This is a widely discussed and controversial topic among Christians, so I will try to be very careful by tackling two specific questions.
- Is drinking alcohol sinful?
- Should Christians be drinking alcohol?
You’ll understand why I ask the 2nd question as you continue reading.
There are a variety of verses in the bible (especially in the Old Testament) which discuss the use of alcohol, but one of the most famous occasions was when Jesus performed His first miracle in turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). This scripture will be our primary focus.
1) Jesus Turned Water in to Wine for Consumption
The first thing to notice is that Jesus performed this miracle so that people would drink the wine, not just for sake of performing miracles.
3When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
John 2:3 ESV
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom
John 2:7-9 ESV
Although this seems to be an obvious assumption some may argue that Christ never intended the guests to actually drink of the wine.
It’s also important to notice that this was the first sign which manifested (made apparent) the glory of Christ (John 2:11) , implying that this was a good thing.
2) Was the Wine Alcoholic?
Now, the answer to this would also answer the question “Is drinking alcohol sinful?”
In other words, IF drinking alcohol is sinful, Christ would have committed a sin by having the wedding guests drink alcoholic wine on the basis of Luke 17:1-2.
Back to the main question “was the wine alcoholic?”
The short answer is yes.
If we look at Ephesians 5:18, the bible says “…do not get drunk with wine…”
The original Greek translation of wine in this passage is “oinon” (or οἶνον), which is the same Greek translation when referring to “wine” in John 2. In other words, both passages use the same term for wine.
And how can anyone get drunk from non-alcoholic beverages?
So if drinking alcohol is not sinful…what is?
3) Drinking to Drunkenness
Now before you frantically rush to LCBO and purchase every drink known to man, take a look at the following passages
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,”
Ephesians 5:18 ESV
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV
All these passages offer the same underlying message.
Drunkenness is sinful and those who continue to deliberately get drunk (among other sins) will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Ask yourself this question,
“Why am I drinking?”
If the answer is “to get drunk”, stop yourself right there.
Scripture makes us clearly aware that this is indeed sinful.
Which leads to the most important question….
4) Should Christians Drink?
So far, the conclusions drawn are:
- Drinking alcohol in itself is not sinful
- Drinking to drunkenness is sinful
Therefore, there is nothing Biblically wrong about drinking in moderation. There are even scriptures that describe the benefits of drinking wine.
But, let’s keep it real for a moment….
For the most part (at-least from my experiences), drinking in this generation is often associated with “getting turnt”, “wasted”, “tipsy”, “hammered”, “wrecked” , etc.
Aside: (I know I sound like a 70 year old putting these terms in quotations and I actually cringed whiles doing it… but just allow me lool)
Due to these environments, I personally found myself completely turned off from drinking all together, because it simply promoted the act of drunkenness which we know to be sinful (see scriptures above).
On the other hand, there are many Christians who freely drink wine in moderation from time and time without getting drunk.
Take some of these tips into consideration when/ if you’re dealing with this controversy.
A) Don’t Tempt Yourself
If you used to get drunk prior to becoming a believer or currently fighting this sin, don’t put yourself in a place of temptation and assume that you’re strong enough to overcome it.
13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Romans 13:13-14 ESV
Imagine a scenario, where a man who’s been struggling with lust lies next to his girlfriend.
Barely wearing anything.
Convinced that they’re just going to ….chill …..and have a bible study…..
Lol, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re superhuman.
In the same way be wise enough to avoid scenarios where you could be tempted to get drunk.
B) Don’t Tempt your Brother/ Sister in the Faith
Are you friends with a Christian who struggles (or struggled) with drunkenness?
Don’t tempt them.
You might be fine with the whole moderation thing, but if the very site of alcohol can make your homie turn up…..Just sip on some of that sparkling apple cider.
This is equivalent to waving a KFC drumstick to my nose whiles I’m on a chicken diet.
That’s just cold bruh.
Recall what Luke 17:1-2 said concerning leading others to sin
Always look out for the body of Christ
For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.
Romans 14:15 ESV
It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble
Romans 14:21 ESV
C) Moderation is Everything
Historically speaking, Jews have been known to consume alcohol in moderation which explains the necessity of wine at the wedding where Christ performed his first miracle.
So as long as you are not consuming it to get drunk, nor tempting other individuals to, the Bible does not condemn you for it.
Have any other questions/ comments or scriptures concerning this topic?? Leave a comment below, so we can further the conversation 🙂
Soli Deo Gloria