Many Christians are asking, “Is drinking a sin?” It is a controversial question, which is why it is important to gain a Biblical perspective, plus seek Holy Spirit guidance.
Related article: Does God Forgive All Sins?
While drunkenness is a sin, the Bible does not declare that drinking itself is a sin. This article examines two situations that demonstrate why.
Reason #1: Jesus’ First Miracle
Obviously, Jesus as the Son of God lived a sinless life. Reason #1 that shows drinking is not a sin is because the first miracle Jesus performed was transforming water into wine at a wedding (see John 2:1-12).
Jesus would not have facilitated drinking alcohol as a stumbling block for others if it were a sin!
When the hosts ran out of wine and Jesus’ mother, Mary told Him about the problem, Jesus could have rebuked her for asking Him to commit sin.
But he did not; instead, Jesus told His mother that His hour had not yet come (see John 2:4).
When Mary directed the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do, Jesus directed the servants to fill the water pots, draw it out and then deliver it to the master of the feast.
When the master of the feast drank the transformed beverage, he declared it as “good wine”!
Because Jesus provided wine for others to drink, then drinking itself cannot be a sin.
Reason #2: Paul’s Recommendation to Timothy
The second reason that shows drinking alcohol itself is not a sin is that the apostle Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, recommended that His Spiritual son, Timothy, to drink wine for his medical malady:
“No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities (1 Timothy 5:23).”
Because the apostle Paul recommended that Timothy drink a small amount of wine, believing the wine would benefit Timothy’s health, then drinking alcohol itself is not a sin.
But Drinking Alcohol to Excess is a Sin
While drinking alcohol itself is not a sin, drunkenness’ is! According to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, our bodies do not belong to us, but to God. Their purpose is to glorify God to expand God’s kingdom.
Here are some scriptures that warn us about the consequences of overindulgence in alcohol, to the point where alcohol shapes your identity:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”– 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.”– 1 Corinthians 5:11
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,”– Ephesians 5:17-18
For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”– Proverbs 23:21
The Bible warns us that overindulgence in alcohol is “dissipation,” which means a waste of resources.
Drunkenness also opposes soundness of mind, which is a gift that enables us to make wise decisions, stay alert to the enemy’s schemes to overcome them, and recognize opportunities to share our faith, which expands God’s kingdom.
In addition, the Bible gives a chilling portrait of a person who has given their lives over to alcohol:
Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,– Proverbs 23:29-35
Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
“They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?”
Following the Holy Spirit’s Guidance
If a person has personal convictions against drinking alcohol or know that drinking alcohol would put a stumbling block in another person’s path, then they should follow their conscience and avoid alcohol in those cases.
Personally, I do not drink alcohol because it does not appeal to me.
Consider the law of liberty as outlined in Romans 14:1-12:
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
If a believer in Jesus recognizes that alcohol has hijacked their brains, then it is imperative that they seek help to overcome, such as through a program like Celebrate Recovery.
Each day that the believer refuses to seek help in this matter is another day in which the enemy has an inroad into their lives to steal, kill, and destroy what they hold dear.
Soundness of mind requires emotional stability and clarity to make wise decisions.
As in all things, seek the Lord in study and prayer, trusting that the Holy Spirit will bring understanding in this matter. He desires that we prosper and be in health as our souls prospers!
Be blessed in health, healing and wholeness,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Do you struggle with eating too much sugar? If so, you are not alone!
Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my journey to losing 85 pounds and dropping from a size 22 to a size 8.
In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge (inside the the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss success.