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The Bible's Take on Alcohol

The question is whether or not drinking alcohol of any kind is forbidden or not, regardless of whether it is wine, beer, hard liquor or what have you.  Jesus turned water into wine.  Did this mean He was condoning alcoholism or drunkenness?  Absolutely not for Eph. 5:18 forbids it as does Proverbs 20:1 which says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise." Clearly, the Bible is against intoxication, period.  We are not to be controlled by anything except by the Lord.  We are free in Christ, and any kind of idolatry or addiction is unbiblical.  In Jesus’ day, drinking wine was common because of the unclean water.  They drank wine that was typically only slightly fermented by our standards today.  Certainly some let wine ferment longer and got drunk on it, dishonoring God.  Yet it was possible to drink a good amount of wine and not get drunk.  So alcohol is not the evil in and of itself (1 Timothy 5:23).  It is what people do with it.  In our day, people latch on to it to be liked by others, to drown their sorrows, or to just lose all inhibition.  This is not God-honoring.  

Is it possible to drink some wine here or there as long as it doesn’t impede judgment or cause intoxication?  Theoretically, it is possible to do this and not sin.  However, the Scripture is filled with commands to not cause another brother or sister in Christ to stumble.  For example, if a pastor drank alcohol in moderation, and a former alcoholic learned of it by attending his church, it could cause him to fall back into old habits.  He is likely not strong enough to handle such freedom.  Is the pastor explicitly wrong to drink?  No, but more than likely somebody will learn of it and others could fall.  This is a choice each of us must make before the Lord.  Our society is so consumed with alcohol that it seems reasonable to take a stand against it by not consuming it.  Yet I don’t see how this can be made a legalistic requirement for all Christians.  There may be times and places where some drinking is alright, but the last thing we want to do is stumble somebody else.  Christ doesn’t tolerate stumbling others well.  “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).  So drinking alcohol is not inherently wrong, but there are many things to cause us to be cautious and perhaps choose to limit our freedom.  The issue in drinking alcohol as in all things is to check our motives and be sure that we are indeed being led of the Spirit in our choices. 

 

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