Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

I am pretty sure you know where this post is going. I am attempting to write a post on the topic of alcohol, and what Jesus thinks about drinking in the Bible. I need you to realize that my post will not be biased to one side or the other. This is a simple conversation among brothers and sisters. Let’s try and be civil.

 Non-negotiable

  • Getting drunk is a sin. (Ephesians 5:18) 

But, is drinking alcohol a sin?

  • Depending on how much you drink, and where your heart is while you do it is what can be the game changer. Even though I myself don’t drink, I have no problems stating scripturally that a glass of wine or beer for someone who is “of age” is not wrong. In fact, you’d be surprised to know that some historical texts show us that small doses of alcohol was once encouraged for certain health reasons.

  • Understand that the water Jesus turned into wine is not comparable to the alcoholic beverages we serve today. Big servings of alcohol in front of children would have deemed as “un-Godly,” and the potential of someone encountering a state of drunkenness is not something you’d want interfering with a “holy” union of marriage. Jesus is against sin, and drunkenness is not something he was looking to open the door to. Not to mention, some scholars believe the only reason alcohol was even served as a drink was to dilute the infections within one’s drinking water.

What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol?

  • What God commands Christians regarding alcohol is to avoid drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18).
  • The Bible condemns drunkenness and its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35). Christians are also commanded to not allow their bodies to be “mastered” by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19).
  • Drinking alcohol in excess is unbelievably addictive. Scripture also forbids a Christian from doing anything that might offend other Christians or encourage them to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-13). In light of these principles, it would be extremely difficult for any Christ-follower to say he is drinking alcohol in excess to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Ya, don’t try to justify that one.

Alcohol, consumed in small quantities, is neither harmful nor addictive. In fact, even today some doctors advocate drinking small amounts of red wine for its health benefits, especially for the heart. Consumption of small quantities of alcohol is a matter of Christian freedom. But, we need to understand that within these freedoms comes a personal responsibility to act accordingly, and to also not be a stumbling block for others. We can’t argue that drunkenness and addiction are sins. Why? Because within the confines of scripture it tells us so.

There are other questions we need to ask ourselves when taking part in much harder alcoholic beverages.

In the end, the presentation of your heart is what matters. The choice is up to you, but I pray through prayer and meditation you find peace with your decision. This post is not to encourage drinking nor condemn it.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2

We are called to be living examples of Christ. I pray that we would continue to resemble that reflection as Christ-followers, especially when it comes to topics such as “drinking alcoholic beverages.” Alcohol has destroyed way too many lives, and I pray that your decision will come with much prayer and meditation.

- Jarrid Wilson

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What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

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110 Comments

  • Geoff June 28, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Alcohol causes a massage amount of death, injury, cancer, rape, child abuse, and other loss and damage. Buying alcohol provides more profit to the alcohol industry so they can pay for more advertising to promote alcohol and thereby cause even more damage and destruction. Therefore we shouldn’t use alcohol, end of story. Further, the Bible is very emphatic that we should love our neighbour as ourselves. That means not supporting an industry that increases the risk our neighbour will be killed or injured in a drink driving accident. It also means not wasting our money on unnecessary drinks when we could use it to pay for life saving vaccines for children in third world countries. If a Biblical interpretation is inconsistent with doing everything possible to help others, then it’s going to be wrong. The references to wine in the Bible shouldn’t be taken literally. Changing water into wine isn’t about literal water and wine. What’s the point of that? Anyone can make literal wine. When we give, we receive, and believe. Our ordinary lives will become better and more meaningful, and we’ll probably feel better. That’s the change.

  • Sarah Kirk June 21, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    As someone who lost a family member to a drunk driver, I am totally against drunkenness. Getting drunk has serious consequences for more than just the person getting drunk. It hurts other people too. Because drunkenness exists, my dad will never see me get married or see my children!
    However, after some years of healing and thought, I am not against drinking a small amount of alcohol. I occasionally taste wine or cook with it. There is nothing wrong with that scripturally.
    Still, we must be sensitive to those who have lost loved ones because of someone else’s drunkenness. If I were with such a person, or a former alcoholic, I would want to make sure I did not hurt them by drinking any alcohol myself.
    Alcohol is ok in moderation only. God does not want us to hurt others. That is why he condemns the use of alcohol in excess.

  • Jeremy June 18, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    I think its dangerous to try to set a higher standard of what it looks like to “love our brothers” than Jesus did. There were just as many lives being destroyed by alcohol when Jesus turned water into wine (I would love to see where you found information supporting wine being different in those times. All the research I’ve found actually supports that it was stronger then), or when they served wine at the last supper. If we’re going to put alcohol into its context, celebrations are a very biblical reason to enjoy alcohol in moderation. It may be the more radical thing to give the biblical example of moderation given the scrutiny you’ll receive from both extremes of “lets get drunk for Jesus” and “any drop of alcohol is causing your brother to sin”.

