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What the Bible Says About Drinking Alcohol

Cheryl Mascarenhas Mar 3, 2020
With Jesus himself consuming wine, you would think the Bible supports consuming alcohol. But, the truth could be otherwise, drinking could well be a sin. Let's burst the bubble shall we, through this post.
During the Holy Mass
Bread is broken and wine is poured to symbolize the Holy Union of the people with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
One look at the happenings of the New Testament is sure to make you shout with joy. Assuming that, if Jesus himself shared wine with his disciples, then drinking and consuming alcohol cannot be a sin. While wine and other drinks are mentioned in the Bible, it is also true that drunkenness has been condemned and considered a sin.
To really know what the Bible says about drinking, we ought to be clear what it meant by the word wine. Wine, for instance, was the common drink in ancient times, and Biblical scholars are of the view that, the water available for drinking contained pollutants and harmful microbes, which made it unfit for consumption.
From what is believed, the alcohol content in wine was needed to kill these microbes, and also to keep ailments and infections at bay. If all this is to be believed, then we need to consider another factor in analyzing the reference of wine.
The alcoholic content in wine back then, and now, is bound to differ, solely because the process of distillation began only around 1000 A.D. To know the truth, let's try to decipher the actual messages from the Bible.

*All Biblical verses are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Thus spoke the Lord

Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. ― Leviticus 10:9
In the Old Testament, we see the Lord speaking to Aaron, the brother of Moses and the first High Priest, forbidding him and his sons from indulging in alcohol. In Numbers 6:2-3, we see the Lord speaking to Moses, asking him to tell the people that, whoever wished to take the Nazirite vow had to stay away from wine and strong drink.
Abstinence from wine, vinegar and the fruit itself, is very important for those who wished to be separated and consecrated. During the conception of Samson, as given in Judges 13:4, the Lord once again reminds us of the Nazirite vow, forbidding both Manoah and his wife, from consuming any form of strong drink and wine, and anything that would be unclean.

Wisdom lies in following ...

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. ― Proverbs 20:1
Coming to Book of Proverbs, the central theme is to give instructions for prudent behavior. Here, it's not just the Nazirites who are to abstain from indulgence but also the wise, including leaders and rulers. In Proverbs 31:4-5, King Lemuel explains that wine and strong drink is not for rulers and kings, for it will take them away from what is established.
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! ― Isaiah 5:11
Misery, suffering, and punishment seem to rule the day as Isaiah talks about judgment, and calls for repentance and holiness. Which just means that indulging in the pleasures of the senses was considered to be unholy, and eventually called for the wrath and curse of God.

The lighter side of it

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. ― Ecclesiastes 9:7

Indeed, Solomon's words give us something to cheer about. Taken literally, Solomon's words can be applicable to the present.
What the verse actually does is, calls us to trust God and His providence, not just because all else is meaningless, but because it is the Cruz of all life. Psalms 104:14-15 mentions that all things come from God, who joyfully gives food to satisfy the soul and wine to gladden the heart.

What you need to remember ...

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. ― Ephesians 5:18
The Bible instructs us to avoid drunkenness and overindulgence, rather you are called to be sober and filled with the Holy Spirit. We, as children of God, are called to tread the path of wisdom and sanctity. In all measures, we, as people, are called to tread with caution, and never let the pleasures of life consume us in a fire.

What alcohol can do ...

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. ...
... Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. ― Proverbs 23:29-33

We do not need the Bible to be telling us this, most of us have tried and tested ways to claim the same. 
Alcohol, in whatever form, has at some point of time caused us to do things differently. In the very essence of it, the Scripture does not encourage you to sin against your conscience, thus, forbidding you from doing anything that will offend yourself and your fellow beings, in particular.
Consuming alcohol, on the whole, is not really condemned but letting yourself give in to drunkenness, which will lead to a loss in sobriety, is definitely looked down upon. Finally, what matters is not allowing anything to overpower the mind and the body, for that which is overpowered is enslaved.