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Alcohol, Even in Moderation, is a Sin

Updated on December 4, 2014
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Alcohol, Even in Moderation, is a Sin

This hub is a biblical examination on whether or not alcohol, even in moderation, for recreational or health purposes, is a sin. I will discuss what the Bible says about alcohol, drinking alcohol in moderation, Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding feast in the New Testament, the dangers that drinking alcohol possesses on our relationship with God, and Jesus' example in the matter. I am going to start with a scripture. Proverbs 23:29-35, KJV:

Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

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In Moderation

There are those who say that wine or alcohol in moderation is acceptable to God. Yet, the Bible tells us not even to "look" at it. "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, ..." says the Word. This is the look of consideration. Therefore, we should not even consider drinking any alcohol.

Why doesn't God want us to drink alcohol? Because doing so leads to various physical and mental problems, as is outlined in the opening scripture of this hub. Yet, some say, "I drink in moderation. I don't drink to get drunk." What they're actually saying is, "I'm just sinning a little bit; so I'm sure God will overlook that."

That's really what it comes down to. Alcohol is a drug that affects sobriety and damages the organs of the body. It is even said to be one of the most harmful drugs because of the impact it has on our organs. For example, tobacco targets mainly the lungs; but alcohol affects every major organ.

With that in mind, remember that the Bible tells us that we are responsible for keeping our body in good health. 1 Corinthians 3:17 tells us, "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." Drinking alcohol, even in moderation, is defiling ourselves; because alcohol is a poison.

Some people argue that if we drink alcohol in moderation then that's somehow supposed to be healthy. However, common sense should tell us that if we drink less poison then we are just poisoning ourselves less; but we are poisoning ourselves, nonetheless. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

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Grape Juice

There's also the argument about Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding feast in the New Testament. This wine was not alcoholic. The Bible uses the word "wine" like Americans use the word "cider". It can either be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. What determines whether or not it is alcoholic in the Bible is the context (you never actually find the term "grape juice" in the Bible).

Non- alcoholic wine (grape juice, essentially) is blessed by the Bible: "Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all." - Isaiah 65:8. Notice how this wine is described as "new wine...found in the cluster". This is definitely grape juice, because you don't find alcohol in a cluster of grapes.

With that being said, the wine that Jesus made from water must have been grape juice, because He obviously wouldn't make something to cause His apostles and other wedding guests to defile themselves and sin.

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Dangers of Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol quickly impairs judgment. "One drink can impair one's judgement .... Judgment is the first thing affected when someone has been drinking."1 This is important because 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour". Therefore, even if we have one drink of alcohol, we are already affecting our sobriety and violating the Word of God, whether we know it or not. This is a scientific fact.

Why is it important to remain sober at all times? Proverbs 31:4-5 has the answer: "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted." Drinking alcohol affects our spirituality. It will lead us to "forget the law". The Law is a term used to mean the Word of God and / or His Commandments.

The devil knows how alcohol will affect our spirituality. He is also aware that most Christians will never accept an explanation that all out drinking liquor is safe because the Bible is clear that it is not. Therefore, he works to slowly erode our relationship with God by getting us to believe that drinking in moderation is acceptable. Don't fall for it. It's a trap!

What Would Jesus do?

"And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not." - Mark 15:23. Jesus, even during His crucifixion, refused to drink wine. He is our example in all things when it comes to godly living. So if you have any doubts on whether or not you should drink alcohol, even in moderation, for recreational or health purposes; just follow the example of Jesus. It's best to leave alcohol alone.

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The Bible condemns drinking alcohol in any amount. To say that drinking alcohol in moderation is somehow healthy is absurd, because alcohol is a poison. The wine that Jesus turned the water into at the wedding feast was actually grape juice. Drinking alcohol in any amount jeopardizes our relationship with God; and Jesus left us an example to leave alcohol alone.

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Scriptural reasons for the importance of obeying the Ten Commandments

Sources

1. "A Glass of Wine: Myths About Alcohol." N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2013. <http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall05/garcia/myths.html>.

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    • Rosualdo Ponce profile image

      Rosualdo Ponce 2 years ago from Gawad Kalinga Village Ticad, Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines

      I liked your stand on alcoholism because I'm a former alcoholic. But to say drinking alcoholic beverages is a sin, then Jesus fall on this sin. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:7). You have to focus on the effects and slavery that will lead to sin when alcohol will be a master of man instead of God.

    • profile image

      Rad Man 2 years ago

      LOL, everyone was panicking because they only had water and wanted grape juice for the wedding???? LOL.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Johan Smulders Why are we considering anyting of the OT here? Are Christians not supposed to go by the words and life of Jesus, whom is in the NT? Jesus made wine for the wedding at Canaan, su why would he make it and then tell everyone not to drink it? That makes no sense.

    • profile image

      Rad Man 2 years ago

      Grapes are seasonal, people back then made wine from grapes because it's easy to make and preserve. Who would break bread with grape juice. It says wine even when they spoke of grapes because that was what grapes was used for.

