Is it a Sin For a Christian to Drink Alcohol Ror Non-Medicinal Purposes?
by Nathan Battey
Though the Bible does not us the words “Thou shalt not!” in connection with drinking alcohol, it does teach both explicitly and implicitly that it is wrong -as in a sin -for a Christian to drink alcohol for non-medicinal purposes. The following are the two strongest prohibitions the Bible offers against Christians drinking alcohol for pleasure.
2- In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul teaches, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul unequivocally forbids drunkenness and in doing so warns that Christians who engage in it will “not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Some Christians claim it is possible to drink alcohol without getting drunk, but the Bible does not so teach. Consider Paul’s statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8, “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” Paul admonishes Christians to remain sober twice in the passage, and illustrates what he means by contrasting sobriety with “those who get drunk are drunk.” The phrase “get drunk” comes from the single Greek verb “methyskomenoi.” Not only is “methyskomenoi” a verb, it is an inceptive verb; this means that the action under consideration (drunkenness) is a process being spoken of from its very inception (beginning). Paul is stating that drunkenness is a process that begins with the very first drink. In other words, one does not arrive at a state of drunkenness after 15 drinks; one is drunk when he or she takes the first drink.
When Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 are combined the following syllogism is derived:
Major Premise: Drunkenness will keep you out of heaven.
Minor Premise: Getting drunk (the process from the very beginning – i.e. drinking any alcohol) is the same as being drunk.
Conclusion: Getting drunk (drinking any alcohol) will keep you out of heaven.
In conclusion, Christians are not only commanded to be sober (free of intoxicants) they are also to refrain from getting drunk (drinking any alcohol) both publicly and privately. May the Lord’s people be a sober people who meditate day and night on His Word.
Next up, Is Gluttony Parallel to Drunkenness?
And, Does Romans 14 Authorize Christians To Drink Alcohol For Non-Medicinal Purposes?
Vine, W. E, Merrill F. Unger, William White Jr. Vine’s Complete Expositor’s Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville: Nelson, 1984. p.583.