Is It a Sin to Drink Alcohol?

A Little Lessons Series

Is it a sin to drink alcohol on any occasion according to the Bible? Or is it just drunkenness that Scripture condemns? Learn more in this episode of Little Lessons!

Man looking at glass of alcohol


The following excerpt is taken from a transcript of the video above.

Today, we’re going to answer a question sent to us by one of our beloved viewers. The question revolves around alcohol. Is it a sin to drink alcohol for Christians? Of course, within the body of Christ, under the banner of Christendom, there is a wide spectrum of opinion on the proper answer to that question.

There are some who say Christians should never drink alcohol, never touch it, and there those that say it’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with alcohol as long as you don’t get drunk. I think that’s where it ends on this side of the spectrum. It’s pretty hard to argue that it’s okay to get drunk from the New Testament seeing as how the New Testament warns that no drunkard will inherit eternal life. That’s not an endorsement for drunkenness. That’s a sobering warning.

One thing I can say at the outset, there’s a surefire way to guarantee that you’ll never be tempted to get drunk by overindulging in alcohol is to not indulge at all. Right? Right. I’ve personally never been drunk, but I don’t drink period. It’s not necessarily because I have a Biblical conviction that it would be wrong for me to drink alcohol. It’s pretty much based on the fact that I’ve never liked it. I’ve tasted a little sip of beer once or twice in my life.

People have said, “You have to acquire the taste for it.” Okay. I’m just not willing to torture myself until I acquire that taste. Wine, you know, I’ve had that on occasion. It just always seemed so strong and overpowering.

I know that probably shows that I’m not a cultured person because I don’t have various kinds of wine with different kinds of food that enhances the flavor. I’m a pretty plain and simple person, just not that sophisticated. It just seems so overpowering. Champagne, it’s the same thing. Never, ever tried vodka or whiskey or any of the hard stuff.

If you don’t ever want to worry about falling so far that you get drunk, one way to do it is avoid alcohol all together. To say that no Christian should, as a rule, ever touch alcohol, I think it’s hard to support that from the Bible seeing as how Jesus changed water into wine. It’s pretty clear that back in Jesus’ day, wine was a very common beverage.

In fact, Paul wrote to Timothy and said, “Use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” He’s prescribing wine to Timothy, who’s a missionary in a different region of the world than where he was, his hometown.

Of course, any missionary, anyone who’s traveled around the world probably knows this. There are different bacterias in different parts of the world, and people who drink the water all the time develop an immunity to the bacteria in their water. A foreigner comes who doesn’t have any immunity built up to that, and they drink the same water that everyone else is drinking, and they get very, very sick. I suspect that’s what happened to Timothy. He was drinking the water, and Paul said, “Hey, don’t drink water exclusively. Use a little wine.” There’s a medicinal quality I think there as well in that the alcohol has an ability to kill some germs. When you get a cut, you might rub some alcohol on there, and that’s a medicinal thing.

That’s just the way it is. Again, I’m not a drinker because I don’t enjoy it, but I would never, ever point my finger at a Christian who does partake of alcohol. Some seem to like it. All of my friends who I’ve known to drink alcohol aren’t drunkards. They never get drunk. They just have a glass of wine occasionally with a meal.

In many other cultures of the world, particularly I think in Europe, it’s common to have wine with every meal. Again, they’re very reserved and not ever getting drunk. I’ve been with those families. I remember one time I was in Brussels, Belgium, eating at a woman’s house, and there was wine at everybody’s place. She said, “Let’s give a toast.” I held up my glass, and she said, “To the Holy Ghost.” Everyone said, “To the Holy Ghost.” These were all Christians, and they all clinked their glasses. I clinked my glass. I had a little sip to the Holy Ghost just to be polite.

Let’s have a little bit of mercy. Now, I think of some Christians I know who are very, very adamantly opposed to alcohol, one in particular who’s a very close friend of mine who’s adamantly opposed to alcohol because this person witnessed their uncle become an alcoholic. It destroyed his life and destroyed his family at the same time. Naturally, if you witness that, and you see alcohol as being the source, well, then, you’re going to have very negative feelings about alcohol, and that’s understanding.

Again, it all comes down to self-control. It’s interesting that those who are sometimes very condemning of other Christians who indulge in a little bit of alcohol because it’s mind-altering, they’re stuffing their bodies and their mouths full of foods that are body-altering and, in some cases, mind-altering. You know, we ought to ask these people, “Is it okay to stuff a Hostess Twinkie in your mouth?” because that will alter your body a little bit.

Everything you put in your mouth has some effect on your body, some more than others. Those who are pointing their finger need to notice that there’s three fingers pointed back at them before they condemn others for putting something in their body that’s potentially negative.

Again, alcohol is not negative in small amounts. The same people who are condemning anyone for drinking any alcohol are sometimes stuffing their bodies full of junk food. They are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and you can tell they’re hurting their bodies. It might be good to be merciful toward those who occasionally have a glass of wine at their meal and don’t get drunk. All right. More could be said on this, but I think I’ve said enough. That’s all I’m going to say. Thank you so much for joining me. God bless you.