Is Drinking Alcohol a Sin?
Is it wrong to drink alcohol? Does the Bible say anything positive about drinking wine or alcohol? Does the Bible differentiate between drinking alcohol and the sin of drunkenness?
The issue of whether or not people should drink alcohol is an issue of personal conviction and personal conscience. There are some Christians who hold the firm conviction that drinking alcohol is a sin, whilst others believe that it is not a sin at all.
The Bible Mentions Alcohol in Positive Terms
The Bible does not forbid a Christian from drinking wine, beer, or any other drink containing alcohol. In fact, some Scriptures mention alcohol in positive terms to the extent of encouraging the partaking of wine.
For example, in John 2:1-11 Jesus famously turned water into wine at a wedding. Now if drinking wine was a sin for the people at the wedding, then Jesus would not have performed such a miracle.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 says: Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.
Psalms 104:14-15 says: You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul advised Timothy to stop drinking water exclusively but instead recommended that Timothy drink wine to help ease his stomach pains.
Therefore drinking alcohol itself is not sinful as alcohol is known to be used for medicinal purposes besides recreational situations.
Other Scriptures which approve the use of wine are Isaiah 55:1, Amos 9:14 and many others.
The Bible Mentions Alcohol in Negative Terms
The Bible mentions that drinking alcohol to the extent of drunkenness and addiction is a sin. Therefore drinking alcohol in itself is not a sin, but it is the intoxication and abuse of alcohol to the point of drunkenness that is a sin.
Isaiah 5:11 says: Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!
Proverbs 20:1 says: Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Ephesians 5:18 says: And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
Romans 13:13 says: Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
Consuming too much of anything can become bad for us. Therefore whilst Scripture may speak positively about wine, the same Scriptures also condemn drunkenness or alcohol abuse. Therefore we should not allow ourselves to be addicted to any substance that negatively affects our mind, our relationships and our relationship with God.
Should Christians Drink Alcohol?
Should a Christian drink wine or any drink with alcohol content? It is possible for a Christian to drink wine and not get drunk or become an alcoholic. So to some Christians, drinking alcohol is not a sin.
At the same time, there are other Christians who have strong convictions against drinking alcohol.
Therefore this is an issue of personal conviction and conscience since the Bible does not forbid drinking alcohol. However, the Bible does forbid getting drunk or becoming addicted to alcohol.
The Bible also says that Christians should avoid doing anything that may become a stumbling block to others around us. For example, drinking alcohol in front of a struggling alcoholic is a stumbling block; or drinking in front of someone who is offended by alcohol can become a stumbling block.
Romans 14:21 says: It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
Therefore despite the freedom to drink alcohol, Christians should also avoid doing anything that may hurt their personal testimony in front of anyone who might stumble.