What Does the Bible Say About Alcohol?

Scripture has a lot to say about alcohol use and misuse and includes examples of both. What does the Bible say about alcohol, and what should we learn?

The Bible does not prohibit the proper use of alcohol, but it strongly warns against and condemns its misuse. The dangers of alcohol abuse are clearly stated in the Bible.

What does the Bible say about alcohol and its proper use?

The Bible cites many instances of the proper use of alcohol. Wine and other alcoholic beverages could be enjoyed in moderation during the celebration of God’s festivals (Deuteronomy 14:23-26). Wine was considered evidence of God’s blessing and of prosperity (2 Chronicles 32:27-28; Proverbs 3:9-10). Psalm 104 praises God for His greatness and verse 15 lists blessings that can enrich life, such as bread and oil and wine that “makes glad the heart of man.” (This refers to an enjoyable meal, not intoxication.)

In His first public miracle Jesus changed water into wine (John 2:1-11) and in doing so endorsed the use of wine as part of the celebration of a wedding feast. Paul instructed Timothy to use “a little wine” for health reasons (1 Timothy 5:23).

Though Scripture includes many examples of the proper use of alcohol, its overuse and misuse are strictly prohibited.Wine is part of the ceremonial observance of Passover (Matthew 26:27-29; 1 Corinthians 11:25). Paul warned about drinking too much wine at the Passover (1 Corinthians 11:21), making it clear that he was warning about the alcoholic beverage, not juice.

What does the Bible say about alcohol and its misuse?

Though Scripture includes many examples of the proper use of alcohol, its overuse and misuse are strictly prohibited. The Bible includes examples of how drinking excessively leads to sin (Genesis 9:20-23; 19:30-36; Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35). Drinking to excess is explicitly condemned (Galatians 5:21; Romans 13:13). Since drunkenness is condemned, those who have a weakness that leads to the abuse of or addiction to alcohol should not drink.

Those who choose to drink alcohol in moderation should be sensitive to those who are offended at its use (Romans 14:21). Jeremiah 35 relates the story of a family called the Rechabites whom God blessed because they honored the family teaching and tradition of not drinking wine.

So, in summary, what does the Bible say about alcohol? Scripture instructs us that the drinking of alcohol is not prohibited. But any who choose to drink alcohol must do so carefully and moderately, and they must respect the decision of any who choose to not use alcohol.

About the Author

Don Henson

Don Henson

Don Henson, along with his wife, Rannie, is currently the pastor of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, congregations in Akron-Canton and Columbus-Cambridge, Ohio. He has been in the pastoral ministry since 1986, previously serving congregations in Oregon, Tennessee, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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