  • Life-community.com May 29, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    I think we should factor in that many of the verses used to support drinking are from the Old Testament – Prior to the arrival of the indwelling Spirit. With no well of indwelling joy, God made provision for the responsible drinking of a substance that coursed through a person with mysterious influencing power and brief relief from the burdens of life.

    What was Jesus’ first miracle? Yes. It was the introduction into the lifeless religion of Israel a foretaste of the Spirit through the transformation of water to wine.

    What does Paul compare fullness of the Spirit to? Yes. Wine. And his call is a declaration that say yes to the new celebrative resource that God has provided.

  • Wife of Alcoholic May 18, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    As one married to an alcoholic, I am 100% against alcolhol for Christians. We were both Christian (or so he said) and also neither of us drank (again, another lie) before we married. Once married the truth came out, but I made a vow, so I stayed. 15 years later the alcohol has comsumed him, and he lives in a world all to himself in the same house. There are too many emotions to address in this post, but it is just horrible. We have sought help, but when the topic gets to alcohol it is all off. As long as we can blame me for all out ails, he is right there. He stopped going to church, but still lives an appearance of a godly man, husband and father fooling just enough people to make him think he has it all under control. I oft wonder when his bottom will hit, and will he take us with him? Certainly, only God knows. But, nothing good comes from alcohol (spirits that ar not of God). Don’t make excuses. Just don’t drink alcohol.

    • TI October 7, 2014 at 5:06 AM

      Amen! I too come from a family and culture of drunkeness and violence. I grew up hearing and seeing the impact of alcohol in one’s life. I am saved and have had the occasional drink – of which I condemn myself for. Alcohol is nothing less of an attempt to lose yourself and forget your worries and troubles, I see it as an escape from sorrow, but I know that only God can take your heavy burden and give you rest. ( i speak from personal experience). Alcohol has destroyed many of my loved ones and I know when I have a family I will do everything In my power to forbid alcohol consumption. I dont want my family to suffer or end up broken and hopeless. Constantly trying something a little bit will lead you wanting more and more until youve become so immune you fail to see you’ve gone off the rails, and its so difficult to undo the damage.

  • David Crouse March 8, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    I’m sure Mr. Wilson’s words come from God’s wisdom. The scripture you speak of Mr. Think Rationally apparently applies to those on their deathbeds and those that are truly suffering. I am sure Mr. Wilson was not applying his wisdom to those in such circumstances as so the bible was also pertaining the scriptures of drunkenness to those who were alive, healthy and not suffering so much. That proverb and situations as this one calls for wisdom and discernment which God repeatedly tells us to have in order to properly understand the bible and what his words meant and to ask for with prayer and fasting.

  • ThinkRationally March 7, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    Ummmm…. Proverbs 31:6-7?? “Give beer to one who is dying and wine to one who’s life is bitter. Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty and remember his misery no more.” If you want to talk about a subject, discuss both sides of the issue, not just your biased beliefs.

    • DJB March 10, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      I think you should read the entire passage. Think about the context of what is being said and I think you will come to a different understanding of the verse you quote.

  • Lisa March 7, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    I don’t drink at all but I used to before I was saved. Here is what I don’t get. It’s obviously non-negotiable that getting drunk is a sin. So, which sip gets you drunk. I know when I used to drink, there were times based on what I’d eaten, how stressed I was, etc…where one drink and I could feel it. For me, I’d just rather not risk crossing that line into sin. I’m past trying to find reasons to do things that are questionable, just for the sake of pleasing my flesh. Great article, Pastor.

    • Robert Harrell June 20, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      Very good response. We are to be filled with His Spirit.

  • Alex Gilbertson February 28, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Should I not eat food because I might become a glutton?
    I think Christians should be able to drink but I also think they should practice self control, just like in every other area of life. I think that we have really made a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be. If you don’t want to drink great, if you drink a little wine or a beer every once in a while cool. I think drinking out of rebellion is wrong, but I think there is freedom to drink. Maybe it’s easier for me to say this because I didn’t grow up in America, and I don’t have any family members who are Alcoholics.

