Drinking alcohol is a social norm in many historic and modern cultures. While not all people who consume wine, beer, whiskey, and other alcoholic drinks, imbibe to the point of losing control of their mental and physical faculties, some do. Is getting drunk a sin in Christianity?
Getting drunk is a sin. The Bible doesn’t universally prohibit the consumption of alcohol, but condemns drinking to the point of intoxication. Drunkenness is rooted in a person’s sinful nature and causes them to lose self-control with regard to their behavior, speech, and other faculties.
Is drunkenness a debated issue among Christians? Does the Bible ever refer to alcohol in a positive manner? Does the Bible ever refer to total abstinence in a positive manner? What Bible verses teach about drunkenness? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
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What does the Bible teach about drunkenness?
The Bible teaches that Christians should not get drunk, but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-19). The principle behind the instruction concerns that which controls a person. Does alcohol control a person’s mental and physical faculties or does the Holy Spirit reign supreme in their life?
Is drunkenness a debated issue among Christians? No. Drinking in moderation is debated because traditions have different views and convictions about it, but all denominations and churches condemn drunkenness because the Bible is so clear about its sinfulness. Drunkenness is associated with spiritual darkness (Rom. 13:12-13) and those who aren’t a part of God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 6:10).
Does the Bible ever refer to alcohol in a positive manner? To be clear, the Bible never refers to drunkenness in a positive light, literally or symbolically. Yet the Bible refers to alcohol in a positive way in certain passages. For example, Jesus changed water into wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) and he also included it when he instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:27-29).
Is every Christian permitted to drink alcohol? The Bible doesn’t universally prohibit the consumption of alcohol for every believer (e.g. 1 Tim. 5:23), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s wise for every Christian to imbibe. Christians should consider their testimony to unbelievers, the challenges that weaker believers face, and their family history with alcohol consumption when making a decision to drink in moderation.
Does the Bible ever refer to total abstinence in a positive manner? Yes. The Nazarite vow prohibited drinking alcohol (Num. 6:3-5). Daniel and his friends declined to drink the wine Nebuchadnezzar offered them (Dan. 1:8-16). In the New Testament, John the Baptist adopted an ascetic lifestyle that included abstinence from drinking alcohol.
“Drunkenness is the devil’s back door to hell and everything that is hellish. For he that once gives away his brains to drink is ready to be caught by Satan for anything.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
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Bible verses about drunkenness
- Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
- Genesis 9:21, “He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.”
- Romans 14:21, “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.”
- Proverbs 23:21, “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.”
- Ephesians 5:18-19, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”
- Habakkuk 2:5, “Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.”
- Galatians 5:21, “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.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:10, “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
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Bible verses about drinking alcohol
Pastor Sam Storms writes, “Whereas the Bible explicitly forbids drunkenness, it nowhere requires total abstinence. Make no mistake: total abstinence from alcohol is great. As a Christian, you are certainly free to adopt that as a lifestyle. But you are not free to condemn those who choose to drink in moderation. You may discuss with them the wisdom of such a choice and the practical consequences of it, but you cannot condemn them as sub-spiritual or as falling short of God’s best.”
- Exodus 29:40, “And with the first lamb a tenth measure of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering.”
- Proverbs 9:5, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.”
- Isaiah 55:1, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”
- Mark 2:22, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
- Matthew 26:27-29, “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of thec covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.'”
- 1 Corinthians 11:25-26, “In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.'”
- Psalm 104:15, “and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”
- Proverbs 31:6, “Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress”
- 1 Timothy 5:23, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”
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