Questions: Does the Bible condemn moderate drinking?

    Answer: By "drinking" it is assumed liquids containing alcohol are meant, such as whisky, wine, beer, etc. Of course, different definitions are offered for "moderate". It is good that we are concerned with what the Bible teaches. The Bible is God's express will which must be obeyed (John 12: 48, 2 John 9-11).

   Some contend the Bible actually endorses moderate drinking. Jesus' first miracle is often cited as proof. "Jesus made wine for the people to drink," we are told, "therefore, drinking wine...is not wrong!" Some contend that not only did Jesus make intoxicating wine, but he himself was a winebibber. Beloved, there are basically three Hebrew words and one Greek word rendered wine in the Bible. The word oinos is found in connection with Jesus' first miracle (John 2: 1-11). Oinos is found 33 times in the Greek New Testament. Oinos itself may mean either fermented (containing alcohol) or unfermented drink (grape juice). We know that oinos in John 2 is unfermented because the guests were "well drunk" before Jesus made additional oinos for them (John 2: 10). The Bible obviously condemns drunkenness (Eph. 5:18).

    The scriptures teach the avoidance of intoxicating drink. The Bible recognizes the proper controlled, medicinal use of alcohol (1 Tim. 5: 23), but drinking intoxicating drinks for the sake of drunkenness or social conformity, even in moderation, is forbidden. The Christian is to "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thes. 5: 22). Indeed, strong drink is condemned (Prov. 23: 29-35). Drunkenness is described in the text (vss. 29, 33-35). The consequent admonition is given, "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright" (Prov. 23:31). In other words, stay away from it altogether! One will never regret the avoidance of strong drink.

Close Window