Can Christians drink alcohol?
Quick Answer: Can Christians drink alcohol? The Biblical perspective on alcohol is found in Ephesians 5:18: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Believers are free to drink alcohol, always being wise and avoiding drunkenness.
Diving Deeper: In Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul isn’t forbidding alcohol. He’s saying not to be addicted to it. Big difference!
Remember that Jesus drank wine. He turned water into wine, the best wine the people had ever had (John 2:1-11). Wine was also served at the Last Supper. Alcohol is not the issue. The issue is addiction. It is not healthy for us to be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Some have claimed that wine two thousand years ago was non-alcoholic or very low in alcohol content. However, the history of wine making does not support this claim, and the simple fact that Paul warns “Do not be drunk with wine” (Ephesians 5:18) proves that wine contained alcohol and an amount capable of getting people drunk.
In Ephesians 5, Paul offers an alternative to getting drunk: being filled with the Spirit. What do these two things have in common? In Ephesians 3, we find the answer: Getting to know the gigantic love of God is what it means to be “filled.” Then two chapters later, Paul is saying if we are motivated by the love of Jesus, we won’t want or need to be controlled by a liquid or any other substance.
Why do people drink too much? They’re trying to relax; they’re trying to find a sense of peace. What does the love of God do for you? It relaxes you. It gives you a sense of peace. Paul is saying to take refuge in the love of Christ. Don’t try to find solace in alcohol. As a child of God, you don’t really want to be addicted to or controlled by anything except the love of Jesus.
So, we are free to drink alcohol, but if there has been a struggle with addiction in the past, it’s likely a good idea to avoid it altogether. Scripture doesn’t say not to drink; it only says don’t be drunk. But if you have a drinking problem, the Holy Spirit within you may counsel you away from drinking. Total avoidance could be the wisest choice for someone with a history of addiction.
Freedom to drink is certainly Biblical, but addiction in the name of freedom is not real freedom. The bottom line is that Christians have liberty to enjoy alcohol and give thanks for it. But, like so many of God’s blessings, it too can be abused.
Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. Do you drink alcohol? Why or why not?
2. React to this statement: Alcohol can sometimes be a poor substitute for the love of God.
3. React to Paul’s words: “All things are permitted for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12b).
4. How do both freedom and wisdom play into the issue of alcohol?