HomeExclusiveWhat Does The Bible Say About Drinking Alcohol

What Does The Bible Say About Drinking Alcohol

Causing Another To Stumbleby Drinking Alcohol

What does the Bible say about Alcohol?

Sometimes its not about whether it’s okay to drink. Instead, its about whether you’re willing not to drink if someone else is offended or confused by it.

According to the Bible, we may choose to drink. But if theres a chance that someone else may stumble because of our choice, then we should choose to refrain.

It is a good thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble. Romans 14:21

The scriptures are clear that the welfare of others is more important than whether or not we decide to have a glass of wine. If someone else is offended by our drinking, we should abstain. If someone in our presence is battling an alcohol addiction, the choice should be clear. And if someone else is convicted that the Bible says drinking is wrong, we should yield to them.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Drinking Alcohol Effects On The Spirit

Even casual use of alcohol can depress self-control, judgment, and a sense of balance. By contrast, the Holy Spirit produces self-control, good judgment, and balance.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. Galatians 5:22-23

Thats why we cant be controlled by alcohol and the Holy Spirit at the same time. We must choose.

And dont get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: Ephesians 5:18

I hope the Bible verses about drinking alcohol help you to better understand God’s Word and making the best choice for your own life.

It would be helpful for everyone to consider What does the Bible say about drinking? before making a decision about the use of alcohol. Without a doubt, the scriptures are clear that the use of alcohol can have either beneficial or harmful effects on a persons life.

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Alcohol Use In The Bible

Wine had many uses in the Bible:

  • Wine was a common beverage and part of the daily fare in Palestine ” rel=”nofollow”> Judges 19:19, ), including by Jesus ” rel=”nofollow”> Matthew 11:19, , )
  • Wine was a gift from God to gladden men’s hearts ” rel=”nofollow”> Genesis 27:28, ).
  • Wine was used at weddings and celebrations ” rel=”nofollow”> John 2:1-3).
  • Wine was used as a medicine ” rel=”nofollow”> 2 Samuel 16:2, , , , )

There is nothing in either the Old or New Testament that opposes the moderate use of alcoholic beverages they were a staple of everyday life.

On the other hand, there is no commandment in the Bible that we must drink, and many individuals and groups abstained from alcohol ” rel=”nofollow”> Numbers 6:2-4, , , ). The apostle Paul warned against using the freedom to drink, or any similar freedom, in a way that would be offensive to others or cause them to stumble into sin ” rel=”nofollow”> Romans 14:19-22).

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God Wants You To Consider Other People

Romans 14:21 says that we should not drink, if our drinking will tempt someone else to sin. So if you are of legal age, but your friends are not, drinking around them may be putting temptation in their way. That’s why some Christians who live around lots of alcoholics have decided to give alcohol up totally. Love is more important than beer!

Is Drinking Alcohol A Sin In The Bible

According to the Bible, there is nothing inherently wrong with food or drink. In fact, when it comes to drinking the Bible encourages us to do what we think is right.

Therefore, dont let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. Colossians 2:16 CSB

At the same time, the scriptures call us to be wise in assessing whether or not to drink as well as how much to drink.

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When It Leads To Sin

Other scriptures denounce alcohol consumption that offends others or causes them to sin. For instance, Romans 14:21 reads, It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything to cause your brother to stumble.

Similarly, 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds Christians to exercise self-control and only drink in ways that honor the Holy Spirit: So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

In other words, they should only drink in moderation and never in a manner that hurts themselves, others, or their spiritual journeys.

If you feel unable to control yourself around alcoholic drinks, please contact an Ark Behavioral Health specialist. We offer personalized, evidence-based treatments for alcohol abuse and addiction.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – Drinking Levels Defined

How To Set Boundaries When Drinking

If you dont have a problem with alcohol and you dont feel convicted to stop drinking, setting boundaries when you drink are important to protect yourself from drinking too much and from temptation.

Its like setting physical boundaries in a relationship. Just like I would set boundaries in a relationship to avoid going too far, I need to set boundaries if I decide to drink to make sure I dont get buzzed or drunk.

