What does the Bible say about
drinking alcohol or wine?
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Question: What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol or wine? Is it sin to drink alcohol?
Answer: God has quite a bit to say about the drinking of alcohol (Judges 13:4, 7, 14; Isaiah 5:11, 22, 24:9, 28:7, 29:9, 56:12; Proverbs 20:1, 31:4). Jesus made some very interesting comments about the criticism leveled at him and John the Baptist related to their behavior and their drinking beverages with alcohol. Some, because he did not have alcohol, were critical of John the Baptist for NOT having intoxicating drinks (he was under a Nazarite vow to God). These same folks also condemned Jesus FOR having fermented drinks - even accusing him of being a DRUNK! Jesus made several comments regarding what he thought of drinking:
"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children . . . saying: 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; We mourned to you, and you did not lament.' For John came neither eating nor drinking (alcohol), and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children." (Matthew 11:16-19, NKJV throughout)
John's vow precluded him from having not only wine (fermented juice) or alcohol but also grape juice - in fact, he could not even eat any grapes! The primary location in the Scriptures that discusses the Nazarite vow and alcohol is in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 6. Unlike John, Jesus came to eat and drink alcohol, and they called Him a winebibber (Matthew 11:19). Jesus drank wine, but he did not sin; therefore, it is not wrong or bad if we do a little bit of drinking ourselves. In fact, Jesus' own mother, Mary, asked her son to make more wine at the marriage feast in Cana (see John chapter 2). He obeyed His mother even though his time to perform miracles had not yet arrived. He made more wine than they could drink! One of the greatest Biblical proofs that alcohol is not a sin in the eyes of God is the fact that drinking wine shows Christ died for our sins.
Some say that "oinos" (Strong's Concordance
#3631) means grape juice - certainly not something with alcohol - and that on Passover they were drinking it. This could not be because it represented His blood, which pictures life. Wine is fermented grape juice which is active or "living" just as our blood. The Apostle Paul did not think wine or alcohol was wrong. He tells Timothy, who was having stomach trouble, that he should drink some of it for his stomach's sake (see 1Timothy 5:23). Based on the Bible, drinking alcohol is of itself not a sin or harmful. As stated previously, Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine to benefit his health. The latest scientific findings show that taking a moderate amount of wine may be helpful for our heart and lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Of course, the Bible does condemn drunkenness. Lot, Abraham's nephew, got drunk after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and had sex with his daughters (Genesis 19:23-25, 30-36).
Paul's letter to Titus states that a minister of God should not be given to drinking wine or an alcoholic:
"For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money . . . " (Titus 1:7)
Drunkenness is clearly not acceptable in God's word:
"Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money . . . " (1Timothy 3:8).
Paul again warns us that we should not be taking in alcohol until we are drunk:
"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit . . ." (Ephesians 5:18).
As long as we drink in moderation, God's word states it is good for us, but drunkenness or alcoholism is definitely a sin and should not to be a part of a Christian's life. Thank you for sending in your question.
Written by: Art Mokarow