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What Does the Bible Say About Alcohol? Is Drinking It a Sin?

The Bible’s answer

It is not a sin to drink alcohol in moderation. The Bible describes wine as a gift from God that can make life more enjoyable. (Psalm 104:14, 15; Ecclesiastes 3:13; 9:7) The Bible also acknowledges the medicinal value of wine.1 Timothy 5:23.

Jesus drank wine during his time on earth. (Matthew 26:29; Luke 7:34) In one of his well-known miracles, Jesus turned water into wine as a generous gift at a marriage feast.John 2:1-10.

Dangers of overdrinking

While the Bible mentions the positive aspects of wine, it condemns overdrinking and drunkenness. Thus, a Christian who chooses to drink alcohol would do so only in moderation. (1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:2, 3) The Bible gives several reasons to avoid overdrinking.

How much is too much?

A person has had too much alcohol when his drinking puts him or others at risk of harm. According to the Bible, drunkenness is identified, not by a person’s passing out, but by such behavior as being disoriented, walking unsteadily, becoming contentious, or having slurred speech. (Job 12:25; Psalm 107:27; Proverbs 23:29, 30, 33) Even those who avoid getting drunk can still become “weighed down with . . . heavy drinking” and experience its serious consequences.Luke 21:34, 35.

Complete abstinence

The Bible also identifies times when Christians should avoid drinking alcohol altogether:

  • If others would be stumbled by it.Romans 14:21.

  • If drinking alcohol violates the law of the land.Romans 13:1.

  • If a person cannot control his drinking. Those who suffer from alcoholism and other forms of alcohol abuse must be willing to take drastic action.Matthew 5:29, 30.

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