Boundaries to consider when drinking

  • No shots
  • Consuming only 2 drinks at a time
  • Eating a meal before drinking alcohol
  • Limiting drinking mixed drinks or cocktails that could include higher amounts of alcohol
  • Drinking a glass of water in between drinks
  • Not going to certain bars or hanging out with certain people where you may feel pressured to drink more

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Drinking Alcohol Effects On The Body

Theres not much argument that alcohol adversely affects the body. Blackouts, behavior changes, slurred speech, addictions, and liver and heart damage are just a few of the effects alcohol can have on the body.

In 2018 an estimated 88,000 people died from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading cause of preventable death. Besides that, alcohol is a contributing factor in many cases of physical and sexual assault and alcohol-related traffic accidents.

Wine gives false courage hard liquor leads to brawls what fools men are to let it master them, making them reel drunkenly down the street. Proverbs 20:1

Woe to you who get up early in the morning to go on long drinking bouts that last till late at nightwoe to you drunken bums. Isaiah 5:11

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has conflicts? Who has complaints? Who has wounds for no reason? Who has red eyes? Those who linger over wine those who go looking for mixed wine. Dont gaze at wine because it is red, because it gleams in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end, it bites like a snake and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and you will say absurd things. Youll be like someone sleeping out at sea or lying down on the top of a ships mast. They struck me, but I feel no pain! They beat me, but I didnt know it! When will I wake up? Ill look for another drink. Proverbs 23:29-35

Effects Of Alcohol And Wine On Our Bodies

Does The Bible Say Drinking Alcohol Is A Sin | Should Christians Drink?

The Bible is clear that our bodies are temples of the living God via the agent of the Holy Spirit. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received of God? . . . . Therefore honor God with your body . God is concerned with how we treat our bodies, including what we eat or drink. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God . The wise Solomon said, Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler whoever is led astray by them is not wise . Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper .

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Bible Verses About Drinking Wine In A Way That Honors God

When people reference alcohol in the Bible, a lot of people point out that one of Jesus first miracles was turning water into wine. We see this miracle in John 2:1-11, where Jesus is at a wedding and his mom asks him to save the day since the wine is running out.

This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:11 NLT

While it is a big deal that one of Jesus first miracles involved wine, Ive seen this bible verse about wine get thrown around and used as an excuse to drink a lot.

Ill talk more about bible verses about getting drunk with wine below, but its important to note the context of this miracle and that if Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding, then drinking at least some wine must be okay.

We also see in Ecclesiastes and in Proverbs that we can drink wine to celebrate, and that wine is considered a blessing from God.

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:7 ESV

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. Proverbs 3:9-10

We also see in 1 Timothy that the Bible permits drinking a little wine to ease the stomach.

Dont drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often. – 1 Timothy 5:23 NLT

Is drinking a sin?

Be Strong Against Temptation

Another reason to stop drinking or to drink less is to be strong against temptation.

Wine produces mockers alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. – Proverbs 20:1-2

Drinking alcohol is like putting lighter fluid on a fire. It is much harder to say no and resist temptation when you start drinking.

Alcohol fueled so many of my mistakes and only led me to stumbling into more sin, like sexual sin, even when I wanted to stop.

If you are struggling with sexual sin, whether its watching porn or trying not to sleep with someone, its best to stay away from drinking and other situations that have led you into sin in the past.

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Positive Uses Of Alcohol

It may also surprise you to learn what else the Scriptures have to say about the proper, balanced use of wine and even strong drink. When used in moderation and in a proper setting, we read that wine makes merry . In other words, a glass of wine can enhance the enjoyment of good friends and the time they spend together. It is not necessary to drink to enjoy the time together but properly used, it can enhance an occasion.

Included in the instructions for keeping the festivals of God is a description of what the festival tithe money is to be used for: And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires . What the New King James Version describes as similar drink, other translations translate as strong drink , fermented drink and alcoholic drink .

What we find is that God instructs His people to use these funds to enjoy His festivals with good food and good drinkincluding wine and other strong drink. Once again, we dont find He is telling us to have drunken parties, but rather that, when used in balance, fine wines or good drinks are right and proper. After all, we are elsewhere told that wine cheers both man and God .

I Traditional Christian Theology

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus drank wine . It also documents that he approved of its moderate consumption . On the other hand, Jesus was critical of drunkenness .

