How Should Christians View Alcohol?
Around the world, people have different opinions about alcohol. Some enjoy sharing an occasional drink with friends. Others choose not to drink at all. Still others drink to the point of getting drunk. What is the Bible’s view of alcohol?
1. Is it wrong to drink alcoholic beverages?
The Bible does not condemn drinking alcohol. On the contrary, when listing many gifts that God has given us, the Bible includes “wine that makes man’s heart rejoice.” (Psalm 104:14, 15) Some faithful men and women mentioned in the Bible drank alcoholic beverages.—1 Timothy 5:23.
2. What advice does the Bible give to those who choose to drink?
Jehovah condemns heavy drinking and drunkenness. (Galatians 5:21) His Word says: “Do not be among those who drink too much wine.” (Proverbs 23:20) So if we choose to drink—even in private—we should not drink so much that we cannot think clearly, control our speech and actions, or maintain our physical health. If we cannot control our drinking, we should be willing to stop drinking altogether.
3. How can we respect the decisions of others regarding alcohol?
Each person must decide whether to drink alcoholic beverages. We should not judge someone who chooses to drink alcohol in moderation, and we should not pressure someone to drink who does not want to. (Romans 14:10) We choose not to drink if our drinking could cause problems for others. (Read Romans 14:21.) We seek “not [our] own advantage, but that of the other person.”—Read 1 Corinthians 10:23, 24.
Consider Bible principles that will help you decide whether to drink and how much to drink if you do so. Also find out what you can do if you struggle with a drinking problem.
4. Decide whether you will drink
How did Jesus view drinking alcohol? To learn the answer, consider the first miracle that he performed. Read John 2:1-11, and then discuss these questions:
From this miracle, what can we learn about Jesus’ view of alcohol and those who drink it?
Since Jesus did not condemn drinking alcohol, how should a Christian view someone who chooses to drink?
However, just because a Christian is free to drink alcohol, this does not mean that it is always wise for him to do so. Read Proverbs 22:3, and then consider how the following factors might influence whether you will drink:
You are going to drive or operate machinery.
You are pregnant.
A doctor has advised you not to drink alcohol.
You have trouble controlling the amount you drink.
The law does not allow you to drink alcohol.
You are with someone who chooses to abstain because he has had trouble controlling his drinking in the past.
Should you serve alcohol at wedding receptions or other social gatherings? To see what can help you decide, play the VIDEO.
Read Romans 13:13 and 1 Corinthians 10:31, 32. After reading each scripture, discuss this question:
How can applying this principle help you to make a decision that will please Jehovah?
5. Decide how much you will drink
If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, remember this: While Jehovah does not condemn the drinking of alcohol, he does condemn overdrinking. Why? Read Hosea 4:11, 18, and then discuss this question:
What can happen when a person drinks too much?
How can we avoid drinking too much? We need to be modest, or aware of our limitations. Read Proverbs 11:2, and then discuss this question:
Why is it a good idea to set a definite limit on how much you will drink?
6. Overcome the misuse of alcohol
See what helped one man to stop abusing alcohol. Play the VIDEO, and then discuss the questions that follow.
In the video, how did alcohol affect the way Dmitry acted?
Was he able to stop drinking right away?
How was he finally able to break his addiction to alcohol?
Read 1 Corinthians 6:10, 11, and then discuss these questions:
How serious is drunkenness?
What shows that someone who misuses alcohol can change?
Read Matthew 5:30, and then discuss this question:
Cutting off a hand illustrates making sacrifices to please Jehovah. What can you do if you are struggling to overcome the misuse of alcohol?a
Read 1 Corinthians 15:33, and then discuss this question:
What effect can your friends have on how much you drink?
SOMEONE MAY ASK: “Is drinking wrong?”
How would you respond?
Jehovah provided alcohol for our enjoyment, but he condemns overdrinking and drunkenness.
What is the Bible’s view of alcohol?
What are the dangers of drinking too much?
How can we respect the decisions others make regarding drinking?
How can teenagers make good choices about alcohol?
Discover the steps you can take to overcome a drinking problem.
“Keeping Alcohol in Its Place” (The Watchtower, January 1, 2010)
Should a Christian share in toasting?
“Questions From Readers” (The Watchtower, February 15, 2007)
In the story “I Was a Bottomless Barrel,” see how a man gave up binge drinking.
a Those who are addicted to alcohol may need professional help to break free. Many doctors suggest that those who have had a drinking problem should not drink at all.