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Why is drinking alcohol wrong?

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Why is drinking alcohol wrong? Arenít there examples in the Bible of the disciples drinking wine? Jesusí first miracle was even about making wine.


Steve Answers:

 What in the world makes you think that drinking alcohol is wrong? You mentioned in your question that there are examples in the Bible of the disciples drinking wine and that Jesus’ first miracle was creating wine! There are other examples, too.

Let’s start with the ones you mentioned. In John 2:1-11 you’ll find the story of Jesus turning the water into wine (at his mother’s request!). Weddings in those days lasted several days, so you can imagine how much drinking went on!
 
And don’t miss reading Luke 7:34. In this passage Jesus responds to the religious leaders who had already rejected John the Baptist and who were now rejecting Him. He said: “I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners!’” (NLT).* What are you going to do with that verse?
 
There’s not much else in the Gospels, except that Jesus made this analogy with wine and wineskins: “No one puts new wine into old wineskins. The wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine needs new wineskins” (Mark 2:22, NLT). I’m not sure if that’s more about wine (and “new wine”) or about the wineskins.
 
But Paul told Timothy: “Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often” (1 Timothy 5:23, NLT). And the disciples were mocked by others who accused them of being drunk on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:13). What does that tell you?
 
Perhaps the ultimate use of wine by Jesus was during His last supper on earth, and we continue to celebrate it as Christians. Mark’s record of it goes like this: “He [Jesus] took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them [the disciples], and they all drank from it. And he said to them, ‘This is my blood, poured out for many, sealing the covenant between God and his people. I solemnly declare that I will not drink wine again until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God’” (Mark 14:23-25, NLT).
 
Is it clear to you now that there is no reason why drinking alcohol is wrong? If you still have questions, or you think the previous statement is wrong, talk about it with someone! And, you can read on and consider the rest of my response to your question.
 
I find it interesting that so many people who have nothing to do with God or religion are opposed to drinking alcohol. Often this happens after a friend or loved one has been killed or maimed for life because of the use of alcohol.
One common example is drunk driving. Another is violence that isn’t held in check when alcohol has “released” people from their inhibitions. And then there are the various unwelcomed consequences of sex after alcohol has weakened previous decisions to purity.  
 
Most people in my country (the United States) can name a friend or relative who has suffered greatly because of the use of alcohol. You can probably think of someone (or several) you know who’ve had to deal with some terribly negative results of using alcohol. This is why I’m not surprised that so many people are opposed to alcohol, even without a foundation of God as their starting point.
 
Now, in case you’re thinking that I proved that the Bible is in favor of drinking alcohol, let me just point out to you that the word “wine” in the Bible simply means juice from grapes. It can be fermented or unfermented. That might make a difference in your understanding when you read various texts that seem confusing. The biblical word “wine” (fresh grape juice or fermented grape juice) isn’t the same as the English word “wine” (fermented/with alcohol).
 
In Mark 14:23-25 Jesus said He’s waiting to drink wine with those who make it to heaven. Now, do you really think that we’ll all be getting drunk in heaven? How can you even get alcohol in heaven, when alcohol is decaying, spoiled grape juice? How can things get rotten in a place where nothing decays?
 
I know what a drunk human on earth looks like. I can’t imagine God being drunk, nor anyone else in heaven being drunk. Can you? Can you imagine an outreach ministry to the people who are drunk in heaven? How about a separate planet for people to detox or sober up? What about a 12-step program where people need to come to the realization that they now need a higher power?
 
If you’d like to read a few verses about alcohol from the Bible that I left out earlier, check out these:
• Deuteronomy 21:18-21
• Proverbs 23:19-21
• Proverbs 26:9
• Habakkuk 2:15
• Matthew 24:45-51
• Luke 12:42-46
• Luke 21:34-36
• Romans 13:12-14
• 1 Corinthians 5:11
• 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
• Galatians 5:19-21
• 1 Thessalonians 5:7-9
 
And how about this very simple one in Proverbs 20:1: “Wine produces mockers; liquor leads to brawls. Whoever is led astray by drink cannot be wise” (NLT).
 
Think for a moment about answers to the following questions: How does drinking alcohol fit in with God’s ideal for you? How does it help save others? These are reasonable questions that should be answered before taking the first sip of alcohol. 
 
In the meantime, the Bible, common sense, and observing others all show me that I’m much better off without alcohol. And so are you! 
 
*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.


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