What does the Bible say about alcohol? If you were to read every single scripture that talks about alcohol in the Bible, you may end up more confused than you were before reading this blog. The Bible seems to give contradictory messages about alcohol. I’m going to give you many scriptures that point to both positive and negative aspects of alcohol, and then share with you what I feel God is saying to His people on this subject.
Positive Biblical Perspectives on Alcohol
I’m going to start by giving you some scriptures that give a positive perspective on alcohol:
Ecclesiastes 9:7 (ESV)
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.
Psalm 104:14-15 (ESV)
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,
and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.
“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.”
Biblical Warnings About Alcohol
Now, I’m going to give you warnings from the Bible.
Isaiah 5:11 (ESV)
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!
Provers 20:1 (ESV)
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Deuteronomy 29:6 (ESV)
You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.
Numbers 6:3 (ESV)
he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried.
Leviticus 10:9 (ESV)
Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.
Proverbs 23:29-35 (ESV)
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart utter perverse things.
You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast
“They struck me,” you will say] “but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I must have another drink.”
So What Is It?
We have both types of scriptures – those that seem to encourage or confirm a decision to drink, and those that forbid drinking among certain groups of people within the nation of Israel. Then we have scriptures that give major warnings against drunkenness. I want to break these scriptures into a few categories. It seems they fall into two sets of instructions:
- Drink but don’t get drunk
- Certain people should not drink at all
There are people who have a genetic and biological predisposition to alcoholism. Does that mean that they have a demon? Does that mean that they need deliverance? Many times, yes! Generational curses are real! Demons are real. Many times people will deceive themselves for years and say, “I can drink and not get drunk.” But that’s a lie. People drink to forget. They drink to lower anxiety or fears. They can’t sleep without a buzz. As somebody who was in addiction counseling, many people will say they are not addicts, but meet every single descriptor of an addict.
Wine in Biblical Times Vs. Now
The Bible is clear that it is possible to drink and not get drunk. I want to give you the historical context. In New Testament times, the water was not very clean. Two thousand years ago, sanitation was poor and water was filled with bacteria and contaminants and considered dangerous to drink. People two thousand years ago would often drink wine because it was far less likely to be contaminated.
1 Timothy 5:23
(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
Paul instructed Timothy to stop drinking the water exclusively, which was probably causing him stomach problems. He instructed Timothy to drink wine! Now in that day, wine was fermented. It contained alcohol, but not necessarily to the degree it does today. I have done historical studies on the fermentation process for wine going back to Jesus’ times. It is very difficult to know for sure, but many historians agree that the wine that Jesus drank and the wine that Paul was instructing Timothy to drink would have taken 22 to 23 glasses to equal the alcohol content of one current-day glass of wine.
I used to be an alcoholic. I was also a pastor, prophet, Christian, and worship leader. I used to do “Theology on Tap” and go to friends’ houses to drink and read the Bible. We used to say that we had Christian liberties, but we were getting drunk while we said it. We used to tell people we could drink and not get drunk, but we were drunk while we said it! If you are one of the two percent of people that can drink without getting drunk, praise God for your Christian liberty.
If you can drink and not get drunk, God bless you! There is a very small percentage of the population who can! But I have met very few people like that in life. Many more of them drink to get drunk or a buzz. The Holy Spirit examines our motives and we cannot lie to Him. Paul told Timothy to drink, but he was telling him to drink something that would have taken 22 to 23 glasses to add up to one of what we have today. So, I caution you against convincing yourself that you can drink without getting drunk or using your Christian liberty as an excuse to sin.
Everything In Its Place
Everything has its rightful place. If you have a fireplace in your living room and you put the wood in the fireplace, it will warm and comfort you through the winter. But if you take that same wood and fire and move it two feet forward into your living room, out of the fireplace, it will burn your entire house down. This is what drinking is like. In its proper context, man, it tastes great. It maybe even has some medicinal benefits. But if bring it just one or two feet outside of the jurisdiction it should be in, and it will burn your house down. Sexuality is the same way. Sexuality and the boundaries of marriage are amazing, incredibly powerful forces that produce life, intimacy, and bonding. But if you take sexuality and put it outside the bounds of marriage, it will destroy you. Yes all things are lawful, but not all things are expedient.