The later writings of St. Paul deal with alcohol in detail. Theyre important to traditional Christian doctrine on the subject. He considered wine to be a creation of God. Therefore, it is inherently good . He recommended its use for medicinal purposes . However, he condemned drunkenness . And St. Paul recommended abstinence for those who could not control their drinking. 1

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Isnt It Really Grape Juice

Some take the words for wine to mean grape juice. If this were so, then why would there be prohibitions against drunkenness? One cannot get drunk on grape juice. Further, Jesus first miracle was changing the water into wine at the wedding of Cana in Galilee. He made between 120 and 180 gallons of wine! Even if this had been grape juice, it would soon turn to wine because the fermentation process would immediately begin. But it most certainly was not grape juice: the head waiter in John 2:10 said, Every man sets out the good wine first, then after the guests have drunk freely, the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now. The verb translated drunk freely is almost always used of getting drunk . In the least, the people at this wedding feast, if not drunk, would certainly be drinking alcohol fairly freely . And this makes perfect sense in the context: The reason why a man brings out the poorer wine later is because the good wine has numbed the senses a bit. Grape juice would hardly mask anything. Note also Acts 2:13they are full of sweet winean inaccurate comment made about the apostles when they began speaking in tongues, as though this explained their unusual behavior. The point is: If they were full of grape juice would this comment even have made any sense at all? That would be like saying, Well, theyre all acting strange and silly because they have had too much orange juice this morning!

When Alcohol Isnt Sin

Sin is defined in the Bible as lawlessness or, as the J.B. Phillips translation puts it, Everyone who commits sin breaks Gods law, for that is what sin is, by definitiona breaking of Gods law . So we need to ask if God created a law forbidding the use of alcohol. If so, then we could easily conclude that drinking alcohol is a sin.

There are a handful of scriptures that some people believe do exactly that. Lets look at a few examples:

  • Proverbs 20:1 says, Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
  • 1 Timothy 3:8 says, Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine.
  • Isaiah 5:11 says, Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink who continue until night, till wine inflames them!

A careful examination of these and other verses that may be used reveals a common theme: God clearly condemns the abuse of alcohol. Overindulgencelong-term or even just occasionalis forbidden by the Creator. However, we do not find a wholesale condemnation of any use of alcohol.

Jesus Christ warned men to be careful to avoid carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life . And Paul wrote that among the works of the flesh that men are to avoid is drunkenness . In both cases, the term drunkenness is used. It means excessive use of alcoholic products.

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Not All Wine In The Old Testament Is Wine

We must understand an important point. Just because someone is said to have been drinking wine does not mean they were necessarily drinking alcohol. Did you know that many of the Hebrew words translated, wine, do not necessarily imply an alcoholic beverage? We even read in passages such as Isaiah 65:8, the new wine is found in the cluster.

Obviously, today we would not say wine is found in a cluster of grapes. We would say juice is found in a cluster of grapes. In Hebrew, however, their words for wine were more generic, applying both to intoxicating and non-intoxicating beverages made from grapes. If you are interested in further study on the words used in the Old Testament for wine, consider these articles: Drinking in the Old Testament and, What About Social Drinking and the Old Testament by Wayne Jackson.

So, while there are many references to wine in the Old Testament, not all of the references are to alcohol. The only way to tell whether or not an intoxicating beverage is being referenced, is by the use of context clues. Do not make the mistake of assuming a drink is alcohol just because the word wine is used!

To Drink Or Not To Drink Here Is The 2

What does the Bible say about alcohol?

If you struggle with alcohol , then none of these guidelines apply to you. If that is your situation, my guideline is simple: stay as far away from it as you possibly can.

If that is not your situation, then keep reading. When it comes to alcohol consumption there are really two things to consider:

1. How it Affects You

You say, I am allowed to do anythingbut not everything is good for you. And even though I am allowed to do anything, I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

When it comes to alcohol consumption the question should be not just should you drink it or not but what happens to you when you do? Is it good for you? In other words, why are you taking that drink?

Let me give you two scenarios. If you are out to eat and you have a glass of wine with the meal, I personally dont see anything wrong with that. After all, this is what Jesus did.

However, if youve had a hard day and you just want to have a glass to take the edge off, this is where it can get a little tricky. Youre turning to the glass for a level of comfort. I believe it is in this space you must proceed with caution.

The same is true if you turn to a bag of Oreos and a gallon of milk for comfort as well. You may not get drunk, but it can pack on pounds which isnt good for you, either.

The point is: you dont want to become a slave to it.

2. How it Affects Others

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