Pastor, Why? #25: Why Not Alcohol?

Does the Bible teach “abstinence” or merely moderation of alcoholic beverages? While most agree that it is wrong to “get drunk”, is it really a sin to have an occasional social drink, a little wine with a special meal, champagne at a wedding reception, something to settle the nerves, etc.? Bible-believing Americans were once in near unanimous agreement that Christians ought not to drink alcoholic beverages. Now, like many other lines of distinction, this one seems to be falling by the wayside. Was alcohol just a traditional and cultural taboo, or are there truly Bible-based, as well as rational reasons to not drink alcohol?


Ten Biblical and Rational Warnings about Alcohol

that should be written on the label of every liquor container


Alcohol destroys family relationships

  • Examples in Genesis 9:20-25, 2 Samuel 13:28-29 and Esther 1:10
  • “One in four American families are troubled by alcohol.”

                [Gallup Organization]

Alcohol turns people into fools

          Proverbs is the “Wisdom” Book of the Bible. After reading its many admonitions about alcohol, one can only conclude that, if it is not a sin to drink alcohol, it is undoubtedly a foolish thing to do. According to the Bible, a wise person practices abstinence.           

Alcohol often leads to violence   (Proverbs 4:17)

  • Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all violent crimes and three quarters of domestic violence incidents. [National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence;; 2013]

Alcohol is an unpredictable beast   (Proverbs 20:1)

       No one can ever predict where that first sip will lead.

  • “One in every twelve adults now suffers from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky drinking patterns.”   [; 2013]

Alcohol leads many to poverty

  • Pr. 23:21 “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.”
  • “Alcohol, its use and abuse, will usually be found at the center of a poverty culture.”   [; Lt. Col. Wollwahn]
  • The damaging effects of alcohol cost Americans $117 billion per year.   [National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism]

Alcohol destroys lives   (Proverbs 23:29-35)

  • Alcohol contributes to 1.8 million deaths worldwide each year. [World Health Organization]
  • Alcohol kills 6000 American teens each year--twenty-five times more than all illegal drugs combined. [, 2012]

Alcohol leads many to bondage and eternal destruction

          (Isaiah 5:11-14 “Woe unto them that... follow strong drink.”)

Alcohol impairs the ability to make responsible decisions

          (Leviticus 10:9-11; Proverbs 31:4-5; Isaiah 28:7b)

Alcohol weakens the moral senses

          (Genesis 19:32-33; Habakuk 2:15)

Alcohol diminishes alertness to spiritual dangers

          (1 Peter 5:8   “Be sober....” -- Repeated eight times in the N.T.)


Seven Bible Commands Regarding Alcohol

Priests were not to drink fermented wine     

          (Leviticus 10:8-9)

Kings and civil rulers were not to drink wine   (Proverbs 31:4-5)

  • Christians are called priests, kings and future rulers. (Rev. 5:10)

Christian leaders are not to be drunk  

          (Titus 1:7; 2:3; 1 Timothy 3:3, 8)

Christians are not to be under the influence of alcohol  

  • “Intoxicated: affected by alcohol or drugs” [Merriam-Webster]
  • The moment alcohol begins to affect and influence one’s actions, reactions, words, mood, nerves, etc., he is by definition “intoxicated”, and alcohol has usurped the place of the Holy Spirit in their life. (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 6:12)

Christians are not to influence others negatively  

          (Galatians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13; Romans 14:20-23)

          A mature person thinks in terms of responsibilities, not rights.

  • How might exercising my “right” to drink, even in moderation, influence my children? Half of all young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five are regular binge drinkers, and one in six is a heavy drinker. [Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services]
  • How might it influence my disciples--those who respect me as a “spiritual” person, including some who may struggle with alcohol?
  • How might it influence my witness to lost people? Can I give a gospel witness and tract to the cashier where I buy alcohol?

Soldiers are never to drink on duty

  • Believers are often called soldiers for Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8). When is a Christian soldier “off duty”?

Christians are not to be associated with evil   (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

  • “Alcohol has wrecked more lives, starved more children, and murdered more women than any other factor.” [Sir. W. Grinfell]

     Why would a Christian desire to promote it or associate with it?

Do not be fooled--everybody is NOT doing it! 46% of American adults have not drunk ANY beer or wine in the last year []. These abstainers are certainly not all Christians, just “wise”.