What does God say about wine?

Does the Bible, either directly, or by implication, condemn the use of wine (or other beverages which contain alcohol)?  As we have seen, sin lies not in things, but in the actions of God’s creatures.

What does the Bible tell us about how God views wine?  First, the Word of God consistently condemns drunkenness.  The use of wine to excess, becoming intoxicated, is sin.  Proverbs 23:29-31 (ESV) is clear:
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.
See also Habakkuk 2:15.

The New Testament is equally clear: 1 Corinthians 5:11, 6:10; and Ephesians 5:18. As Galatians 5:21makes clear, drunkenness is listed among practices against which the Apostle warns, “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  This is not to deny that addictions are medical problems which have a broad impact on the abuser’s life.  Yet, whatever the medical, genetic, and physical aspects that abuse has, God’s people are still responsible before him for their choices.

As Christians and as the church we need to take very seriously these warnings.  We live in a culture that tolerates and even encourages the abuse of alcohol.  As people of God, we are to be filled with the Spirit instead.

Next: does the Bible say anything good about wine?

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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