Recently, I was asked by a pre-teen about drinking. She was interested in what the Bible said because she wanted to please God. She also knew that He knows best; that He is the One to whom we need to go for wisdom and direction in life. If we want to live a blessed life and enjoy eternal life, we must look to God.
All Christians ought to be equally concerned about what God says regarding intoxicating drink so that we might please Him and show this to the world. Parents will be especially responsible for what they teach their children and the example they set for them.
So, here is the short answer (click here for more) from my understanding of the Bible. I hope it will help us all in approaching this subject and helping our young people.
Drunkenness is clearly condemned in the Bible (e.g. Proverbs 23:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21). It will cause you to lose your soul and keep you from going to heaven.
Getting drunk (or becoming drunk) is also condemned in the Bible. Ephesians 5:18 literally reads “And do not get [or become] drunk” as it is translated in the New American Standard Bible. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 commands us to “be sober” (literally “be free of intoxicants”) and not to be like “those who get drunk” (literally “those becoming drunk”).
You start getting drunk when you start drinking intoxicating beverages (cf. Genesis 9:21). Drunkenness is a matter of degree. God does not want us a lot drunk, nor does He want us a little drunk. He does not want us to even start getting drunk.
This is the reason why the Bible clearly warns us not to drink alcoholic beverages. Proverbs 20:1 tells us that “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Why would anyone want to have anything to do with a mocker or a brawler? Proverbs 23:29-35 expounds further saying in part, “Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper.” It is a dangerous, deadly, poisonous venom. Don’t even think about coming near it. King Lemuel’s mother warned him against drinking wine and intoxicating drink (Proverbs 31:1-5). We need more mothers like that. Isaiah 5:22 pronounces “Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink.” You must have a lot of “dumb courage” to do something so foolish (cf. Habakkuk 2:15-16). These verses clearly teach us to stay away from intoxicating drinks altogether.
Everyone needs to seriously consider the awful consequences of drinking. It affects your thinking and your motor skills, resulting in all kinds of problems including foolishness, disease, crime, poverty and death. It leads to poor decisions, poor grades, poor work performance. It may cause you to say and do things you would not normally say and do, causing grave harm to you, others and your relationships. It can increase your risk of stroke, liver disease, and several types of cancer, and it can impair your immune system. Ultimately, it affects your influence upon others for Christ and your relationship with God now and in eternity (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33).
Personally, I have seen what intoxicating drink has done to people and I don’t want to have anything to do with it. More importantly I believe this is what the Bible teaches us about it. God help us all to be like those “fair-minded” Bereans who “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135