Tag Archives: alcohol

Thinking About Drinking: Is There Any Guidance? (part three)

In two previous articles, (one / two) we have assessed social drinking from a secular perspective. We tried to show that consumption of alcoholic beverages carries certain risks to the imbiber as well as to his family, friends, and even those people he does not know but who happen to cross his path. All of these risks are viewed in the light of the unnecessary, voluntary place of alcohol in life. In this article, we will examine numerous Biblical passages which speak to alcohol consumption. The reader should understand that there is no “thou shalt not drink” passage found in Scripture. There are, however, many passages that teach a principle of abstinence. These are the teachings we will address.


Excessive drinking is condemned.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

(Galatians 5:19-21)

Observe that while Paul specifically classifies drunkenness as sin, he also condemns many behaviors that often arise from intoxication like fits of anger and orgies. He further expands his list with the phrase, “things like these.” A happy drunk or a fighting drunk both sin by their drunkenness and by their alcohol influenced actions.

Paul echoes the same thought in Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 6:10 and Ephesians 5:18. Without a doubt, drunkenness is condemned by the Holy Spirit.

Tipsy Drinking

Some like to walk a line between drunk and sober. They enjoy alcohol and the social environments where alcohol is served. What says the Bible?

Proverbs 20:1 divides drinking into two types, wine, and strong drink. He says “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Shortly he adds, “Do not look at the 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” (Proverbs 23:31, 32). He seems to have in view the progressive nature of alcoholic consumption, the movement from first drink until crossing that undefined line into drunkenness.


The Christian is better off without any alcohol. Consider Proverbs 31:4, 5, “…its is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and perverts the right of the afflicted.” God himself prohibited Aaron and the priests from drinking while serving in the Tabernacle (Leviticus 10:9). In assessing a man for the position of elder the Scriptures warn that he must not be known as one who lingers over the wine. His reputation is enhanced by abstinence.

A reader might quickly assert that these passages are offered for kings, priests, and elders. That is true. But it is also true that this high quality of life should be sought by all Christians. Shouldn’t all Christians seek to rise to the qualities of an elder? Why not?


Given all of the reasons in these three articles against alcoholic beverages, and given that consuming so-called adult beverages is never required and completely unnecessary, and noting the Bible condemnation of drunkenness and even the dangers of light drinking, does it not lead to the conclusion that the Christian should avoid alcohol?

Seek purity and godliness and separate yourself from the traits of the world.



Thinking About Drinking: Is There Any Guidance? (part two)

Previously we noted that adult beverages are unnecessary and potentially dangerous. We observed that early signs of intoxication might easily be missed leading to drunkenness. It is also beyond dispute that alcohol, even at lower levels, blunts judgment while giving the drinker a sense of wellbeing. This feeling that all is well may mask attitudes, behavior, and conduct that are harmful and sinful. Now, we examine more reasons why alcoholic beverages should be avoided.

Alcohol is Dangerous

Alcohol does more than blunt judgment. It blunts reaction times and slows our ability to respond to physical dangers. Drunk driving is probably the best known physical danger associated with alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 12, 514 Americans were killed in crashes where a driver had some level of alcohol in their body at testing (2016 data). That is 33% of all deaths. In 28% of the deaths, at least one driver was legally under the influence (31% and 27% in Alabama). In 2004, The U.S. Department of Justice data showed that 36.8% of state prison inmates reported being under the influence of alcohol at the time of their crime. That’s over 200,000 inmates in which their crime was committed while drinking.

All of this because of an unnecessary drink.

Alcohol is Destructive

Beyond physical dangers, alcohol destroys integrity, productivity, and trust. The latest figures are from 2006, but the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism show a cost to society of $223.5 billion dollars. Most of that is from lost productivity. Consider the damage done to the family. In a report published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs shows that about half of all people with serious alcohol abuse problems divorce. This compares to about 30% who divorce absent an alcohol issue.

As before, we observe that these damaged relationships suffer, at least in part, from an unnecessary product.

Alcohol is Sneaky

Those who make up the statistics never thought they would be involved in crime, divorce, and fatalities. Beverages companies, like the tobacco companies, never reveal the true cost of their product. Adult beverages slowly entrap the unwise and bring them down to despair.

Not all who drink become alcoholics. Not all who drink become a statistic in some depressing report. But some do, but no one can foresee who those people will be. Could it be you? I cannot say, but neither can you. Therein lies the problem. Alcohol use is insidious. By the time the drinker accepts that he has a problem, great damage is already done. All because of an unnecessary, unneeded product.

If these secular facts were not enough for you, God has spoken about alcohol use. Next, we delve into the Scriptures for a look at the divine wisdom of abstinence.