      That being said if one has a problem controlling the amount they drink they should stay clear, but there is no need to attempt to make others feel guilty because you can't hold your wine.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Consumption of alcohol shouldn't be a problem for any persons if in moderation anything in life if abuse will be harmful

    • X-Con profile image
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      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      Johan Smulders - Good point. Thank you for commenting.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Interresting arguements about wine but the whole subject needs to be seen in the context of all Scripture. What about Prov 31:6, Jer 48:33, Ecl 9:2;10:19 and 1 Tim 5:23? I am not arguing that Christians should drink but our interpretation of Scripture needs to be balanced else people may reject what we say. Choice to do do anything needs to be considered carefully and prayerfully.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

      Matthew 11:18-19, NIV (Jesus quoted)

      For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a demon." The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Here is a glutton and a drunkard ..."

      There is no way to read it but that Jesus Himself enjoyed drinking alcoholic beverages. That should put this false argument to rest.

    • Disappearinghead profile image

      Disappearinghead 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Nice to see that you used the words of 1 Corinthians 3 from the faulty 17th century politically motivated King James to support your case. Using a literal word for word translation and your argument falls apart.

    • Disappearinghead profile image

      Disappearinghead 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Mm how about a simple test. Compare a nice bottle of Chianti to a carton of grape juice. One is pale garnet in colour, fresh, soft summer red cage fruit nose with notes of clove and spice. Facile, fluid, open, bright, gentle, with a coolness. Enjoy, along with roast chicken or chicken salad. The other tastes of nothing other than sugary grapes. Now which one do you think the host of the wedding in Cana would be saying was the best wine he'd ever tasted?

      Simply put, non alcoholic wine or grape juice is empty, bland, has no nose or character, and it is impossible to replicate the flavours, aroma and viscosity of real alcoholic wine. If Jesus' miracle wine was better than real wine, what do you suppose he substituted for the alcohol as you cannot mask its absence? Don't you think that producing 'wine' that was pretending to be something that it is not is dishonest?

      I also notice that you failed yo provide any scripture that condemns drinking alcohol as a sin. Looks like e bible does not agree with you. Ho hum.

    • X-Con profile image
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      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      Tamarajo - Wise words, my friend.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      I also did not comment because I am some kind of Alcoholic. I don't drink at all and that isn't a justification.

      Tamarajo , You can't see Jesus doing all that because you were told that he is some kind of perfect individual, which is not true either. Like I said Jesus turned that water into WINE and served it to the guests at the wedding in Canaan. Go read your Bible. Oh and Paul and Jesus did NOT get along nor did they know each other and they both had differing views.

      You are correct Attikos some have a lack of facts and some canot read their own Bibles.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

      That is not universally true. A great many people drink wine with dinner, for example, because it's a condiment that enhances the flavor of foods, not in order to get drunk. A great many more have a cocktail in the evening not to get drunk but because they find it conducive to relaxation following a long work day.

      There is more than one factually false assumption being used to justify logically false conclusions in this thread. The lack of good reasoning is astounding.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 4 years ago

      There certainly is more negative commentary in the Bible on alcohol then positive and definitely many more adversely affected lives biblically, historically, and presently to showcase this.

      I hear many Christians justify drinking in moderation and not drinking to get drunk. Truth is when people drink alcohol they do so for the sensation they get from it. If this were not so then O'douls would be a more popular beverage choice and grape juice would be chosen over wine and I can't imagine anyone drinks hard liquor because it tastes so good. Bottom line is people drink to get drunk the only difference is the varying degrees of drunkenness which can range from mildly tipsy to totally inebriated.

      So what is moderation? One? Two? Three? is it a personal decision based upon sensation or how many ounces? At what point can one say they are "buzzed", "drunk", or wasted? A lot of highly subjective reasoning is required to answer any of these questions which leads for a vast wide open space for self-justification to which we are all experts at.

      Best bet is this. If this is truly no big deal for those who claim drinking is no big deal then just don't do it. Shouldn't be a big deal do not do it then. Such a decision will reveal how big of a deal it really is. There are plenty of other beverage options out there one can be positively sure won't adversely affect judgement or behavior in anyway shape or form to any degree.

      I just can't picture Jesus and His disciples after a long hard day of serving people cracking open a cold one, breaking open the bottle of wine, or bellying up to the bar telling themselves how much they deserved this for all their hard days work.

      The world will do these things and we aren't to judge them for it but Christians really need to take a good hard look at how whatever we do appears to the unbelieving. We are to avoid even the appearance of evil

      Paul even claims that even if we could justify certain things doesn't mean that they are good ideas especially if they cause others to stumble. What if casual drinking for one person leads to someone else who is highly addicted stumbling into addiction? Are we are brothers keeper? Yes!

      Why not just "come out from among them" as the Bible suggests and be different than the culture that surrounds us.

      Sorry for the long reply...Your article was thought provoking and I wanted to support it.

