What Does The Bible Say About Drugs
The Bible has a lot to say about intoxication, sobriety and intentionally harming the body. But it doesnt directly address the disease of addiction because the word addiction wasnt used when the Bible was written.
Some newer translations of the Bible use the word addicted, but the accuracy of different translations is unknown. This article uses the New International Version of the Bible.
The concepts of addiction and dependence only developed in the 20th century, according to a 2007 article published in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience.
Numerous Scriptures can be interpreted to imply that addiction is a sin, but meanings of Scriptures are debatable. In the first book of Corinthians, were warned that temptations can overpower us, but we are given the resources to overcome those temptations.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
- No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it
Substance abuse may be one of the temptations that the verse refers to. Alcohol and drug use are relatively common today. Addiction may be considered a temptation. Its difficult for many to bear. But God provides a way out. Rehab and addiction treatment can help individuals overcome the disease, and many people believe spirituality is a key component of recovery.
Other Scriptures are more direct.
C Some Examples Showing How Drug Use Leads Togreater Involvement In Sin
Dr. Walter Lehmann describes a typical example of theyoung people he treats who are on marijuana:
Letter from Jenny.
This is where marijuana use can lead. And the end resultfollows because people fail to heed God’s warning to avoidtemptation and evil influence.
Proverbs 6:27,28 – Can a man take fire to his bosom and not beburned? The sensible person, who wants to please God, will avoidplaying with fire.
Keeping Our Minds Unaltered
Scripture may not talk about specific drugs, but it does instruct us to avoid getting any buzz that alters our state of mind. For example, the apostle Paul writes, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” . The principal behind this passage is to stay away from things that will distort your thoughts, make you vulnerable to committing sin, and weaken your logical reasoning. All drugs cause us to stray away from God and be more open to temptations of the enemy. Proverbs 23:32-33 continue this by saying, “In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things”.
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What The Bible Says About Intoxication Inebriation
Most people interpret the Bibles condemnation of alcohol abuse as a condemnation against all forms of substance abuse. If the term drunkenness is interpreted as a general state of intoxication to any drug, then the Bible clearly admonishes drug use.
The Bible may not be straightforward about drug use, but it is clear about staying sober.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
- So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
- 1 Peter 1:13
- Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
- 1 Peter 5:8
- Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
The Bible wants us to be sober because being intoxicated makes us more likely to sin. Decades of research proves that alcohol and other drugs lower self-control and contribute to increased rates of violence and other unsafe behaviors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many of those behaviors are sins. And the Bible tells us to avoid things that tempt us to sin.
Jesus Looked At Them And Said With Men It Is Impossible But Not With God For With God All Things Are Possible Mark : 27
Many times in recovery, the goal of long-term sobriety may seem out of reach or even impossible to achieve. This verse is a reminder that with Gods help, recovery is indeed possible. If what you want seems unattainable, ask God for a little help in navigating the way ahead. Little successes should be celebrated and praise given to the Lord for each of them.
Remember that nothing is beyond possibility when people put their trust and faith in God. Focusing on spirituality has helped many people in recovery from substance use disorders and those with mental health conditions gain a more positive perspective that assists with their overall healing process.
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You Are Not A Failure
Often times, addiction is associated with idolatry because the addict is putting the drug first and foremost in their lives, instead of God. The inability to shake the drug off by themselves can make addicts feel weak. When they are offered help, they feel so guilty about the terrible things they have done that they do not feel they deserve a chance at a new life. They think they are failures and cannot live up to God’s standards, so what is the point of even trying?
God does not see addicts as failures with no hope ahead. God sees addicts as His struggling children and only hopes that He can help them overcome the pain of the disease. Even if the person has tried to get clean before and relapsed, God is still there cheering them on. God understands that the journey to healing is messy and difficult, and He believes that anyone can overcome it. You are not a failure.
