

ncBc: Mike Sperou and Kevin Mitchell, ed. “Vice and Virtue Lists of the New Testament.” PDF resource published by North Clackamas Bible Community and available online at Last modified October 25, 2010.


The New Testament books without a vice or virtue list: Acts, John, First Thessalonians, Second Thessalonians, Philemon, Jude, First John, Second John, and Third John.

Regarding the order of composition for Colossians and Ephesians, the article consistently places Ephesians before Colossians. Technically, our contextual assumption is that the composition of Colossians (and Philemon) precedes Ephesians by as much as a month — though all were delivered to Asia at the same time. At some point, we may edit the resource to reflect this.

Vice and virtue lists, sometimes called ethical catalogs, served important rhetorical functions in the Hellenistic and Christian world of exhortation: preconversion calls to escape an old way of life and begin a new way (protrepsis); postconversion advice and instruction for continuing in a way of life (paraenesis).

As used by the New Testament writers, these lists were not simply informative. Along with the household codes and the advice for conduct among unbelievers, the New Testament vice and virtue lists were definitive of Christian growth, highlighting the virtue of love and the reality that growth demands reproof.

On household codes (haustafel), cf. esp. Col 3.18–4.1 and Eph 5.21–6.9; cf. Rom 13.1-7; 1Pe 2.13-15; 1Pe 3.1-7; Titus 2.1-10. Regarding advice for conduct among unbelievers, see: Col 4.2-6.

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