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Is Drinking Alcohol A Sin?

February 25, 2009

Some Christians beleive that drinking alcohol is a sin. Does the Bible support this view or is this a man made idea? You are about to find out.

On the one hand, there are some verses that seem to indicate that alcohol might be a bad thing. For instance, the book of Proverbs has warnings about beer being a “brawler” and wine being a “mocker” – and goes on to give warnings to the person who is “led astray” by beer and wine.

There are also verses such as “do not even look at the wine when it is red”, which is followed by versus about what alcohol can do to you if you are led astray by it.

If you were to isolate these verses by themselves, without looking at what other versus have to say on the matter, then you could argue that drinking alcohol – in any amount – is a sin. However, one thing you have to remember is that Scripture interprets Scripture. Its important to look at what other verses say about these things before you jump to conclusions about what these versus mean.

For example, Jesus turned water into wine, and there are versus in the New Testament which actually encourage people to “drink a little wine because of your stomach and frequent illnesses”. If drinking alcohol was a sin, I don’t think Jesus would have chosen to turn water into wine in his first public miracle…and it certainly would not be encouraged to use as a remedy for stomach problems and illnesses.

What is interesting is that many people make assertions without giving a lot of thought about what their assertions mean. Because of their bias, some Christians have gone as far as to state that the wine back in those days was really “grape juice”, since there is no word in the original translation of the Bible that could be translated to wine (the actual word, they say, is “fermented beverage”, and if it really had only a few drops of alcohol in it, to get drunk from it, you would have to drink about 40or 50 glasses or some other absurd amount).

Well, there are some problems with that reasoning. First of all, wine is an ancient tradition – people have making wine for centuries on end. In fact, God gave the Israelites specific rules regarding what to do with their wine skins (or “fermented beverage skins” if you go with the biased interpretation).

Secondly, there are countless references in the Bible to drunkenness – and this was always a bad thing. If it was impossible to get drunk with the wine back in those days, then why in the world would God give commandments against it?

The fact of the matter is that alcohol is a gift from God – but unfortunately, with many things, people abuse it. There is nothing wrong with drinking a beer or enjoying some wine – the key is moderation. However, if you are getting drunk when you are drinking wine or beer, then you are clearly doing what God has commanded against in the Bible about not getting drunk. This is where the sin is – it is important to recognize the difference.

So, does this mean that if you are a Christian and you do not drink, that you should suddenly start drinking, just because you can? Of course not – its fine to abstain from certian things – alcohol being one of them – and Paul does say that the one who abstains does so to the Lord, while the one who does not, also does so to the Lord. It should also be noted that “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial”, meaning that for some people, although drinking may be permissible by God, it could cause you to stumble, so to start drinking would not be beneficial.

However, you should be very careful about judging another Christian who chooses to drink. It would be one thing if the Bible said, “though must never have an alcoholic beverage”, but it clearly does not state that. Just be sure to check what man says about God’s word, up against God’s word – because their is a difference between God’s word and man’s interpretation of God’s word – and those who say it is a sin to drink aren’t examing God’s word closely enough…