What does the Bible say about drinking? It seems as though the answer you will get depends on what type of church you are asking the question in. Everyone has an opinion about drinking, and it is usually based on their own experiences and preferences. But what does the Bible say? Does it forbid the drinking of alcohol? Actually, no it does not. So does that mean that Christians should run out and get drunk whenever they want? No, the Bible strictly forbids that. But isn’t that a contradiction? Not at all. As we shall see, the Bible does not forbid the drinking of alcohol, but it does forbid getting drunk. It is the consumption of alcohol in excessive amounts that the Scripture seems to be concerned about, and it is that same thing that so often gets people in trouble in real life.
Throughout the Bible we see God’s people drinking wine, and in fact there are some Scriptures which speak of drinking wine as being a good thing.
In Ecclesiastes 9:7 we are actually encouraged to drink our wine with a joyful heart…..
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.
In Psalm 104:14–15, we read that it is actually God who provides the wine that “gladdens the heart of man” – it is a blessing from God that we are to be thankful for…..
He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.
In fact, while Jesus was on earth He actually turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). While some Christians try to argue that the wine was just “grape juice”, the truth is that a close examination of that passage simply does not bear that out.
With all of that being said, the Scriptures contain multiple warnings not to get drunk and to not let wine be your master.
Proverbs 23:31-32 is a description of just how seductive and just how addictive alcohol can be…..
Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.
In Proverbs 20:1 the Scriptures tell us that anyone who is led astray by wine is not wise…..
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Isaiah 5:11 tells us of the foolishness of drunkards who are completely addicted to getting drunk…..
Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.
In fact, later on in that same chapter, Isaiah 5:22 tells us that those who are “champions at mixing drinks” are on a bad path…..
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks
In the New Testament, we see drunkenness included in a list of horrible sins by the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 4:3…..
For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
As Christians, we are not to be running off to bars and parties and getting drunk.
We are specifically warned against that.
In fact, in Ephesians 5:18, the Apostle Paul tells us that instead of getting drunk on wine, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit…..
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Rather than being controlled with wine, Christians are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. When we are controlled by the Holy Spirit, we will produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
So what is the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit?
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us exactly what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is…..
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The truth is that it is those qualities that we are supposed to be cultivating in our lives.
Way too often people allow alcohol to become an addiction and to destroy their lives. Millions of people have had their lives wrecked by drunkenness and millions of families have been torn apart by alcohol.
If you have a conviction to totally stay away from alcohol because you recognize how dangerous it is, there is nothing wrong with that.
If you drink a little alcohol in moderation and you are able to control yourself and keep from getting drunk, there is nothing wrong with that.
But if you are an alcoholic, or if you run out every weekend and get drunk with friends, or if you even get drunk “once in a while”, then the Bible says that you are in the wrong.
We are not to get drunk. We are not to get addicted to alcohol or let it control us. It is very seductive and it can and will destroy your life if you allow it to.
It is wise to take the warnings of the Bible very seriously. God knows what He is talking about.