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What The Bible Says About Drinking

Is It A Sin To Drink Alcohol

What the Bible REALLY Says About Alcohol

Le Ann TreesThursday, 29 December 16

Some Christians think it is perfectly fine to drink alcohol, while others believe it is sinful to partake. Which view is correct?

On the other hand, everyone reading this most likely knows someone who has been hurt in some way because of alcohol. You may live with an alcoholic or know someone who does. You may know a family whose relative has died in an accident caused by the consumption of alcohol. I personally have experienced both of these situations.

What does the Bible have to say about the topic of alcohol use? Many Christians completely abstain from consuming any alcohol, since they believe Scripture declares it to be sinful. Others point to the fact that Jesus not only drank wine, but he also made wine at a wedding in Cana where the host had run out of his own supply in the middle of the celebration. Jesus own mother, Mary, actually brought the situation to his attention .

Alcohol is not evil in itself. It is one of Gods good gifts that can beand often isabused . There are numerous Bible verses that extol alcohol and ones that give dire warnings regarding its intake. lists 75 passages from the Bible about drinking alcohol.

One Bible verse that clearly supports the intake of alcohol is the apostle Pauls admonition to Timothy to drink wine for health reasons:

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

What Does The Bible Say About Drinking

From the first book of the Old Testament onward, people who got drunk are condemned as examples of behavior to avoid. In every instance, a bad consequence resulted. Noah is the earliest mention , followed by Nabal, Uriah the Hittite, Elah, Ben-hadad, Belshazzar, and people in Corinth.

Verses that denounce drunkenness say it leads to other moral lapses, such as sexual immorality and laziness. Further, drunkenness clouds the mind and makes it impossible to worship God and act in a respectable manner:

Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

At least six major denominations call for total abstinence from alcoholic beverages: the Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene, United Methodist Church, United Pentecostal Church, and Seventh-day Adventists.

Jesus Banqueted With Wine To Demonstrate The Joy Of The Nearness Of The Kingdom Of God

One of the marks of Jesus ministry was table fellowship. Jesus is often found eating in others homes or hosting meals. These instances of table fellowship left a deep mark on those who observed them or participated in them. These were not merely times to share food, but were platforms for Jesus to challenge social norms and make profound theological statements about himself and the kingdom of God.

What were these moments of table fellowship like? The Gospel of Luke offers us many glimpses. These were far from casual meals. Repentant sinners impacted by Jesus message would hold great feasts, and together Jesus and his disciples would recline with tax collectors and other notorious individuals . Jesus would even host his own banquets . These joyful feasts were settings where Jesus would call sinners to repentance , where men publicly turned from sin , and where Jesus spoke of the joy of the angels when even one sinner repents . The meals might even be interrupted with sobering moments of remorseful weeping as Jesus declared sinners forgiven . Some were miraculously healed . During these times, eager listeners would sit at His feet to hear His words . He would rebuke hypocrisy and empty religion , teach about genuine humility and honor , and challenged the social norms that divided rich and poor .

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Private Priestly Prayers At Mass

Question: I notice, especially at daily Mass, that the priest mumbles a lot of prayers to himself. What is this, and why doesnt he say them aloud so we can all hear them?

Name withheld

Answer: There are a number of secret or private prayers a priest is directed to say at Mass. There is one he says after the Gospel, some during the offertory and some before and after receiving Communion. The point of these prayers is for the priest to remain prayerfully devoted and attentive to what he is doing.

As for people being able to hear them, that is not the purpose of these prayers. There are just some things in the liturgy that pertain to the priest alone, a man in need of prayer who is summoned to union with the Lord in the midst of his liturgical role. In one prayer the priest privately says, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, through your Death gave life to the world, free me by this, your most holy Body and Blood, from all my sins and from every evil keep me always faithful to your commandments, and never let me be parted from you. Here is a prayer both beautiful and necessary for the priest to quietly and devotedly recite. This is for him, a priest, but also a man before God about to receive his Lord.

Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C., and writes for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. at Send questions to .

Scriptures Pertaining To Drinking Alcohol

What Does The Bible Say About Alcohol? (and common ...

The Bible does not forbid drinking, but it forbids drunkenness. According to the Bible, drinking alcoholic beverages is not sinful but drunkenness is a sin.

Ecclesiastes 9:7“Go, eat your good with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved of what you do.”

Ephesians 5:18“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

Psalm 104:14-15“He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate – bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.”

Proverbs 20:1“Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”

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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).

Not All Wine In The New Testament Is Wine

In Greek, it seems even harder to tell whether or not the wine in question is fermented or unfermented. Again, just as with the Hebrew language, the Greek word for wine is a generic term that can refer to any beverage made from grapes. Context must tell us whether the beverage contains alcohol or not.

In fact, many point to Jesus turning water into wine as proof that the Christian is free to indulge in the drinking of alcohol today. They quote the master of the feast, Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now . And explain his statement to mean that everyone at a party is usually so drunk by the end, they cannot distinguish whether the wine is good or not.

If this explanation were true, it would imply that everyone at the wedding feast in Cana was drunk, and that Jesus was providing more alcohol to already intoxicated people. In fact, He would have provided between 120-130 gallons of intoxicating wine to people who were already drunk! How contradictory that would be to New Testament teaching, And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery !

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Parental Responsibility In Drinking

What does the Bible say about Alcohol?

Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting at home, when you are out walking, at bedtime, and before breakfast! Deuteronomy 11:19

The mandate to parents is to live out the Word of God all day long.

You can tell your kids they dont need alcohol to be sociable, but do you model that for them?

You can tell them to drink responsibly, but do you do the same? Do you cross the line? Do you say things after a couple of drinks that you wouldnt say beforehand?

Do you need a drink to relax? To cool your anger?

While my daughters were young, I made the decision to abstain from the use of alcohol so I could model for them how to live without it. I wanted them to see for themselves that we could laugh and enjoy life without a beer or a glass of wine. I also wanted to show them that being sociable, handling stress and dealing with anger were things God could help us with.

Although I didnt take a Nazirite vow Ive continued to abstain. And even though I dont believe the scriptures frown on responsible drinking, my decision not to drink was the best decision for me.

As a Bible teacher and a staff member of a Christian recovery center I knew I was responsible for not causing someone under my teaching to stumble in their faith simply because I insisted on taking a drink. All that time, God has proven to me that I can enjoy life and handle its difficulties under the power and control of His Spirit.

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What I Am Saying

What I am talking about is attitude. When you think of a glass of wine, or for that matter, vats of wine overflowing, do you count such a thing as a blessing? When you think about the calm, relaxation, and contentment one feels after enjoying a glass or two of good wine, do you praise God for this good gift? Do you believe you can drink wine in honor of the Lord and to His glory ?

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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Ancient Wine And Biblical Wine

The wine in ancient days was diluted with water. The ratio of water to wine was as high as ten parts of water to one part of wine. That is, their wine was diluted compared to the wine that people drink today. There are many historical references which support this statement.

The ratio of water to wine varied. Homer mentions a ratio of 20 to 1, twenty parts to one part wine. Pliny mentions a ratio of eight parts water to one part wine. In one ancient work, Athenaeus The Learned Banquet, written around A.D. 200, we find in Book Ten a collection of statements from earlier writers about drinking practices. A quotation from a play by Aristophanes reads, Here, drink this also, mingled three and two. Demus, Zeus! But its sweet and bears the three parts well! The poet Euneos, who lived in the fifth century B.C., is quoted: The best measure of wine is neither much nor very little for tis the cause of either grief or madness. It pleases the wine to be fourth, mixed with three nymphs.

The following is a quote from Clement of Alexandria which indicates that the wine was mixed with water.

Plutarch reveals that the ancient was mixed by as much as one-to-one to five parts of wine to one part of water.

In Maccabees 15:39 we read that is was hurtful to drink wine without diluting it.

For as it is hurtful to drink wine or water alone . . . Maccabees 15:39

Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. John 4:46

No Biblical Prohibition On Drinking Alcohol


The Bible does not prohibit the consumption of alcohol but leaves that choice up to the individual.

Opponents argue against drinking by citing the destructive effects of alcohol addiction, such as divorce, job loss, traffic accidents, break up of families, and destruction of the addict’s health.

One of the most dangerous elements of drinking alcohol is setting a bad example for other believers or leading them astray. The Apostle Paul, especially, cautions Christians to act responsibly so as not to be a bad influence on less mature believers:

Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless-not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.

As with other issues not specifically spelled out in Scripture, the decision whether to drink alcohol is something each person must wrestle with on their own, consulting the Bible and taking the matter to God in prayer.

In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, Paul sets down the principle we should use in such cases:

“Everything is permissible”-but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”-but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

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Find The Abundant Life

Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly . By using alcohol we participate in destroying not only our own life, but often the lives of others. Even in moderation, alcohol use causes significant problemsphysically, mentally, and spiritually. Its no wonder the Bible consistently warns against it. God says, in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now and let us reason together.” With alcohol use we temporarily and permanently stupefy our reasoning powers. So, for a Christian, is it drinkable, or unthinkable?

Bible Passages About Drinking Alcohol

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

Ephesians 5:18

Ephesians 5:18 teaches that we should not get drunk with alcohol.

12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything.

1 Corinthians 6:12

19 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

1 Corinthians 6:12 and 2 Peter 2:19 teaches that although it is not a sin to drink alcohol, we should not let alcohol control us.

9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idols temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your

1 Corinthians 8:9-13

1 Corinthians 8:9-13 teaches that we should not drink alcohol if it will cause another person to stumble.

1 Timothy 5:23

In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul instructs Timothy to drink a little wine for health purposes.

Also, in John 2:1-11, Jesus turns the water into wine, and the master of the feast says to him, Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.

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What The Bible Says About Drinking Alcohol

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

The Bible doesn’t say drinking alcoholic beverages is wrong. Since the Bible doesnt forbid alcohol, it becomes a personal decision whether a person drinks or not. There is no commandment that says, “You shall not drink.” However, there are other things the Bible says about drinking.

Listed below are some of the things the Bible says about drinking alcoholic beverages that disciples of Christ should know.

Abundant Wine Is One Of The Blessings Of The Age To Come

What does the Bible say about alcohol?

On the day God swallows up death forever and wipes away every tear, the Lord will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, or aged wine will refined . On that day God will again be God to all the clans of Israel, He will restore their fortunes, they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine , they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil . God promises to restore to Israel the years that the swarming locust has eaten: the threshing floors will be full of grain and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil .

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