Beer, wine, whiskey, and vodka are all advertised as something to enjoy during your free time. We often see the Budweiser commercials with the Clydesdale horses or a Hallmark movie with an attractive couple enjoying a glass of wine during a romantic dinner. Viewed alone, we would think that alcoholic drinks are a wonderful way to experience happiness. However, that would not be the whole picture. We also notice the drunk staggering down the road, the tombstones of the family killed by a drunk driver, and the frightened woman who was just beaten by her drunk husband. From our own experience, we know that some enjoy alcohol but others whose lives have been devastated by it. Before you get involved, it would be good for you to consider what the Bible say about alcohol.
- Biblical approval of alcohol
The Bible does say some positive things about drinking wine. While there is a difference between grape juice, fermented wine, and strong drink in the Bible, it is true that some of it contained at least a small amount of fermentation. (See David Brown’s article for more information about this.) And this seems to be what made it enjoyable.
Wine was part of Isaac’s blessing to Jacob (Gen. 27:28).
Wine was part of offerings (Ex. 29:40).
Wine was part of God’s blessing (Psa. 104:14-15).
Alcohol can temporarily cover a problem (Prov. 31:6-7).
Wine has medical uses (Luke 10:34; 1 Tim. 5:23).
Wine will be part of the future kingdom (Matt. 26:29).
Wine was created by Jesus for a marriage feast (John 2:10).
It may come as a surprise that there are this many positive statements about wine in the Bible. If we were to conclude our study at this moment, we might be tempted to think that moderate use of alcoholic beverages is a good thing condoned by God. However, this would only be part of what the Bible says about alcohol. The positive aspects of alcoholic beverages are overshadowed by the many warnings about the dangers of drinking. Consider the following warnings.
- Biblical warnings about alcohol
Each of us has known someone who has been affected by alcohol. It has affected individuals, families, and strangers. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a person dies every 33 minutes in an alcohol related accident. And that’s not all. An estimated 310,000 persons were injured in crashes each year where police reported that alcohol was present. Thats an average of one person injured approximately every 2 minutes. Consider these additional statistics from the United States Justice Department: Nearly 4 in 10 violent victimizations involve use of alcohol. Also, victim reports show, on average each year about 183,000 rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol use by the offender, as do just over 197,000 robberies, about 661,000 aggravated assaults, and nearly 1.7 million simple assaults.”1
Alcohol can lead to mockery, brawling, and unwise activity (Prov. 20:1).
Alcohol can lead to sorrow, contentions, and perversity (Prov. 23:29-35).
Alcohol can lead to addiction (Prov. 23:35).
Alcohol can pervert justice (Prov. 31:4-5).
Alcohol can overpower (Isa. 28:1, 7; Hos. 4:11).
Alcohol can be used for sexual immorality (Hab. 2:15; Eph. 5:18).
Alcohol can make you unprepared for the future (Luke 21:34).
Alcohol can lead to drunkenness, lust, and strife (Rom. 13:13).
Alcohol can cause a brother to stumble (Rom. 14:21).
Alcohol can keep someone from God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21).
Alcohol can keep someone from becoming a pastor (1 Tim. 3:3).
When you look at the problems associated with alcohol and the warnings given by God, does it seem like it is worth getting involved with? My personal opinion is that Christians should stay away from it so as to avoid the many pitfalls associated with it. However, if you are not convinced yet, consider the following six people in the Bible and how alcohol affected their lives.
- Biblical stories about alcohol
The Bible contains many stories about people who were overcome by alcohol and the people that were affected. The results are not pretty.
Noah got drunk and took off his clothes (Gen. 9:20-26).
Lot got drunk and committed incest (Gen. 19:30-38).
David got Uriah drunk to cover his adultery (2 Sam. 11:13).
Amnon got drunk and was murdered (2 Sam. 13:28-29).
King Ahasuerus got drunk and wanted to show off his wife (Esther 1:10-11).
John the Baptist did not drink (Luke 1:15).
In all but the last situation, alcohol was a negative influence in each person’s life. And it affected not only the reputation of the individual but also the lives of others around him. If each person could go back and make a different decision, do you think that they would have chosen to stay away from alcohol? Of the six, however, there is one person who had no regrets. That person was John the Baptist. God used him in a great way as he prepared the way for Jesus. Alcohol related sins never stained his reputation or hindered his ministry for the Lord.
One of the things that I have tried to do with this message is to give a fair description of what the Bible says about drinking alcohol. The Bible says some positive things about drinking wine (not strong drink). But it also gives many warnings and examples of the pitfalls associated with drinking alcoholic beverages. An article like this would be easy to skim through and make a “well I think” argument. I hope you have read each of the Scripture passages so that you are fully informed as to what God says. Assuming that you have read through all of these passages, it is time to apply what God has said. Is it wise for a Christian to drink alcohol? This decision should not be made without careful thought. Seek the Lord and live without regrets.
Brown, David L., “Seven Good Reasons Christians Should Not Drink,” as viewed at http://logosresourcepages.org/Believers/drinking.htm on 7/9/2023.
“Did Jesus change the water into wine or grape juice?” as viewed at https://printer.gotquestions.net/GeneratePF?articleId=1621 on 7/9/2023.
Harding, Mike, “A Survey of Biblical Teaching on Alcohol,” as viewed at https://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2012/04/17/a-survey-of-biblical-teaching-on-alcohol on 7/8/2023.
Rupert, Andy, “Abstinence makes sense,” as viewed at https://islekerguelen.com/2007/07/25/abstinence-makes-sense on 7/9/2023.
Rupert, Andy, “Another Reason to Abstain from Alcohol,” as viewed at https://islekerguelen.com/2009/05/07/another-reason-to-abstain-from-alcoholic-beverages on 7/9/2023.
“The Eclectic Web–2013/3/11” as viewed at https://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2013/03/11/the-eclectic-web2013311 on 7/8/2023.