Bible Study Guides – Temperance

November 29, 2003 – December 5, 2003

Memory Verse

“Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

Suggested Reading: Counsels on Health, 49–51.


“Providence has been leading the people of God out from the extravagant habits of the world, away from the indulgence of appetite and passion, to take their stand upon the platform of self-denial and temperance in all things. The people whom God is leading will be peculiar. They will not be like the world. But if they follow the leadings of God they will accomplish His purposes, and will yield their will to His will. Christ will dwell in the heart. The temple of God will be holy. Your body, says the apostle, is the temple of the Holy Ghost. God does not require His children to deny themselves to the injury of physical strength. He requires them to obey natural law, to preserve physical health. Nature’s path is the road He marks out, and it is broad enough for any Christian. God has, with a lavish hand, provided us with rich and varied bounties for our sustenance and enjoyment. But in order for us to enjoy the natural appetite, which will preserve health and prolong life, He restricts the appetite. He says: Beware; restrain, deny, unnatural appetite. If we create a perverted appetite, we violate the laws of our being and assume the responsibility of abusing our bodies and of bringing disease upon ourselves.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 63.

1 What exhortation is given to those who seek an incorruptible crown? 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25.

note: “This is a most comprehensive text. To be temperate in all things includes more than reforms in a few articles of food. The American Revised Version instead of the word temperate has the word self-control. The same rendering is given also in Acts 24:25; Galatians 5:23; 11 Peter 1:6; Titus 1:8. This expresses the true idea of temperance. It is to be self-restrained, continent in all things. True temperance includes the entire life. Some may be temperate or self-controlled in one or two particulars, yet very intemperate or self-gratifying in other directions. To be temperate in all things, includes temperance in eating and drinking, in labor, both mental and physical, in recreation,—in fact in everything which goes to make up the life.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 28.

2 What must constantly be kept in subjection by the Christian? Why? 1 Corinthians 9:27.

note: “Many are in the greatest danger of failing to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. Ministers are in danger of losing their own souls. Some who have preached to others will themselves be cast away because they have not perfected a Christian character. In their labor they do not save souls, and fail even to save their own. They do not see the importance of self-knowledge and self-control. They do not watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation. . . . Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, that he may become perfectly acquainted with his own conduct. There is with nearly all a neglect of self-examination.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 511.

3 What does the body of the Christian believer become? To whom do we belong? Therefore what should we seek to do? 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

note: “We are not our own. We have been purchased with a dear price, even the sufferings and death of the Son of God. If we could understand this, and fully realize it, we would feel a great responsibility resting upon us to keep ourselves in the very best condition of health, that we might render to God perfect service. But when we take any course which expends our vitality, decreases our strength, or beclouds the intellect we sin against God. In pursuing this course we are not glorifying Him in our bodies and spirits which are His, but are committing a great wrong in His sight.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 354.

“[1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 quoted.] Yes, we are God’s property, and the path of obedience to nature’s laws is the direct path to heaven. He who is converted from errors in eating, drinking, and dressing is being prepared to hear and receive the truth into a good and willing heart. Many, by practicing the laws of nature and by receiving the renovating grace of God into the soul, obtain a new lease of physical and spiritual life.” Counsels on Health, 221, 222.

4 If we willfully defile the body temple, what follows? 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.

note: “Nature has affixed terrible penalties to these crimes [defiling the body temple]—penalties which, sooner or later, will be inflicted upon every transgressor. It is these sins more than any other that have caused the fearful degeneracy of our race, and the weight of disease and misery with which the world is cursed. Men may succeed in concealing their transgression from their fellow men, but they will no less surely reap the result, in suffering, disease, imbecility, or death. And beyond this life stands the tribunal of the judgment, with its award of eternal penalties. ‘They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God,’ but with Satan and evil angels shall have their part in that ‘lake of fire’ which ‘is the second death.’ Galatians 5:21; Revelation 20:14.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 461.

5 In the beginning what was given man for food? Genesis 1:29.

note: “In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food. . . . Upon leaving Eden to gain his livelihood by tilling the earth under the curse of sin, man received permission to eat also ‘the herb of the field.’ [Genesis 3:18.]

“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect, that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 81.

6 What principle should govern eating? Ecclesiastes 10:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31.

note: “Parents often make a mistake by giving their children too much food. Children treated in this way will grow up dyspeptics. Moderation in the use of even good food is essential. Parents, place before your children the amount they should eat. Leave it not with them to eat just as much as they may feel inclined. . . . Parents, unless this point is guarded, your children will have dull perceptions. They may attend school, but they will be unable to learn as they ought; for the strength which should go to the brain is used in taking care of the extra food that burdens the stomach. Parents need to be educated to see that too much food given to children makes them feeble instead of robust. . . .

