What Does the Bible Say About Alcohol? Is Drinking It a Sin?


It is not a sin to drink alcohol in moderation. The Bible describes wine as a gift from God that can make life more enjoyable. (Psalm 104:14, 15; Ecclesiastes 3:13; 9:7) The Bible also acknowledges the medicinal value of wine.—1 Timothy 5:23.

Jesus drank wine during his time on earth. (Matthew 26:29; Luke 7:34) In one of his well-known miracles, Jesus turned water into wine as a generous gift at a marriage feast.—John 2:1-10.


Dangers of over-drinking
While the Bible mentions the positive aspects of wine, it condemns overdrinking and drunkenness. Thus, a Christian who chooses to drink alcohol would do so only in moderation. (1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:2, 3) The Bible gives several reasons to avoid over-drinking.

It impairs thinking ability and judgment. (Proverbs 23:29-35) An intoxicated person cannot fulfill the Bible’s command to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.”—Romans 12:1.

Overdrinking removes inhibitions and “the motivation to do what is right.”—Hosea 4:11;Ephesians 5:18.

It can lead to poverty and serious health problems.—Proverbs 23:21, 31, 32.

Heavy drinking and drunkenness displease God.—Proverbs 23:20; Galatians 5:19-21.


How much is too much?
A person has had too much alcohol when his drinking puts him or others at risk of harm. According to the Bible, drunkenness is identified, not by a person’s passing out, but by such behavior as being disoriented, walking unsteadily, becoming contentious, or having slurred speech. (Job 12:25; Psalm 107:27;Proverbs 23:29, 30, 33) Even those who avoid getting drunk can still become “weighed down with . . . heavy drinking” and experience its serious consequences.—Luke 21:34, 35.

Complete abstinence
The Bible also identifies times when Christians should avoid drinking alcohol altogether:

If others would be stumbled by it.—Romans 14:21.

If drinking alcohol violates the law of the land.—Romans 13:1.

If a person cannot control his drinking. Those who suffer from alcoholism and other forms of alcohol abuse must be willing to take drastic action.—Matthew 5:29, 30.
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