Is Drinking Intoxicating Beverages Wrong?

"It doesn't get any better than this" used to be a slogan for a popular beer. I am afraid this mindset is prevalent among those who enjoy a "good beer once in a while". Alcoholic beverage manufacturers sponsor many of the public events that occur in the world. Various beers such as Busch (auto racing), Michelob (golf), and Coors (rodeo) sponsor many sporting events. The world is entertained by the antics of Budweiser frogs and celebrity athletes disputing whether Miller Lite is great because it’s "less filling" or because it "tastes great". One cannot discount the fact that much time and money are spent on these slogans and commercials encouraging the purchase and use of these products.

Along with the use of beer, the drinking of wine has increased in popularity. There are numerous "wine tastings" and "wine shows" that are deemed as sporting events in and of themselves. Many enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or in a social atmosphere.

The Bible has much to say about drinking intoxicants, so this raises the question:


The first recorded example of man feeling the effects of an intoxicant in the Bible is Noah after the flood. We read in Gen 9:20-21 "And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: and he drank of the wine, and was drunken..."

We also read of Lot becoming drunk. We read that Lot's daughters made him drink wine in Gen 19:32-35 "Come, let us make our father drink wine..." We see the daughters’ sinful motives in causing their father to be drunk, weakening his self control that they might exercise their will on him. The book of Proverbs has much to say about intoxicants and those who partake. For a moment consider the following passages:

Prov 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."

Prov 21:17 "He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich."

Prov 23:21 "The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty..."

Prov 23:29-35 "Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. his eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again."

Prov 31:6 "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish..."

Man becomes foolish when he drinks intoxicants. The Bible teaches the dangers of intoxicants whether they be temporal such as poverty or leading to an early death! Statistics speak for themselves on the many lives that have been ruined because of a man's love for a "drink". Statistics also show that most crime is committed due to the use of or in the pursuit of intoxicants, whether the intoxicant be drugs or alcohol! This is a sorry statement!

God has also promised to those who indulge in these intoxicants eternal punishment. Please note these passages:

1Cor 6:9-10 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither...nor drunkards, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Rom 13:13 "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness..."

Gal 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

God has warned us of judgment in which we must all give account of life on this earth:

2Cor 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in this body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

We should give serious consideration to what God has told us about this topic.

Let us now consider some of the common questions, objections, and reasoning often presented regarding the use of alcoholic beverages.

"What about Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding feast?" (John 2:1-10)

Have you considered the wine that Jesus made was not an intoxicating wine? Consider the response from the ruler of the feast in Jn 2:9ff. He noted that the custom was to drink the good (fresh) wine first and then mix in the older or that which is "worse"-KJV. The wine Jesus created was not worse, but just the opposite according the ruler.

Fresh wine, or new wine as it is also called, had not yet begun to naturally ferment. Jesus made reference to this fact in his discourse about putting new wine into old bottles (Lk 5:37-38), stating that new wine over time would burst old wineskins (bottles) because of natural fermentation! It is well to note that 1st century peoples also knew ways to speed up the process of fermentation, not relying only on natural processes. It is also worthy of note that we have an inspired definition of new wine. Note Isiah 65:8 " the new wine is found in the cluster..." Must not one conclude that the new wine still in the grape is not an intoxicant?

Also consider Jesus. If indeed he turned water into intoxicating wine, would he not be contributing to that which he has condemned in 1 Cor 6 and Gal 5 as we have noted? Note that the wedding feast had run out of wine, meaning that a lot had been consumed already. If the wine at the feast was the intoxicating type, there would be drunkenness at hand and Jesus would be contributing to it, making him a hypocrite, wouldn't it? He did condemn drunkenness!

"Jesus died for my sins, so I am alright. Even if I practice this, I am covered by God's saving grace."

Jesus told us in Matt 7:26 that if we do not those sayings of his we are "as the foolish man who built his house upon the sands". We have noticed that he has condemned drunkenness. We must note that it is true that Jesus died for the sins of mankind (1 Jn 2:2), but we must also note that the grace of God, salvation, is conditional. Note Lk 13:3, "I tell you, Nay but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." We must repent of sin to receive and to stay in God's saving grace. We must repent of partaking of intoxicants.

"I can drink just as long as I don't get drunk."

Note 1 Pet 4:3 "...excess of wine, revelings, banquetings..." This scripture lists three types of drinkings. It is worthy to note how the NASB translates 1Pet 4:3 "...drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties..." If one would to examine these three types of drinking, he would note that:

"excess of wine/drunkenness" = out of control drunkenness

"revelings/carousals" = a nice "buzz" or a little drunkenness

"banquetings/drinking parties" = social drinking

One must also consider when a person is drunk by definition. In the state of Tennessee one is declared legally drunk when his blood alcohol level is one tenth of a percent. The only question is at what point God defines a man as "legally drunk".

"I will not drink alcohol if it causes my brother to stumble." (Rom 14)

This would be a good attitude to have in concern to other Christians; we might be wise to take this attitude to heart. The only problem with this is that Rom 14 is dealing with eating of meat and matters on which God has not revealed his will (matters of one's own personal taste or own convictions). God has revealed his will and condemnation of drinking intoxicants to us, so one could not use Rom 14. This would not justify this sin.

"The Bible applies to only Christians."

Note John 12:48 "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" Jesus tells us that mankind’s standard of judgment will be His written word. We have also noted that all will face judgment (Heb 9:27). The Bible applies to all of mankind!

"Can a man drink intoxicants if he is sick?"

Note 1 Tim 5:23 "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." This gives us authority to use intoxicants for medicinal purposes only. It is worthy to note that Timothy did not even want to partake of it even in sickness. What does that say about partaking of it in health?

We hear often of drunk drivers involved in traffic accidents that result in the loss of innocent lives or the life of the driver himself. The sobering thought is that when a person leaves this life in this drunken stupor, he gets no second chances of repentance. Consider Heb 9:27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment..." Are you willing to risk your soul's eternal destination for this "high life"?

The slogan that says "It doesn't get any better than this" is correct because if one continues to drink alcohol after what God has warned us, it will get worse in eternity!

Please consider your soul's condition before God.

By Steve Springer

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