“Should Christians Drink Alcohol?” June 29

 

Should Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what's right?Should Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what’s right?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 21 & 22
Psalm 78.34-39
Proverbs 20.1-2
Acts 9.1-21

 

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

 

Proverbs 20.1-2:

To Drink or Not to Drink?

Verse 1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

I’m frequently asked what the Bible says about drinking. I usually explain that the Bible does not condemn all drinking, but it does condemn drunkenness, specifically. And it gives us other passages to guide our decisions in this area. Here are 3 from Paul’s epistles:

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Cor. 10.23).

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6.12).

“It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (Rom. 14.21).

Discerning God’s Will

So we need to ask ourselves several questions as we consider whether or not we should drink: 

Is it edifying, not just to me, but to those around me? My children or others?

Could I be brought under its power, either temporarily or in the long term? Temporarily, will my behavior be influenced by it? Long term, could I become addicted to it?

Is it the loving thing to do? Are there others around me who struggle in this area and who could be wrongly influenced or tempted?

What about the unbelievers that God has placed in my life? Perhaps even strangers who are watching from a distance? One of the excuses unsaved people use to keep God at arm’s length is that believers are hypocrites. Is my freedom worth being a stumbling block to someone? That’s what Paul was referring to in Romans 14.21.

In many ways, it would be easier if Christianity was just a simple list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, He asks us to choose and to do whatever we do out of a desire to please Him (2 Cor. 5.9) and love others (Matt. 22.37-40).

You may have already made a firm commitment not to drink, as my husband and I have done for a variety of reasons. Each of us need to remember that other believers may view this issue differently and we must be careful not to impose our convictions on them. Where the Bible does not command either specifically or in principle, neither should we.

May God grant you His wisdom and His grace.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

1 Chronicles 21 & 22:

Praying for Our Children

Praying for Our ChildrenChapter 22.12-13, “Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

This was the blessing that David wanted for his son Solomon. I was reminded of Paul’s prayers and how his primary focus was on praying for spiritual growth for those in his care, something to consider as we pray for our children.

 

Psalm 78.34-39:

A God of Compassion

Verses 38-39 But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity,
And did not destroy them.
Yes, many a time He turned His anger away,
And did not stir up all His wrath;
39 For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again.

Oh the depth of His mercy and grace!

But … we cannot let that be an excuse to sin. Romans 6.1-2 says:

“’What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?’ Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

 

Acts 9.1-21:

The Fruit of Repentance

Notice when Paul was saved by coming to faith in Jesus Christ, there was a complete and dramatic change. He went from persecuting believers and participating in arrests and murder to preaching Christ in the synagogues. A genuine conversion experience will bear fruit!

Matthew 3.8, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.”

Blessings,
Donna

 

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Should Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what's right?

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22 thoughts on ““Should Christians Drink Alcohol?” June 29

  1. Very interesting. I used to be called heathen by my ex and ex’s family on this subject. They are super Catholic and always preaching to me. I might have 20 drinks in a year. At family events with kids there, they would have a lot alcoholic drinks. I kind of questioned that and was called a heathen and stuff. I also questioned (and still do) the presence of alcohol (and the giving away of alcohol for prizes) at church events.

    This is one of the things I wrestle with as I grew up with an alcoholic mother (among her many vices) and father who left when I was three and didn’t see him for 23 years as he choose Jack Daniels, Budweiser and Johnny Walker over me (he passed away from his liver giving out). I know that I am among least God like person on this planet but I do think that we have made drinking alcohol “cool” and “fun” when a lot of bad things happen when people have too much of it..

    I felt that that is a matter of showing kids that you don’t need alcohol to enjoy things as too many kids see alcohol as the key to having fun and they learn through family gatherings and such.

    You do bring up a great point about it is about the individual but a church should not promote its use as recently I saw a Budweiser banner hanging in front of a local church.

    • Patrick, I agree with you 100%. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. My brother became a quadriplegic as a result of a drunk driving accident. As a counselor I’ve heard many stories like yours and, as I told someone who asked why I never drink (although I did in the past), I’ve seen alcohol do a lot of harm and I’ve never seen it do any good!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts. Blessings!

    • Thanks, Liz. I know it can be a touchy subject with some. I try to let the Word speak for itself. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Blessings!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this. My husband and I do not drink, but certainly know many others who do. We had a friend who returned to being an alcoholic after he saw another couple from church purchase beer at the local grocery store. He thought if it was okay for them to have beer, then it must be okay for Christians. That was over 2 years ago, and he continues as an alcoholic today. As Christians, we believe that we cannot do anything that would cause a believer to stumble or an unbeliever to think that Christians don’t live different lives. Thus, we choose not to drink – ever!
    I appreciate your sharing of verses to help us as we share the reasons for our commitment to others.

    • Pam, we saw something similar happen in a small group context some years ago. Thanks for sharing this story. As Christians, we need to be light even when it means giving up some of what we consider our freedoms. Blessings!

  3. Great post!
    I would also like to mention that the Hebrew and Greek words that are just translated as ‘Wine’ in the Bible are often times referring to juice. Tirosh is freshly expressed grape-juice in its natural condition, but translated as “wine” in the Bible. Other terms used for wine meant that it was either fermented or unfermented. Oinos is the generic term used for all kinds of wine except ‘shekar'(strong drink). Studies show that this term occurs in N.T. (Greek) 32 times Also when juice was placed in wine skins, over time it would ferment and the Bible warns, “Look not upon the wine…”.
    I think Christians should study more before they indulge in drinking.
    Proverbs 23:29-33–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(fermented-strong wine).
    At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
    Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

  4. Thanks for the careful way in which you approach this subject. Another interesting verse I came across recently is 1 Peter 4:3: “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.” Interesting that “drinking parties” is included in addition to “drunkenness.”

    • Lydia, your point is very interesting. Sometimes we think it’s ok if we go certain places as long as we don’t drink, but we know that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15.33). Thanks for sharing.

  5. the Q is not usually about whether to have a glass of wine with dinner really. when people ask this Q they are usually looking for permission to drink to get the feeling of drinking and really there is no way that can be justified from scripture. Paul says plainly in Eph 5:18 – Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…
    The other issues I think you handled well pointing out the verses in Corinthians and Romans. Often the Q we need to ask ourselves is “is this the wise thing to do?” Thanks Donna!

    • You are so right, Karen. I read somewhere that we are all legalists at heart. Just give me a rule I can keep. Or maybe I should say, show me where the line is so I can get just as close as possible without going over it. OK if the Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong, than I’m good to go. But God is always looking at the heart. Is it wise? Is it loving? … Thanks for taking the time to comment. Have a great 4th!

  6. Thank you for never being afraid to confront the tough issues, Donna! I always appreciate your courage and your wisdom.
    I found your post today on Grace and Truth.
    Hope you enjoy a restful weekend~
    Blessings,
    Melanie

  7. I love the gentleness of your teaching on this subject, Donna. We don’t drink nor do we go to restaurants with bars in them. I know not everyone feels the way we do, but for us, we don’t want to put ourselves into a position that will cause another to stumble. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    • Thank you, Lori. I think we all need to be sensitive about how our behavior might affect someone else. Thanks for hosting and have a great 4th!

  8. I think you handled this touchy topic beautifully, Donna. I don’t think there’s any question about what the Bible says about drunkenness. As far as having a glass of wine with dinner, that seems to be a personal choice. There are many factors that come into play, as you pointed out. Thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last week.

  9. Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! 🙂 I love the verses you shared for not partaking in alcohol. We have chosen that path personally as well.

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