1 Corinthians 6:12
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.
Some of you are such control freaks you don’t want to be dominated by anybody or anything. You don’t want your boss to control you, you don’t want your spouse to control you, and you don’t want the government to control you. But yet you let alcohol control you. You need it to calm your nerves. You can’t live without it. God wants you to be free from all control and domination!
Over 14 years ago, my wife left me and took our newborn daughter with her because I couldn’t get my alcoholism under control. It was dominating me. At the height of my alcoholism I would lay down in my bed all alone at night and I would hear demonic voices calling out my name. It was very dark. In every country I’ve been to, they call hard alcohol spirits. Why? Because demonic activity is connected to the consumption of alcohol that leads to drunkenness.
When I got free from alcohol, everything else in my life changed. Every other sin decreased dramatically. As a matter of fact, when I was drinking, there were so many sins that I would have never committed in my sober mind, so I would wait until I was drunk to do them. My conscience was so strong. I knew the Word. I knew God’s will and ways. But I would have to get drunk because I knew I could never commit those sins sober. I never cheated on my wife sober – I always did it drunk. And we talk about our story openly today.. When I sinned, alcohol was the gateway.
Trading Good For Great
Many are called but few are chosen. If you are a chosen one, act like it. If you are a chosen one, there are things that you will have to give up. Oftentimes the road to greatness is giving up what is good for what is great. The Bible says there’s nothing wrong with wine. As a matter of fact, it’s us that’s the problem. We come from backgrounds of trauma, abuse and multigenerational curses. Is wine evil? No, we are evil. We’re full of wounds, hurt, pain, and rejection. But when you pour wine into a wound, it doesn’t heal it. It creates an infestation of other sins. The Lord wants to heal you of your wounds, rejection, and trauma. God is trying to give you wisdom. The Holy Spirit may be telling you that it’s time to let it go.
I believe that all you’ve got to do is to make up your mind and say I’m giving up something good for something greater. When you read Acts chapter 2, these common every day men were not ivy-league educated. They didn’t know hundred-dollar words, they only knew five-dollar words. These men were filled with the Holy Spirit and it was like being filled with new wine. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit would begin to fill believers and they would speak in new tongues. They would begin to speak with wisdom and profound knowledge beyond their own education.
God never removes without replacing. He isn’t trying to take anything away from you that he’s not going to give you something better. I gave up being drunk off of miller light, craft beer, and whiskey and traded it for being drunk in the holy spirit. I gave up Jack Daniels so I can hang out with Jesus Christ. It is so much better! You never wake up with a hangover or regrets. When I used to get drunk on alcohol, I would wake up and my marriage was worse. But now, when I get drunk on the new wine of the Holy Spirit, I wake up and my marriage is better.
Should You Stop Drinking?
Here’s the best gauge to determine whether you should stop drinking alcohol or not. Stop for a pre-determined amount of time and then see how much better your life gets. Do a comparison of life with alcohol and life without. If life is better without it, then consider abstaining permanently. Here’s another gauge – ask your family whether or not you should stop drinking. Ask your children, “Should I stop drinking?” Ask your wife. See what she says. If your family says yes, consider abstaining permanently.
God wants to give you something better than alcohol. He wants to trade what’s good for what is great, and he wants to give you something so much better than you can imagine. He wants to give you his Holy Spirit.
If you have been involved in the occult or witchcraft, I encourage you to check out my blog “How to Cleanse Your House from Evil Spirits.”
My Breakthrough Community is full of people just like you who are hungry for more of God. If you are interested in learning more, consider joining the Breakthrough Community!
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