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Can Christians drink alcohol?

Having a beer at the lake or grabbing happy hour drinks with some friends?

Depending on your family or church background, you probably reacted differently to that question. Rather than try to convince each other whose opinion on alcohol is right, we can take it up with God.

What The Bible Says About Beer, Wine, and Strong Drink

  • Avoid alcohol when it clouds our judgment and causes us to treat others poorly (Proverbs 31:4-7).
  • Like anything else when abused, alcohol has the potential to lead us into sin (Proverbs 23:29-35).
  • It's OK to drink in moderation (1 Timothy 5:23).
  • Church leaders are free to drink in moderation, as long as it's not feeding an addiction that would distract them from serving (1 Timothy 3:8).
  • Flaunting our freedom to intentionally offend others is contrary to the kind of selfless love to which God calls us (Romans 14:1-23, 1 Corinthians 10:23-33).
  • Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding reception (John 2:1-11). 

Does the Bible forbid alcohol? No.

Should you drink alcohol? Depends.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. If you can drink in moderation and not make foolish choices, cheers (Proverbs 20:1). But the Bible firmly instructs, “Do not get drunk on wine” (Ephesians 5:18). God’s best for us doesn’t include drunkenness or compromised judgment (Galatians 5:19-21).

We’re at our best when we’re led by the Holy Spirit, not by other influences—whether alcohol, drugs, pride, hate, or anything else.

To Drink or Not To Drink

For those under the legal drinking age, recognize the authorities over you: your parents, state law, whether it allows you to imbibe with your parents, and how you can best honor God’s ultimate authority (Colossians 3:20, Romans 13:1).

For alcoholics or those with an addictive personality, wisdom cautions us to avoid alcohol and situations in which it would be easy to compromise. And, if you're spending time with someone who struggles with addiction, avoid putting temptation in their path (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

If you’re ever unsure whether to drink or not to drink, ask God what the best choice is. Know yourself, know your limits, and know what God wants for you.

Know yourself, know your limits, and know what God wants for you.

The problem occurs when we decide something for ourselves and force it upon others. That’s called legalism, and Jesus came to set us free from those kinds of self-righteous rules and the sins they’re a reaction against (Galatians 5:1).

If you drink responsibly and are bad-mouthed for it, you’re in good company. Jesus was called a drunkard and a glutton because He used meals and parties to connect with people around Him (Matthew 11:19). Perhaps one of the godliest things we can do is befriend people who seem far from God and listen to their story rather than picking apart their behavior.

 

If you’re struggling with alcohol or with judging people who drink, we want to help. Stop by the Care Room and talk to staff or volunteers after a service at your NewSpring campus or email hello@newspring.cc.

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