What does God say about a lazy man?

The Bible has a lot to say about laziness and warns against it repeatedly. Laziness is condemned as a serious sin that has dire spiritual, physical and social consequences. God expects people to work diligently and provide for themselves and their families. However, He also offers hope and redemption to those trapped in laziness.

What does the Bible say about laziness?

Here are some key Bible verses about laziness:

Proverbs 13:4

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

This verse contrasts the sluggard, or lazy person who does nothing, to the diligent person who works hard and prospers. It shows that laziness leads to poverty.

Proverbs 20:4

“The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.”

This verse warns that failing to work at the proper times will lead to an empty harvest. If you’re lazy about farming during planting season, you’ll end up with no food when harvest time comes.

Proverbs 24:30-34

“I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”

This passage describes seeing the run-down field of a lazy man. It serves as a warning that laziness leads step-by-step to ruin and poverty.

Proverbs 26:13-16

“The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.”

These verses mock the absurd excuses lazy people make to avoid work. They portray the sluggard as being too lazy to even feed himself, while arrogantly considering himself wise.

Ecclesiastes 10:18

“Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.”

This verse shows that laziness leads to the deterioration of one’s home and property. Maintenance requires diligent work.

2 Thessalonians 3:10

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

This New Testament verse establishes the rule that those unwilling to work should not expect to be supported by others.

What are the causes of laziness according to the Bible?

While laziness is generally portrayed as a moral failing, the Bible does recognize that it can sometimes have other causes:

Excessive sleep and rest

Proverbs 24:33 warns against “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest.” Too much desire for sleep and rest can lead to laziness.


Proverbs 21:25 states that “the desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.” Here, laziness seems linked to deeper moral corruption.

False excuses

Proverbs 22:13 presents the lazy man making excuse like “There is a lion outside!” to justify staying home instead of working. Laziness can involve deception and dishonesty.

Lack of discipline

Proverbs 12:24 notes that “the hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” The lazy person lacks the self-control and discipline needed to work.


The paralyzed man in John 5:3-7 appears unable to reach the healing waters of the pool because he has no one to help him. His story illustrates how poverty and misfortune can potentially lead to or exacerbate laziness.

What are the consequences of laziness?

The Bible outlines many negative consequences that come from laziness:


Proverbs 6:11 warns that “poverty will come upon you like a robber.” Laziness directly leads to poverty and want.


Proverbs 19:15 states that “slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.” The lazy person will lack food.


Ecclesiastes 10:5-7 observes that folly and laziness can lead to being placed in humiliating, low positions. The lazy become vulnerable to oppression.


Ecclesiastes 10:18 warns that “through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.” Laziness leads to the progressive deterioration and ruin of one’s property and wealth.


Proverbs 12:24 warns that “the hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” The lazy may end up being forced into servitude.


Proverbs 21:25 states that “the desire of the sluggard kills him.” Laziness can ultimately lead to death, though the exact mechanism is unclear.

How does God want us to respond to laziness?

Though condemnation of laziness is prevalent in Scripture, the Bible also provides guidance on how believers should respond to it:

Avoid enabling

2 Thessalonians 3:10 establishes the rule that those unwilling to work should not be supported by others. Well-meaning help can enable laziness.

Confront gently

1 Thessalonians 5:14 instructs us to “admonish the idle.” But this should be done gently, recognizing our own flaws (Galatians 6:1).

Set a good example

2 Thessalonians 3:6-9 teaches that believers should set an example of diligent work to motivate others not to be idle.

Help practically

Deuteronomy 15:7-8,10 tells us to be open-handed toward the poor, lending or giving as needed. But aid should promote independence.

Restore gently

Galatians 6:1 urges us to restore a lazy brother gently. The goal should be loving restoration, not condemnation.

Does the Bible offer any hope for overcoming laziness?

Despite its strong warnings against laziness, the Bible does offer hope for change and redemption:

God’s transforming power

All things are possible with God (Luke 1:37). He can transform even the laziest sinner into a diligent worker.

The Holy Spirit’s help

The Holy Spirit sanctifies believers, changing sinful patterns of life (2 Thessalonians 2:13). He can enable us to overcome laziness.


Bringing struggles with laziness to God in prayer allows Him to renew our minds and strengthen our resolve (Philippians 4:6-7).

Godly community

Fellowship with other believers reinforces diligence and keeps us accountable (Hebrews 10:24-25). It creates support for change.

Faith in Christ

Trusting Christ’s finished work can break the power of laziness (Galatians 5:1). The gospel provides motivation for diligent work.


Scripture strongly condemns laziness and warns of its dire consequences. But for those willing to seek God’s help, there is always hope of redemption and transformation. Overcoming laziness begins by trusting in Christ’s power to change our hearts and minds and set us free to live diligent, industrious lives for His glory.

Cause of laziness Consequence of laziness
Excessive sleep Poverty
Wickedness Hunger
False excuses Oppression
Lack of discipline Ruin
Poverty Slavery

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