Temperance Means Moderation In Action, To Be Sober; Self-control

Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2022

Temperance aka self-control is to avoid excess; moderation in action. To not over-do-it; to be sober. Give yourself 5 minutes to learn more!

Sound Truth Ministry Bible Lesson: Temperance
Picture of black sand beach for the temperance bible lesson
temperance is self-control

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law [Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)].

G1466 ἐγκράτεια egkrateia (eng-kra’-tei-a) n. self-control (especially continence). The virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites1
[from G1468] KJV: temperance.
  • Definition: mastery, self-control.
  • Usage: self-mastery, self-restraint, self-control, continence
    1. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee [Acts 24:25 (KJV)].
    2. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law [Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)].
    3. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; [2 Peter 1:6 (KJV)].

This is a brief lesson to aid in getting to know the meaning of ‘temperance’. The American Standard Version [(ASV) in 1901] was the first to translate egkrateia as ‘self-control’ in Galatians 5:23. Since that time modern translators have done the same. However, this lesson will focus on temperance as found in the King James Version.


Habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions2. Often defined as abstinence from alcoholic drinks. Self-control. In the King James Bible Dictionary – patience; calmness; sedateness; moderation of passion.

in the KJV Bible

It is important for you to know that temperance was found in three verses in the KJV. In Acts 24:25, Galatians 5:23, and 2 Peter 1:6. The New KJV and Revised KJNT translators always replaces it with ‘self-control’.

1467 – temperate

G1467 ἐγκρατεύομαι egkrateuomai (eng-kra-tev’-o-mai) v. 1) to exercise self-restraint (in diet and chastity). 2) to be self-controlled.
[middle voice from G1468] KJV: can(-not) contain, be temperate
  • Definition: To exercise power or self-control.
  • Usage: egkrateuomai is used twice in the KJV.
    1. they cannot contain‘ meaning abstain from sexual relations ‘they should marry‘ [1 Corinthians 7:9 (KJV)].
    2. temperate‘ in a figure drawn from athletes, who in preparing themselves for the games abstained from unwholesome food, wine, and sexual indulgence3 [1 Corinthians 9:25 (KJV)].

1468 – the root of 1466

G1468 ἐγκρατής egkrates (eng-kra-tees’) adj. 1. strong in a thing (masterful). 2. (figuratively and reflexively) self-controlled (in appetite, etc.).
[from G1722 and G2904] KJV: temperate
  • Definition: controlling oneself4.
  • Usage: egkrates (temperate) is used once in the KJV. Titus 1:8 specifying that one of the qualifications of an elder/bishop is that he be ‘temperate’ (self-controlled).

4998 – temperate

G4998 σώφρων sophron (sō’-frōn) adj. 1. (literally) safe (sound) in mind. 2. (generally) self-controlled. 3. (by extension) moderate (as to opinion or passion).
[from the base of G4982 and that of G5424] KJV: discreet, sober, temperate.
  • Definition: curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled.
  • Usage: in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8 ‘sophron’ is “sober” in the KJV. ‘Temperate‘ in Titus 2:2 and ‘discreet‘ in Titus 2:5.
Note: sober in Titus 2:2 comes from the greek word nephaleos meaning “abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate use5

Temperance wrap-up

Do you on your part employ all your care in adding to your faith, fortitude: to fortitude, knowledge: 6 to knowledge, temperance: to temperance, patience: to patience, piety: 2 Peter 1:5-6 (Mace)

Vine says “the various powers bestowed by God upon man are capable of abuse; the right use demands the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God6“. The Holy Spirit enables one to have power over oneself. That power is for you to use. So, I urge you to use ‘temperance’!

Blessings to you and your loved ones— Tim. ☺

Related Bible studies:

See what is available on the Sound Truth Ministry website.

Reference Scriptures

Note: parenthesis (#) encloses the key verse(s).

Acts 24:22-27 (25); Galatians 5:16-26 (22-23); 2 Peter 1:5-11 (6). 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 (8-9) and 9:24-27 (25). Titus 1:5-9 (8).


1 biblehub.com || 2 webstersdictionary1828.com || 3 lexiconcordance.com || 4blueletterbible.org || internationalstandardbible.com || 5 studylight.org || 6 W. E. Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures: Matthew to Acts page 970.


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