Drinking and Alcohol in the Bible

I am so glad the the Bible never changes. God never changes. And what God says about various vices of smoking, alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. is never ‘adjusted’ based on the times or someone’s personal preference. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)  So let’s take some time to explore what the Bible says about alcohol and drinking.

soul paneth after water

Is Alcohol Addictive?

I would like to answer this question with a resounding YES! Alcohol is addictive. It is habit forming, family destroying, and a life wrecking addiction. Proverbs 23:35 it says, “…when I awake I will seek it yet again.”

According to AlcoholAddiction.info some 30% of Americans report having an alcohol disorder at some point in their lifetime. It can seem like the bottle has the strongest call in their ears while nothing else matters. At one point we counseled with a couple about drinking. The husband couldn’t seem to hold down a job for more than a few weeks before surrendering to alcohol once again. Employers cannot operate with people who show up drunk at starting time, so he lost job after job. The real challenge came in at the point where the wife was ready to give up on the marriage and him. Though he said he loved her,  he did not want to quit drinking. Until someone is willing to admit they have a problem and they desire to stop, quitting is far from their reach.

Warnings Against Drinking in the Bible

Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Indulging in alcohol is opening yourself up to control by something other than the Holy Spirit. Booze cloud your mind and dull your senses. We are to be always in control of our minds, taking every thought into captivity and trying it against the Word of God (II Corinthians 10:5). Proverbs 23:29 says that when you are drinking you have sorrow, contentions, babbling, wounds without cause, and redness of eyes. Who would want that? But this is the result of having liquor in control of your mind. Verse 35 continues describing drinking as feeling like you are stricken and beaten but no one has done it to you. You did it to yourself, through the alcohol.

Proverbs also says in 23:21 that the drunkard shall come to poverty. Vices like this suck up all of the money. Soon the rent is left unpaid, the utilities are paid late, and the grocery money is even dipped into.

When the Scripture mentions Jesus made water into wine, it is referring to un-fermented wine. The Bible never contradicts itself. Proverbs, Isaiah 28, and other passages clearly label alcohol is destructive, a mocker, and leading to poverty. If you do a word study back in the word of ‘wine’ you will find basically that the Bible word for wine is equivalent to today’s word ‘grape juice’. It is man that decided fermenting it was a good idea. Even in Genesis Noah’s son got him drunk with wine. So this is no new problem in the world.

Social Drinking

Drinking to be accepted in the office or by the boss is not a good reason to justify it. It is best to stay completely away from any form of alcohol or places that serve it. Treat it as a snare that Satan wishes to use to draw you away from God– not something that helps you ‘fit in’ with your peers. Stand up for your faith and instead of accepting a beer or a glass of wine ask for a bottle of pop or a cup of coffee. I have heard professional people give a testimony in church of how they met other believer’s by standing on this principle.

Alcohol in the Bible

The only place that alcohol is referred to as acceptable is when Paul told Timothy (I Timothy 5:23) to take a little wine for his stomach and his often infirmities.Wine does have some medicinal properties of thinning the blood. But extreme care must be used to not let it have any more place in our lives than that.  This would be similar to taking some cold medicines today.

Effects of Alcohol

One effect of alcohol can be found Isaiah 28:7. This verse states that the prophet and priest have erred through wine. Strong drink has taken them out of the way. They are swallowed up by the wine. They err in their vision and stumble in judgement. So drinking leads to dangerous situations.

For some other effects of wine found in the Bible let’s look at Proverbs 23 once again. Verse 29 and 30 says if you spend a lot of time with the bottle you will end up  in woe, sorrow, babbling, wounds without cause, redness of eyes, and contentions. These sure are not what the beer commercials portray!

Alcohol Addiction Help

If alcohol is stealing away your life or the life of someone you love, let me encourage you. There is hope! There is victory! And it is all through Jesus Christ. He can handle any problem. If you are the one struggling with the addiction let me challenge you to:

admit you need help,
seek out a local church,
ask the pastor for help,
stay away from the bars and ‘friends’ who attract you towards it,
seek someone to hold you accountable,
start daily reading your Bible and praying,
draw nigh unto God.

These are only a short list of ideas for stopping drinking. From my understanding alcohol addiction can vary in degrees. So don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to break the bands asunder. Remember, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. And if the Son shall set you free ye shall be free in deed. Our hearts should pant after God as a deer seeks after water. Not after something that will destroy us.

If we can be of any help or support to you regarding this subject or others feel free to email us. We are always here to help.

Headwaters Baptist Church