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Are Christians allowed to drink alcohol?

Wine or alcohol making is something which was done very early in history and something that is even more common today. Though the taste of some fermented beverages are not too pleasant, many are addicted to this liquid drug. Is drinking alcohol a sin, or does God allow us to drink in moderation? What about 5%? Though science has shown benefits and also risks of moderate drinking, let us go through some of the many bible texts concerning the use of alcohol to see what the Lord approves. 

What does the bible teach about fermented wine?

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1


Wine – yayin (yah’-yin)

From an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication intoxication.


The word “wine” in the Bible sometimes refers to the new wine (fresh grape juice) or old wine (fermented product containing the drug alcohol). The translators did not specify the type of wine used in each scenario throughout the bible and never used the term “grape juice.” In Hebrew, Yayin is generally used for fermented wine, but there are some exceptions.


What effects does wine/strong drinks have upon our bodies?

“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. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.” Proverbs 23:29-33

Does the bible pronounce a woe unto alcoholics?

“Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!  And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.” Isaiah 5:11-12


Strong Drink- shêkâr (shay-kawr’)

An intoxicant, that is, intensely alcoholic liquor: – strong drink.


Will drunkards enter the kingdom of God?

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10


We may say, well Paul said we can drink moderately. Is this true?

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18

Answer: Many take this to mean we can drink alcohol in moderation but the greek word for “excess ” is “asōtia” which is translated as riot and riotous living (1 Peter 4:4). Moderate drinking is the school in which men are educated for the drunkard’s career.


What then does it mean to give strong drink to him that is ready to perish?

“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” Proverbs 31:6-7

Answer: Being addressed are those “perishing” and “of heavy heart (bitterly distressed)”. Both terms in Hebrew indicate a desperate and hopeless situation. In other words, this is describing a situation in which a person is dying in painful agony. Permitted was only the medicinal use of alcohol as a narcotic in the specific situation of those who are in terminal misery but not the general use of alcohol.

What were the instructions given when wine was brought as an offering in the old testament?

“In the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering.” Numbers 28:7

Answer: They were not to drink the strong wine, but would pour it as an offering in the holy place.

What did the Lord tell Aaron concerning wine drinking?

“And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean.” Leviticus 10:8-10

What instruction was John the Baptist mother given?

“For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” Luke 1:15

Did the Lord allow kings to drink wine?

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: What would result if this practice was allowed? Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” Proverbs 31:4-5

Are we to be kings as God’s People? 

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

But didn’t Jesus turn water into wine?

“So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.” John 4:46

Answer: Wine here is from the Greek word “oinos” which is translated “wine.” This is the only word in the new testament used for both intoxicating or unfermented wine (grape juice). Christ never made intoxicating  wine; such an act would have been contrary to all the teachings and examples of his life.  The wine  that Christ made from water at the marriage feast of Cana was the pure juice of the grape.

How much wine was made at the wedding at Cana?

“And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.” John 2:6

Answer: Notice there were 6 water pots containing 2 or 3 firkins (20-30 gallons) a piece. This adds up to 120-180 gallons of wine. Do you really believe, Christ will make 180 gallons of an alcohol drug?

Which wine is a true blessing to us?

“Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it.” Isaiah 65:8

Fresh Unfermented Wine

“And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.” Genesis 40:11


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The nutritive grains, the healthful, delicious fruits, are converted into beverages that pervert the senses and madden the brain. As a result of the use of these poisons, thousands of families are deprived of the comforts and even the necessaries of life, acts of violence and crime are multiplied, and disease and death hurry myriads of victims to a drunkard’s grave. Would you surrender your desires for fermented beverages to Jesus? Ask the Lord for strength to overcome the liquor habit, and He will provide that strength.


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