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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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AWAKE! AUGUST 2013

 THE BIBLE’S VIEWPOINT

Alcohol

Alcohol

Is it wrong to drink alcoholic beverages?

“Wine to make us happy, olive oil to make us cheerful, and bread to give us strength.”Psalm 104:15, “Good News Translation.”

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

In many homes, alcoholic beverages are virtually a staple taken with meals. In other homes, drinking is strongly disapproved of. Why the different viewpoints? People are influenced by various factors, such as culture, health concerns, and religion.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

The Bible condemns drunkenness and overindulgence but not the moderate consumption of alcohol. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) Indeed, from time immemorial, men and women of God drank wine, a beverage mentioned over two hundred times in the Bible. (Genesis 27:25) “Eat your food with rejoicing and drink your wine with a good heart,” says Ecclesiastes 9:7. Because wine contributes to a joyful spirit, it was usually served on festive occasions, such as wedding feasts. It was at such a feast that Jesus Christ performed his first miracle—turning water into “fine wine.” (John 2:1-11) Wine was also used for medicinal purposes.Luke 10:34; 1 Timothy 5:23.

 Does the Bible set limits on how much to drink?

[Do not be] enslaved to a lot of wine.”Titus 2:3.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Each year, countless families suffer because one or both parents abuse alcohol. Excessive drinking also contributes to innumerable falls and other accidents, including road accidents. And in the long run, alcohol abuse can damage the brain, the heart, the liver, and the stomach.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

Moderation in both drinking and eating is a fundamental requirement of God. (Proverbs 23:20; 1 Timothy 3:2, 3, 8) The lack of self-control brings his disapproval. The Bible states: “Wine is a ridiculer, intoxicating liquor is boisterous, and everyone going astray by it is not wise.”Proverbs 20:1.

One way that alcohol can lead the unwise astray is by eroding their moral fiber. Says Hosea 4:11: “Wine and sweet wine are what take away good motive.” A man named John learned this the hard way. * After an argument with his wife, he went to a hotel, drank too much, and committed adultery—deeds he later profoundly regretted and resolved never to repeat. Abuse of alcohol can harm us physically, morally, and spiritually, and the Bible states that drunkards will not get everlasting life.1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.

When is drinking inappropriate?

“Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later.”Proverbs 22:3, “Good News Translation.”

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

“Alcohol is a powerful drug,” says World Book Encyclopedia. Hence, there may be circumstances or times when even the moderate consumption of alcohol would be unwise.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

People often “walk right into [trouble]” because they drink at the wrong time. “For everything there is an appointed time,” the Bible says, including a time to stay away from alcohol. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) For example, a person may be legally too young to drink, he may be a recovering alcoholic, or he may be taking medication that does not interact well with alcohol. And for many people, the “appointed time” to abstain is before they go to work and while they are at work, especially if they operate potentially dangerous machinery. To be sure, wise people view life and health as precious gifts from God. (Psalm 36:9) We show our respect for those gifts when Bible principles guide our attitude toward alcohol.

^ par. 11 Name has been changed.