“Teach them to deny appetite, to be grateful for the plain, simple diet God gives them.” Child Guidance, 391.

7 What three things did Jesus mention as liable to prevent people from being prepared to meet Him at His coming? Luke 21:34.

note: “The race is groaning under a weight of accumulated woe, because of the sins of former generations. And yet with scarcely a thought or care, men and women of the present generation indulge intemperance by surfeiting and drunkenness, and thereby leave, as a legacy for the next generation, disease, enfeebled intellects, and polluted morals.

“Intemperance of any kind is the worst sort of selfishness. Those who truly fear God and keep His commandments look upon these things in the light of reason and religion. How can any man or woman keep the law of God, which requires man to love his neighbor as himself, and indulge intemperate appetite, which benumbs the brain, weakens the intellect, and fills the body with disease? Intemperance inflames the passions and gives loose rein to lust. And reason and conscience are blinded by the lower passions.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 31.

8 What food did God provide for His people in the wilderness? Psalm 78:23–25. How did the children of Israel show their dissatisfaction with God’s daily provision? 1 Corinthians 10:5–10. For what were these things written? 1 Corinthians 10:11, 12.

note: “Near the close of this earth’s history Satan will work with all his powers in the same manner and with the same temptations wherewith he tempted ancient Israel just before their entering the Land of Promise. He will lay snares for those who claim to keep the commandments of God, and who are almost on the borders of the heavenly Canaan. He will use his powers to their utmost in order to entrap souls and to take God’s professed people upon their weakest points. Those who have not brought the lower passions into subjection to the higher powers of their being, those who have allowed their minds to flow in a channel of carnal indulgence of the baser passions, Satan is determined to destroy with his temptations—to pollute their souls with licentiousness. He is not aiming especially at the lower and less important marks, but he makes use of his snares through those whom he can enlist as his agents to allure or attract men to take liberties which are condemned in the law of God. And men in responsible positions, teaching the claims of God’s law, whose mouths are filled with arguments in vindication of His law, against which Satan has made such a raid—over such he sets his hellish powers and his agencies at work and overthrows them upon the weak points in their character, knowing that he who offends on one point is guilty of all, thus obtaining complete mastery over the entire man. Mind, soul, body, and conscience are involved in the ruin. If he be a messenger of righteousness and has had great light, or if the Lord has used him as His special worker in the cause of truth, then how great is the triumph of Satan! How he exults! How God is dishonored!” The Adventist Home, 327.

9 In Peter’s list of Christian virtues, name those that precede and follow temperance. 11 Peter 1:5–7.

note: “Temperance, or self-control, is only one qualification of many that go to make up a perfect Christian character. All these qualifications here mentioned by Peter blend into one symmetrical whole. Knowledge precedes temperance. Good judgment and sound sense are needed in wisely taking hold of temperance principles. Then it becomes a powerful adjunct in rising to the higher attainments of patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 29.

“[11 Peter 1:5–7 quoted.] Here is a work which rests upon every one who professes to follow Christ; it is to live upon the plan of addition.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 360.

“It is impossible for an intemperate man to be a patient man. First temperance, then patience.” Ibid., 95.

10 What is contained in the wine cup? What warning is given concerning wine? How does Solomon describe a drunkard’s experience? Proverbs 23:29–32. From what will drunkards be excluded? 1 Corinthians 6:10.

note: “No argument is needed to show the evil effects of intoxicants on the drunkard. The bleared, besotted wrecks of humanity—souls for whom Christ died, and over whom angels weep—are everywhere. They are a blot on our boasted civilization. They are the shame and curse and peril of every land.” The Ministry of Healing, 331.

“No one can be written in the books of heaven who is a drunkard. Resist temptation as a man. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth you can lay hold upon divine power. Christ will work in behalf of every one of you.” Temperance, 291.

11 Upon what special point touching appetite did Jesus gain a complete victory? Luke 4:24.

note: “God requires of His people continual advancement. We need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. With all our profession of health reform, many of us eat improperly. Indulgence of appetite is the greatest cause of physical and mental debility, and lies largely at the foundation of feebleness and premature death. Let the individual who is seeking to possess purity of spirit bear in mind that in Christ there is power to control the appetite.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 156.

12 For what purpose did Christ give Himself up for the church? Ephesians 5:26, 27.

note: “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214.