Alcohol Drinking Is Not Good For Our Lives
This is one of the most common heated debates inside Christian communities. This is because there are many Christians who still drink alcoholic beverages even after several years of being a Christian.
The main issues raised were the following:
- Is alcohol drinking forbidden in the Bible?
- Is alcohol drinking an immoral practice?
- Is alcohol drinking encouraged in the Bible?
- Moderate drinking is a healthy practice as long as you do not get drunk.
Many of those Christians who used to drink uses the following issues above to defend that alcohol drinking is completely allowable and it is only “us” who forbid it to do. Plus quoting the incident in the wedding of Cana where Jesus turned water into wine.
But why is it that many Evangelical Churches forbid or at least impose a “no alcohol drinking” policy among its members?
Now, let’s go to the main discussion of the issues raised.
Is Alcohol Drinking Forbidden In The Bible?
The answer of course is no. The fact is, most people in the Bible drink at least a wine coming from grapes. One thing is clear about the limitations in drinking, and it is found in Ephesians 5:18. “Do not get drunk.” This is why most Christians that still drink alcoholic beverages hold this very strongly. As long as they don’t get drunk.
Is Alcohol Drinking An Immoral Practice?
The answer is still no. The Bible never say that alcohol drinking is an immoral practice. And there is no way that we can prove that drinking alcohol is an immoral act.
Is alcohol encouraged in the Bible?
The only passages that seems to be encouraging people to drink alcohol are the following:
Proverbs 31:6-7 – “6 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”
1 Timothy 5:23 – ”23Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”
I do not know of anymore passages that encourages drinking wine aside from the passages that I mentioned. If you do, please let me know and I would gladly edit this work.
Moderate Drinking Is A Healthy Habit
As I said, most Christians that drink alcohol do not forget this reason. They always quote doctors who say that it is a healthy habit. Wine and dark beers contain anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories which is good for our body.
Answering the Issue of Alcoholism And Drinking Moderately
Alcohol Drinking in the Bible is not prohibited, yet not encouraged. Even though the Bible did not explicitly say that it prohibit believers to drink alcohol, the Bible obviously did not encouraged it as well. What was wrong was, many Christians just stopped to one side of the issue to satisfy their desire to drink.
The Bible never encouraged people to drink alcohol. Furthermore, the Bible tells us about evil things resulted from getting drunk with wine. In the book of Genesis alone, we can see there several stories that resulted to sin due to drinking alcohol. A couple of example was one of the sons of Noah was cursed due to the negligence of Noah of getting drunk and sleeping naked. The daughters of Lot committed incest due to the negligence of Lot in getting drunk.
The second issue has been partially answered as well. However, to make it clearer, drinking alcohol is not forbidden nor an immoral act, but it can definitely lead a person who get drunk to sin and which can also lead other people to sin.
Please note what I have said, “seems to be encouraging”. This is because to get the real meaning of the passages, we need to look at the main context of these passages.
Proverbs 31 seems to be encouraging people to drink. However, looking at the passage carefully tells us that beer is to be given to those who are perishing and those who are in anguish. This is for the purpose to forget their poverty and miseries. This simply means that there is a deeper reason for drinking. To forget the anguish and their misery.
Another thing is that, the teacher in the book of Proverbs is only concern for the temporary solution for the great anguish the person suffering. Let’s accept it, drinking alcohol cannot and will not solve the problems. It can only help us to forget the problem at least for a while. But when you wake up the next morning, the problem is still there.
1 Timothy 23 is also with a reason. Please note how Paul said it, “…and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” The thing is, there is a purpose why Paul encourages Timothy to drink wine (please also note “little”). It is mainly for health benefit of Timothy who probably is experiencing some kind of stomach problem. Mac Arthur’s study Bible explained that wine is used to kill harmful microbes in the stomach and since water is very limited in the desert.
In the book of 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, we can see there that Paul answered the issue of eating food sacrificed to idols. I already made an exegesis about this issue entitled “Biblical Teachings About Food Sacrificed To Idols”
In the article above, I explained why Christians should abstain from eating food sacrificed to idols. I strongly believe that alchohol drinking is very much related about this issue. Using the same reasons and the same principles, I strongly believe that abstaining from alcoholic beverages would do much better in our Christian lives than partaking it.
Can We Really Have Health Benefits From Drinking Alcohol?
I would say that this is one of the most abused reasons in justifying alcohol drinking. Yes, there are FEW health benefits of alcohol drinking since we have to remember that alcohol are disinfectant. Just like how Paul encouraged Timothy to drink a “little” wine.
Doctors says that wine and dark beer contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory.
“The benefits related to cardiovascular health have become well-known. A study released in mid-July, for instance, found that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in women by increasing the amount of “good” cholesterol in the bloodstream and reducing blood sugar levels.
But other studies have linked a daily drink, most often wine, to reduced risk of dementia, bone loss and physical disabilities related to old age. Wine also has been found to increase life expectancy and provide potential protection against some forms of cancer, including esophageal cancer and lymphoma.” – Dennis Thompson.
While many Christians who still drink alcohol continuously quoting the health benefits of alcohol, experts with the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association says that health risks FAR out weighs its rewards even in moderate drinking.
As they explain, most of the health benefits (if not all) that you can get from drinking alcohol can be taken from eating fruits and vegetables which also have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. For example, the “resveratrol” which you can get from red wine is also the same element that you can get from drinking grape juice.
You can get more information about the health issues of wine in this article: “Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not”
The Bible is really vagued in the issue of alcoholic beverages. It does not prohibit believers to partake it. However, we can see that the Bible never say that it is good and produces a lot of benefit for our spiritual lives. In fact, the Bible say lots of evil things that can happen due to alcoholism. Not to mention that we have to consider other Christians who chose to abstain.
Concerning health issues, I think it is very clear that it is only a pure justification and is not really necessary since you can get all these benefits from eating healthy foods. Again, drinking alcohol even moderately, FAR OUT WEIGHS the risks than the benefits that you can get from it.
So the issue then is not all about the health benefits, its all about avoiding our fellow believers to sin, keeping an above reproach testimony, and avoiding to compromise with the world.