Thinking About Drinking: Is There Any Guidance? (part 1)

social drinkingIntoxication is common today. Alcoholic beverages are ubiquitous. Advertisements during sporting events seem predominated by the likes of Budweiser, Miller, Coors, and Dos Equis. It may seem like everyone drinks booze in some form. The church has, for the most part, argued against the consumption of alcoholic substances but recently I observed an exchange between a longtime member of the Lord’s church and some other brethren in which he argued that occasional imbibing is acceptable. While admiring his courage, I find error in his reasoning. I thought it wise to reduce my thoughts to a brief article on the subject.

We need to define some things.  This has nothing to do with medicinal alcohol. Alcohol is a fairly common ingredient in some medicines and had a place in ancient medicinal practices. Second, this is not about what is lawful in your jurisdiction. Remember the old saw that what is legal is not necessarily right. Third, this is about any recreational drink that contains alcohol and has the potential to cause any level of intoxication. Finally, intoxication is any level of reduced mental or emotional functioning, observed or latent, caused or enhanced by the beverage in question.

Alcohol Is Not Necessary

Certain products are required for human life. Water and air come to mind as products that a person cannot survive without. Alcohol is not in that category. The point is that to consume alcohol is a voluntary choice made by the imbiber. We can add that for some; booze can become so addictive that the individual is unable to function without it.

It is possible to do extreme harm to the body with necessary items. Overeating and gluttony arise from the profligate consumption of necessary items. Even water can be consumed in such quantities as to cause profound neurologic disorders and death. But alcohol is an unnecessary addition which can and should be avoided.

Early Intoxication Is Not Obvious

Christians agree that drunkenness is sinful. Warnings are evident from Deuteronomy 21:20, Luke 21:34, Romans 13:13 and, of course, Galatians 5:21. However many social drinkers insist that they do not drink to the point of intoxication. They do not become drunk. When pressed for an explanation of drunkenness they assert that they do not slur their words nor stagger as they walk. These are subjective and later signs of drunkenness.

Alcohol has the insidious ability to induce a sense of well-being long before subjective symptoms occur. One of the earliest symptoms of intoxication, occurring at very low blood alcohol levels, is euphoria. This sense of well-being masks the reality of the intoxication. Such early and masked intoxication is so dangerous that Federal Aviation Regulations prohibit commercial pilots from flying within 8 hours of consuming “any alcoholic beverage.”  Some operators follow the rule of 12 hours from bottle to throttle. Why? Because even slight ingestion of alcohol can have profound effects.

Alcohol Blunts Judgement

We know the horrors of drunk driving. We have seen that intoxication is involved in many crimes. But we miss the role played in smaller, almost imperceptible troubles of life.

Upon ingestion, alcohol is broken down into a central nervous system depressant. At high enough levels it will slow breathing until the person dies. At lower levels, it slows normal responses and assaults those parts of the brain responsible for judgment and self-control. Some non-religious people abstain from any use of alcohol for this very reason.

So how does this blunting present itself? Perhaps the drinker is not sensitive to the needs of his spouse or children. Perhaps he responds too harshly to some comment. Maybe he becomes a tad too friendly with a co-worker. He may not actually do anything he shouldn’t, but he has surely moved in a dangerous direction. Is a beer or a quick glass of wine so important that we would risk offending our spouse or child?


Is Marijuana Sinful?

Cannabis leaf on grunge background, shallow DOF.The Gospel Coalition offers an analysis of marijuana and whether it should be considered sinful. While marijuana is not specifically mentioned in God’s word, it shares characteristics. Of course we have written about the trouble of alcohol here before. Take a moment and read Joe Carter’s Is Recreational Marijuana Sinful?

For more on recreational alcohol use you might also look at Alcohol: The Most Harmful Drug here on the Preacher’s Study Blog

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Alcohol: Worth the Trouble?

1024px-Alcohol_bottles_photographed_while_drunkAlcohol saturates our culture. Almost every restaurant sells alcoholic beverages. Grocery stores stock aisles full of wine while convenience stores sell as much beer as gasoline. Every holiday includes alcohol. Even some so-called churches are using beer to drive attendance numbers up. Alcoholic beverages are ubiquitous.

Yet some of us choose not to drink. We enjoy dining out as much as anyone and we have as much fun at a football game as our drinking neighbors. But we do not imbibe. Why? Here are three reasons why everyone should avoid alcohol.

Alcohol is Dangerous

About 18 million people are classified as alcoholics. Millions more are considered abusers of alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 25, 000 died directly from alcohol in 2010. That number does not include accidents, motor-vehicle accidents and homicides in which alcohol played a role. ((Statistics are for the most recently available time period as of this writing in November, 2013.))