A Prayer For Freedom From Drugs
Dear Lord Jesus. We cry out for our families, our friends, and our nation. Many are trapped in the bondage of addiction. They feel alone, afraid, and ashamed. Others have lost their lives, leaving their families devastated. We ask you to call them out of the darkness into your marvelous light. Wrap your arms of mercy around the hurting, the enslaved, the wayward, and lead them home to you. In their brokenness of mind and body, comfort them in their spirits and grant them serenity as they surrender to you. Lord, we have hope because you are the God of hope who grants new beginnings to those who cry out to you. We praise you because nothing is impossible for those who believe in you. In Jesus name we pray.
Understanding Gods Hope And Help For Substance Abuse
As a counselor, Ive been asked these two questions many times over the years:
What does the Bible say about substance abuse?
What does the Bible say about addiction?
If youre using prescription drugs or alcohol to mask the hurt and pain, you are not alone. And you can begin your healing right now.
These verses of hope will help you cope with difficult emotions. As you read, think about how much more healing Gods love is than the empty high that comes from substance abuse, and find more lasting comfort in Gods love for you.
Biblical Hope For Those Struggling With Addiction
Wait, a minute! you might be saying about now. Addiction is a disease. It controls them. They dont control it. How can the Bible be calling it a sin?
While research and science have made great strides in understanding addiction and its treatment, they cannot explain the spiritual aspects and roots of addiction. They are both, however, unified in their desire to help those trapped in its snare. Consider the following verses.
Galatians 5:17-24 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
In the Message Version, we read in the book of Ephesians, Dont drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV
Come To Me All Who Labor And Are Heavy Laden And I Will Give You Rest Matthew 1: 28
The burden of guilt and regret that so many in recovery carry can be difficult to release. Tormented by all the bad they did when under the control of addiction, many people struggle to let go of this heavy load. This verse is a divine invitation to find rest and release from all these things. Think about asking for the burden to be lifted, so that sleep and rest will come. Add Jesus admonition here to your nightly prayers as a final thought before drifting off to sleep.
The Bibles Teachings On Addiction
The ancients were not immune to addiction. Alcohol and other substances were certainly known to the people of Bible lands and, like many today, people back then could also fall prey to addiction. Although we can now view substance addiction through the lens of disease treatment and medical understanding, we can also rely on the Bible for its words on addiction and the temptations that invariably accompany it. JCs Recovery Center is a faith-based rehab we offer Christian support alongside evidence-based therapies to help those suffering from addiction on their recovery journey. During our group sessions, we sometimes discuss what the Bible says in reference to addiction and the temptations that sufferers experience.
Continue reading for a selection of Bible verses that touch on the subject of addiction and what they teach us.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 2 Peter 2:19
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The Ecstasy And The Agony
Hailed as a wonder drug, Ecstasy is said to offer everything from limitless energy to reduced social inhibitions a virtual cure-all for the shy to greater spiritual awareness. Like marijuana, its supporters claim few negative side effects and lots of positive ones. And its increasing in popularity.Ecstasy use rises sharply among teens in 2000, The University of Michigan News and Information Services, December 14, 2000. So whats it all about?
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, if you want to get technical, Ecstasy or XTC in pop usage, combines the dual effects of a relaxant and a stimulant. Especially popular at raves, it has stimulant qualities that allow ravers literally to dance the night away, gyrating for hours on end with a seemingly endless supply of energy. Also, users experience a sense of euphoria, sometimes so strong it sends them into howls. Sense of touch is accentuated as well, and with that comes increased emotional intensity. For good reason, Ecstasy sometimes goes under the title of the hug drug or love drug.
Increased energy. Intense bliss. Affection without bounds. Could there be a downside to Ecstasy? Youd better believe it.
If you think the elation of Ecstasy is worth the risk, think again. With the side effects of scrambled judgment, deep depression, uncontrollable energy and impulses, fierce fevers and brain damage, Ecstasy will bring more agony than you might think.
A Biblical Definition Of Addiction
Editors Note: In the first article of a four-part series on the BCC Grace and Truth blog on the topic of addiction, David Dunham provides us with a biblical definition and overview of addiction. In other contributions to the series, Greg Gifford differentiates between cravings and desires in drug addiction,Donn Northup applies the Puritan flesh-pleasing model to counseling those with sexual addiction, and Eliza Huie discusses the acceptable addiction of screen abuse and offers biblical principles for stewarding screen time.
