What Does The Bible Say About Drinking Alcohol
Most Christians who believe that the Bible is the Word of God, agree that it is sinful to get drunk, but some do not know that the Bible teaches against the drinking of any alcohol.
To begin with, the words usually translated “wine”—yayin in the Old Testament and oinos in the New Testament—can refer to grapes in any form including fermented wine and unfermented grape juice. The Hebrew word tirosh, or “new wine,” never refers to fermented drink, but shekar, or “strong drink” usually means a fermented drink made from barley, honey, dates, or grapes.
Please look with me at the following Scriptures:
“And the Lord spoke unto Aaron, saying, do not drink wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest you die; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations: and that you may put a difference between the holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken unto them by the hand of Moses” (Lev. 10:8-11).
Here, God tells Aaron that the priests who minister before the Lord should not drink anything that is alcoholic because it would hinder them from making spiritual decisions like distinguishing the holy from the unholy and the unclean from the clean and teaching God’s Word to His people. It can also lead to death, as it did for Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-3). Since we are all priests, this applies to all Christians, (I Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). Everything we do should be as ministering to the Lord (I Cor. 10:31-33), and believers are now the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16-17).
“And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.” (Num. 6:1-3)
As a sign of their separation from the world, being set apart and consecrated to God, Nazarites could not drink wine or strong drink or partake of any fruit of the vine. Samson Samuel, and John the Baptist were Nazarites for life (Judg. 13:2-14, I Sam. 1:11, Lk. 1:15). This can be applied to all believers who are to be separated from the world, and set apart and consecrated to God.
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).
People who drink alcohol make fun, scoff, and scorn at sin, judgment, and truth. Drinking provokes anger, causes riotous brawling, violent agitation, and noisy outbursts. It leads astray, causes wandering, and seduces— all toward sin. Alcohol contributes to making foolish decisions and having poor discernment.
“He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” (Prov. 21:17).
Drinking alcohol contributes to spiritual, financial, relational, and physical poverty.
“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted” (Prov. 31:4-5).
Kings and princes are people who have positions of authority and influence over others, which can be applied to all believers (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). They are not to let alcohol cause them to ignore, or become careless in handling God’s laws, or to change decisions in applying His laws to those who are in trouble, poverty, or misery.
Next month, we will look at some more Scriptures that deal with drinking alcohol.