    • SwordofManticorE profile image

      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      As a Christian, I have only one thing to say to such legislation in one of the many confusing denominations out of the thousands of confused denominations.

      "I'll drink to that, and i'll have another"!!!

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

      It appears some people want us to be, though.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      You can blow out your liver from drinking too much carrot juice. If Jesus made water into wine, it must be OK. In fact, He made the statement that John the Baptist was condemned for being a teetotaler, yet He was called a glutton because He enjoyed an occasional glass of wine. So with those judgmental Pharisees, there was no winning. Thank goodness we're not under their law!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      Then Jesus did sin at the wedding in Canaan when he made the water into wine and served it to all the guests. Wine was a popular drink in biblical days because there was no such thing as a refrigerator to keep things from fermenting. If you read up on how to make wine it is very simple and very fast and and does not require cooling the liquid down. Wine can be made of anything from Apple Juice to grapes and other fruits. Who is feeding this stuff to you all and why?

    • Disappearinghead profile image

      Disappearinghead 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      But I do walk in the Spirit X-Con and he told me plainly that drinking alcohol is not a sin.

    • X-Con profile image
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      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      krillco - Thank you for sharing your opinion in a respectful manner, even if it disagrees with mine. I appreciate it. God bless you.

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      Disappearinghead - God didn't actually didn't give us wine and beer. Wine and beer are produced from fermentation which is a result of rotting fruit and other elements. There was no rotting fruit in the garden of Eden, in His perfect creation. Unfortunately, you have been complacent in your sins. I hope for your sake, you realize that you are grieving the Holy Spirit and compromising your salvation to drink alcohol and poison yourself.

      And about that text that there is no condemnation for those in Christ, it actually reds: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." - Romans 8:1. "In Christ" and "after the Spririt" mean following the example of Christ and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit, which you are not doing if you are drinking alcohol. So there IS condemnation for you, brother. Sorry to say. Because you are not following Jesus' example and obeying God's leading. Think about that. Really.

    • krillco profile image

      William E Krill Jr 4 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      While I respectfully disagree with you, X-Con, I admire your ministry in this area. For me and my theology, God gave us every good thing on the earth, to use wisely. That some use alcohol or other substances (including food) unwisely is not about the substance, but about the sin; the sin being in the behavior, not the substance. Look at Peter on the roof in Acts, and his vision from God that everything is 'clean' to consume. Bless your work, brother.

    • Disappearinghead profile image

      Disappearinghead 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      There is no condemnation for those in Christ, and I drink beer, wine, vodka, whatever takes my fancy and all in complete freedom of conscience before my Lord. If you choose to believe it is a sin to drink, then for you it is a sin, but do not think you can convince others who drink freely with a clear conscience.

      God gave us wine and beer because he wanted us to be happy. Please remind me never to come to a joyless teetotal dinner at your house.

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      North Wind - Good point, my sister. I'd like ton think there's a reason why alcohol is called spirits. Because it weakens your mind to the point that evil spirits are enabled to possess you. As always, thank you for your comment, and God bless you!

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi X-con,

      This is a topic that always causes debate because some think that drinking in moderation is OK while others think that drinking should not be.

      I wrote a hub about this some time back discussing the fact that people argue that Jesus drank wine and the fact that He turned water to wine at the wedding in Cana.

      I personally think that to drink alcohol is to impair the mind and to introduce a force from the outside that can lead to sin. That is why I do not think that 'spirits' (as some people call it) mixes well with the Holy Spirit.

    • X-Con profile image
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      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      lifegate - You're welcome, brother. And thank you for stopping by and commenting!

    • X-Con profile image
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      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      Bibowen - Thank you. God bless you!

    • X-Con profile image
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      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      Attikos - The Bible means exactly what it says when it mentions wine? Then how do you explain Isaiah 65:8? Where it talks about the wine in the grape. That's grape juice, brother. Sorry to break it to you. And if you believe that the Bible means wine every time it mentions the word, there is a whole lot of drunkeness throughout the Bible. There are many instances where people are mentioned eating bread and drinking wine, and so on. And they did posess technology to preserve grape juice beyond harvest time. They dried it into a paste. When they needed to drink it they would then reconstitute it. Thank you for commenting, and God bless you.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for the clarification on a subject that so many people try to justify. God's Word is clear for those who want to see the truth.

    • Bibowen profile image

      Bibowen 4 years ago

      Interesting and persuasive. Voted up.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

      The history here is imaginary. Wine as we still use the term was normal in ancient times. The Bible does not mean grape juice when it refers to it, it means exactly what it says. They did not possess Pasteurization, bottling or freezing technologies, and so fruit juices were fermented in order to preserve them beyond harvest time. They had no water treatment plants, either, and so everyone used alcohol to make the otherwise sickening drinking water potable. That was a practice that continued throughout the world, including the area the Romans called Palestine, right up until the twentieth century. It still is done in many places. What the Bible warns against is excessive drinking. It does not envision teetotaling. That would have been a ridiculous suggestion to all the Jews , along with all others, in the first century.