Many are injured by alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that almost 17,000 died in alcohol related accidents in 2005 and over a half million were injured. Society coughed up about $51,000,000,000 (billion) because of drunken drivers in 2005. ((Alcohol and Traffic Safety 2006: A Review of the State of Knowledge, www.nhtsa.gov, accessed November 12, 2013.))

Certainly the more a person is intoxicated the more likely they are to be involved in such an accident. But even people less intoxicated have impaired reaction times and are still occasionally the cause of, or a contributing factor to, alcohol related accidents.

There is no question that alcoholic beverages are a dangerous drug.

Alcohol is Destructive

3D_Judges_GavelNext, consider the pain and heartbreak that comes when three-quarters of a million people die or are injured through the use of alcohol. How many children loose a parent? How many spouses must carry on alone? Except for alcohol, these broken people would still be whole.

But beyond the damage to bones and blood is the damage to the human spirit. Alcohol is a dominant factor in crime. In 1998 over one-third of convicted criminals had been drinking when they committed their crime.

Drinking alcohol can be especially damaging to marriages. Repeated studies have shown that heavy drinking is often a factor in divorce. In one study of almost 20,000 couples over a 15 year span showed that a wife who drinks heavily with a light drinking husband faces a 300% increase in the chance of marital failure. You have seen the effect of divorce on children as they shuttle between parents. Again, the studies reference heavy drinking but our point is that any drinking can lead to heavy drinking and only a single instance of too much booze at an office party can destroy a marriage.

Alcohol, even in small amounts, can stifle our normal inhibitions and set the stage for catastrophic actions which lead to trouble in the home. Is an occasional glass of wine worth it?

The Bible Warns

Anyone with even a slight association with Scripture knows that the Bible often warns of the danger of drinking. While it is true that wine was consumed in Bible days it is also true that Scripture consistently warns of the danger of consumption. It is clear that wine is dangerous. The very first mention of wine is found in Genesis 9:21 when we discover the drunk and naked Noah. What is so surprising is that this is Noah, a preacher of righteousness who built the ark. This is the man who found favor in God’s eyes. This was the head of the only family that survived the flood. The power of wine is to cause people to do that which that would not otherwise have done.

The first occasion of incest in the Bible is related to wine. Lot’s daughters schemed to intoxicate their father and then to engage in intercourse with him (Genesis 19:32-35). The surprise here is that Lot was previously rescued from destruction by the hand of God. Yet, under the influence of wine, he entered an incestuous relationship with his daughters.

Alcohol is so dangerous that God prohibited the priests from drinking either wine or strong drink before entering the Tabernacle (Leviticus 10:9).

The inspired wisdom from Solomon says:

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)

Consider the ancient description of an alcoholic as found in Proverbs 23:29-35:


               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.

You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,

like one who lies on the top of a mast.

“They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;

they beat me, but I did not feel it.

When shall I awake?

I must have another drink.”


New Testament warnings are also present. Paul warns against drinking alcohol as it may cause a brother to stumble (Romans 14:2). He warns against wine induced drunkenness in Ephesians 5:19. In Galatians 5:21 he lists drunkenness as a sin, or a work of the flesh.

Only someone unwilling to see can miss the clear warnings of the danger of alcoholic beverages.

Our Conclusion

Because alcoholic beverages are so dangerous at so many levels, and because the use of alcoholic beverages is totally and completely a choice without any necessity, and because alcohol has massive effects upon the drinker and those he comes in contact with, the wise Christian will not drink.

We have been warned and we are responsible. Any outcome of drinking that harms or causes sin is fully our own. We will be held accountable. Is it that important?

I realize new Christians may struggle with abstaining from alcohol. But as one matures in their walk with Jesus I hope and believe that you will be willing to end any association with alcoholic drinks.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Alcohol Is Most Harmful Drug

Science is telling us something that we have known for decades: Alcohol is deadly. The surprising news is that it is the most dangerous drug presently available legally or illegally. The report, detailed in the British medical journal Lancet and detailed in an article titled Study:Alcohol ‘most harmful drug’ at CNN.com, takes into consideration  the effects of alcohol on the user but also upon those around him.

Heroin is the most harmful drug to the user but when harm to others is considered alcohol ranks about 30% higher than Heroin which is number 2. Alcohol’s harm to others is measured in 7 categories including crime, economic cost and family adversities. Anyone who has ever dealt with a member of the family who suffers alcoholism knows the extreme harm it brings to everyone it touches.

The Bible tells us that those drawn in by the allure of alcoholic drink is “unwise (Proverbs 20:1). The wise man describes the alcoholic perfectly in Proverbs 23:29-35. One who drinks alcoholic beverages is a gambler. His bet with the lives of himself but also of those around him. Why would a wise man every tamper with something so vicious?