How we understand a problem will always determine how we understand help for the problem. This is, perhaps, obviously true when we talk about the nature of addictions. While the dominant models of addiction counseling view the problem from within either a disease or choice framework, the Bible offers a more robust perspective. Within Scripture, addictions are viewed as voluntary slavery.
The Bible can sympathize with this feeling of bondage, and yet it never avoids holding us morally responsible for our actions. We are moral agents, and the Bible treats us as such, even in the face of addictive habits. Ed Welch points out that drunkenness serves as a prototype for all addictions in the Bible, and it is always treated as a sin, never sickness. He writes:
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Really Think About It
Contrary to popular opinion, you are not a cosmic accident or mass of protoplasm wandering aimlessly on the planet. Rather, you were specially made by a loving Creator who intends for your life to be dynamic and purposeful. He made you in His image. You are an eternal, spiritual being with a miraculous mind and body that bears His reflection. And He wants every part of you to be pure.
This is only possible when your spirit lines up with Gods Spirit. When you sin, you disrupt your companionship with God and begin to slide away from Him. This is often a subtle, slow process at least at first.
Do not be fooled by those who claim they use drugs as a means to enhance their spirituality. It works just the opposite. Many drug users find the only way to relieve their guilt is to turn their backs on God. They go through a reasoning process something like this:
- If there is a God, I should do what He wants.
- But I want to do something He forbids.
- Therefore, Ill claim there must not be a God, or Ill conclude I can no longer serve Him because He certainly must hate me now.
Willful, repeated sinful behavior can cement such fundamentally flawed logic what the Bible calls a hardening of our hearts or being given over to a depraved mind . Its not that God wouldnt take us back. Instead, we have no desire to return. Without question, its an enormous risk to take.
What About Marijuana Cocaine Narcoticslsd Hallucinogens Stimulants Sedatives Hypnoticspsychedelics And Heroin What Does The Word Of God Say Achristian Should Believe
Surely no one can deny that drug abuse is a serious moralproblem in society today.
2/3 of American kids try an illegal drug before they finishhigh school. If alcohol is included, the number is closer to 90%.
1/3 of American kids try an illegal drug other than marijuanabefore they finish high school.
The leading cause of death at ages 15-24 is drunk driving.
During the early 1990’s, marijuana use among teens increasedby nearly 50% or more at every age level – “The New PotCulture,”USA Weekend, 2/16-18/1996.
Many forces influence people, especially young people, tobegin drug use.
Much modern music, movies, and TV programs glorify illegaldrugs, such as marijuana. “Today, marijuana is openlypromoted at concerts, on CDs, even on clothes – sending teens amessage of social acceptance…” Many specific examples areshown and cited – USA Weekend, 2/16-18/1996.
Young people at school are continually surrounded by drugusers. I once asked a Bible class of public school junior highand high school students, how many personally knew people whoused drugs. 7 out of 8 said they did.
School drug programs propose to help solve the problem. Butnearly all of them teach situation ethics: it’s up to each personwhether or not to use drugs, moderate use may be all right if youdon’t get addicted, etc. They do not teach kids to avoid drugs,not even illegal drugs!
The purpose of this study is to examine the problem ofdrug abuse in light of the Bible.
Please consider these facts:
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What The Bible Says About Drunkenness And Drunkards
Alcohol was one of the most abused drugs during the time period during which the Bible was written. Its possible that references to drunkenness refer to alcohol addiction.
Dozens of Bible verses refer to drunkards and drunkenness.
- Romans 13:13
- Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
- Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
- Galatians 5:19-21
- The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery idolatry and witchcraft hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
These verses can be interpreted to mean that being addicted to alcohol is a sin, but the sin is forgiven if you recover from alcoholism. The verses can also be interpreted to mean being drunk is a sin, and if you stop sinning , God will forgive you.