  • Pstr Marty February 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    Hey, great article, great conversation. I did a little study and asked different pastors from different denominations, (cause you know they all believe a little different on this issue) what their thoughts were. What I learned was that it was not a denominational issue or a scriptural issue, it was personal. Every pastor who had a family member or themselves that had a current or past problem with alcohol, they themselves were stone cold against it and would try to use scripture to stand on. Those that didn’t have past issues or family involved, had a stance of balance which was wine was not a bad thing in and of itself. Like most pleasures in life the enemy has perverted and distorted. Paul tells how all food ans drink is good and ok, except when it causes a brother to stumble. Who is brother? Those in Christ not those in the world. I can say this from experience, if you don’t drink wine or if you would not have a beer….good luck on having a conversation (sharing the Gospel) with certain people in certain countries. Paul said I became all to all without forsaking the Gospel! And to the wine at the wedding. I was a caterer for many years in the most prestigious homes of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. The host would have us serve the best wine first, and then later once the guest had a few glasses they would have us break out the “cheaper” wine and poor it into the “more expensive” wine bottles. The guest would never know because the alcohol has changed their pallet and they usually are sightly inebriated. This was almost on every occasion. That’s why the master of the ceremony said what he did to the host providing the best wine last. Grapes only take a few days to ferment, approx 90. Then it is a strong wine. :) Many warnings against drunkenness as well as wine is good for the tummy. Grape juice is NOT good for a sour tummy. Thanks for the post

  • Terry Fowden February 26, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    If you do choose to drink, does it interfere in anyway with your role as a christian, a husband or wife, a father or mother, or your own physical or mental well being? That question I believe you would need to honestly reckon with.

    • Jadene March 9, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      Love this! I think you worded this question perfectly :)

  • Allen February 26, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

  • Rick February 26, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    1) God made alcohol. In the OT, when God’s people were disobedient, one of the things he did was curse the grape crops/wine. When they obeyed, the grape crop was bountiful.

    2) Drunkenness is not a “new” or “modern” problem. The first mention of alcohol in the Bible is in Genesis 9 where it tells of Noah’s drunkenness and sin.

    3) Try to keep fresh grape juice or grapes from fermenting without refrigeration in a warm climate (or Mr. Welch) and get back to me.

    4) One of the offerings prescribed in the OT was the Drink offering… alcohol. Does it make sense that God would require production of something bad to offer to Him?

    5) I have always been taught… Don’t drink, you don’t want to be a stumbling block to others. Isn’t it a sin to LABEL something a sin that is not, cause someone to have guilt?

    6) There are documented health benefits to moderate consumption.

    7) I don’t drink; I was raised to think it was wrong and never acquired the taste.

  • Lorenzo Reyna February 26, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Why do anything that compels you to defend it against God. If I have to defend myself there must be something to battle. So win the battle by submitting to Jesus!

  • Laura Connell (@laurakimconnell) February 26, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Romans 15:22-23

  • Donna February 26, 2014 at 5:15 AM

    Simple “opinion”. If you can have a glass or two of wine or if you’re able to have a drink to relax in the evening and you don’t beat your wife, molest your children, cuss out your neighbor, drive your vehicle in an altered state of mind injure yourself or someone else and if you still are able to function on your job and do your everyday necessary task then I “personally” see no harm in that beverage. It’s not the beverage that is harmful it’s the over indulgence to the point of altering your life or other’s lives where the harm comes in. So if your life is based around that next drink to fill a void, to party like a fool or to escape the realities of your past or because you need that high to help you cope then I think you may need to find your strength in the Word of God and be “filled” with the Holy Spirit. Grab a cup of “the Living Water” and thirst no more. So sad the “church” has to spend so much time on this issue. btw, some of the things I mentioned at the top or also done by people who don’t partake of alcohol. Some of those things have even been done by pastors and church leaders. So, to conclude I think the enemy has a hold on Christians in many areas of their lives not just with strong drink. We probably need to be working on the mote in our own eye and concentrate on 1 Corinthians chapter 13 a whole lot more. Great article Pastor.

    • nansommer March 4, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      Your opinion Ms. Donna is absolutely true, at least for me. Why drink and get drunk in the first place?

  • G Alex February 25, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Something to consider is alcohol also effects different according to ethnicity. Makes perfect sense why some would hate alcohol and avoid it completely.

  • mankind February 25, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Firstly we should understand that our body is God’s Temple as Believers, 1 Peter 5:8 says be sober and vigilant always! Because your enemy the devil,roams round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. In other words, the moment we are not sober we become the devil’s prey. So guide your heart jealously and live according to God’s will. Mind you anything that destruct mankind is ungodly.

  • Laura Connell (@laurakimconnell) February 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    As a recovered alcoholic I can’t understand why Christians would drink. I’ve only known alcohol as a way to escape reality and for me it was always sin. I don’t know why if you are drinking for the taste you wouldn’t just drink something else that tastes good. Since being sober I’ve been to Christian weddings and I saw people being intoxicated with the consumption of alcohol. They also seemed to look forward to that drink of wine in much the same way I did as an alcoholic. For many, it only takes one glass or two. Alcohol is extremely addictive and is used to alter the mental state and “loosen up”. This is sin and really primes you for Satan’s pump, so to speak.

    • TI October 7, 2014 at 5:12 AM

      Thanks for sharing, very encouraging!

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