Alcohol in the Bible. Is Drinking Allowed?


We have numerous verses that warn against drinking alcohol.
Let’s see two of them:

Don’t gaze at wine because it is red, because it gleams in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a snake and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and you will say absurd things.” – Proverbs 23:31-33.

„And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit” – Ephesians 5:18.

We also have verses with a different message:

„Wine is like life to men, if you drink it in moderation. What is life to a man who is without wine? It has been created to make men glad. Wine drunk in season and temperately is rejoicing of heart and gladness of soul.” – Book of Sirach 31:27-28.

„…and told Him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now” – John 2:10.

Here we have a difficult example for people who believe that they cannot drink alcohol: Christ made alcoholic wine.
How do we know this?
If the wedding guests got drunk on the first wine, called „good wine”, it means that they drank fermented wine with alcohol content. If Christ served them non-alcoholic wine, they would probably not be satisfied. Would they praise the wine that we would call today: grape juice?

„No, new wine is put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine, wants new, because he says, ‘The old is better.’” – Luke 5:38-39.

The next verse is an example of alcoholic wine. Eating meat at that time could offend other people, as could drinking wine.
But what kind of wine?
Could anyone become scandalized or fall spiritually if they drank non-alcoholic wine,
or grape juice?
I don’t think so.

It is a good thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble.” – Romans 14:21.

Let's summarize
 There are a number of verses in the Bible that prohibit getting drunk. There are examples, stories of events that we should not imitate. They warn against drinking too much. In such a situation, alcohol is our undoing.
 However, this type of behavior does not only apply to alcohol, but also to: eating, smoking, medicines, stimulants, thoughts, words and our actions:
"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshu Christ." - 1 Thessalonians 5:23

We are to keep our body, spirit and soul impeccable, so any poisoning of our spiritual and physical existence is inappropriate.
And this is the first group of verses: they warn against excessive drinking of alcohol.
The second group
of verses we would categorize as fifty-fifty, meaning we do not know exactly whether alcoholic wine or grape juice was used in the examples described. In the past, fermented wine, or alcoholic wine, as well as unfermented wine were obtained from grapes, (today we would call it grape juice).
The following verses are
in the fifty-fifty category:

Don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” – 1 Timothy 5:23.

„For just as it is injurious to drink wine by itself or water by itself, whereas wine mixed with water produces a pleasant and delicious drink that enhances one’s enjoyment, so a skillful style used in presenting a story will delight the ears of those who read the work. Let this, then, be the end.” – 2 Maccabees 15:39.

In other words…
Drinking alcohol is a matter of conscience. We are prohibited from getting drunk and poisoning the body with additives contained in alcohol. We are prohibited from using anything over which we lose control – as well as our free will.
However, there are no Bible verses that completely prohibit any person from drinking alcohol.
Who should avoid alcohol?
ever cannot drink in moderation, gets drunk, has certain diseases, and whoever treats alcohol as a solution to their life problems.

Author: Robert Brzoza

Translation: Hubert Brzoza

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