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Have you ever wondered what the Bible says about drinking alcohol? The Bible isn’t silent about alcohol. In fact, it has much to say about the matter.
There’s disagreement on this topic. Some Christians believe alcohol shouldn’t be consumed at all whereas others are more lenient.
Let’s turn to the Bible to learn more about what it says about alcohol.
Bible Verses About Drinking Alcohol
Here are some Bible verses about drinking alcohol:
- Ephesians 5:18 – “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,” (ESV).
- Romans 14:21 – “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble,” (ESV).
- Isaiah 5:11 – “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!” (ESV).
- 1 Timothy 3:8 – “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain,” (ESV).
- Matthew 11:19 – “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds,” (ESV).
Is drinking alcohol a sin in Christianity?
Alcohol isn’t inherently sinful. I’m under the belief drinking is fine as long as it’s done in moderation. I believe this is what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches getting drunk is a sin.
“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 ESV).
This passage demonstrates that those who make a habitual practice of these things are not saved. In particular, it lists drunkenness as one of these “works of the flesh”.
“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one,” (1 Corinthians 5:11 ESV).
This passage tells us that we’re not even supposed to associate with a professing Christian if they practice these things habitually and don’t repent.
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18 ESV).
This verse clearly states not to get drunk with wine. This doesn’t mean we can get drunk with other types of alcohol though. We need to read the Bible as a whole and not isolate one verse when forming beliefs.
What does the Bible say about drinking beer?
There aren’t any Bible verses that directly mention beer. This doesn’t mean getting drunk with beer is permitted though.
As mentioned earlier, the Bible prohibits getting drunk altogether.
What does the Bible say about drinking wine?
The Bible has a lot to say about wine – it speaks of wine in both negative and positive ways.
“Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise,” (Proverbs 20:1 NIV).
“Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses,” (1 Timothy 5:23 NIV).
“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do,” (Ecclesiastes 9:7 NIV).
“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,” (Psalm 104:14-15 NIV).
Drinking wine isn’t a sin. However, it’s a sin to get drunk. We need to be cautious when treading the line between drinking and getting drunk.
Did Jesus turn water into wine or grape juice?
There’s debate on whether Jesus turned water into wine or grape juice at a wedding. The story is told in John 2:1-12. This is considered his first miracle.
The Greek word used for wine here is oinos. This word is used multiple times in the New Testament as wine. Specifically, it’s used in Ephesians 5:18.
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18 NIV).
You can’t get drunk on grape juice, but you can get drunk on wine. Since the same word is being used here, it would make sense this word actually means ‘wine’ in Jesus’ miracle.
Jesus didn’t turn water into grape juice, but into wine.
What does the Bible say about pastors drinking alcohol?
There are qualifications for a pastor – one of these qualifications being that he wouldn’t drink too much. Here are a couple of verses that speak of pastors and alcohol:
“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,” (Titus 1:7 ESV).
“Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain,” (1 Timothy 3:8 ESV).
The terms overseer, deacon, and elder are used interchangeably for the word pastor. Both of these verses tell us that a pastor must not be a drunkard or addicted to much wine.
This doesn’t mean a pastor can’t drink alcohol at all, but he should be wise when drinking alcohol.
Keep these things in mind when drinking alcohol
There are a few things you should keep in mind when drinking alcohol.
Addiction is a sin.
First, realize that addiction is a sin. Drinking alcohol isn’t a sin, but being addicted is. For example, let’s say you drink beer every night. You don’t necessarily get drunk, but you feel you need this beer every night. If this is you, examine your heart and see if you can live without beer every night. You might find that you’re addicted to drinking alcohol.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything,” (1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV).
“I will not be mastered by anything” means to not allow anything to become an addiction or to allow anything to overtake you.
Don’t be a stumbling block.
If you’re with others who struggle with the temptation of drinking too much, you shouldn’t drink alcohol around them. Don’t be a stumbling block to others.
“All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall,” (Romans 14:20-21 NIV).
Our company influences us (1 Corinthians 15:33). Don’t allow yourself to be a bad influence on others.
Be wise and don’t tempt yourself.
If you have a past with alcohol and you have a hard time controlling how much you drink, don’t tempt yourself. I’d advise not drinking alcohol at all.
Yes, it’s not necessarily a sin to have a drink. But if you struggle with self-control, don’t drink at all. Don’t tempt yourself. It’s easy to say you’ll only have one drink, but it’s harder to carry that out when you have a past of drinking too much.
So, it’s not a sin to drink, but it is a sin to drink excessively. It’s also a sin for anything to become an addiction or be a stumbling block to others. We need to be wise when and if we drink.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV).
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