A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking -- By: Norman L. Geisler

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 139:553 (Jan 1982)
Article: A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking
Author: Norman L. Geisler


A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking

Norman L. Geisler

[Norman L. Geisler, Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary]

The Bible makes it clear that God wants people to enjoy food and drink. For example. Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “Go then, eat your bread in happiness, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved of your works.” God is not a cosmic killjoy nor a heavenly Scrooge, for He “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim 6:17). But does this mean that Christians can drink alcoholic beverages for enjoyment? Precisely at {sic} does the Bible say about the use of wine and the drinking of wine today?

What The Bible Teaches About Wine-Drinking

The Bible says several things about the use of wine.

Drunkenness Is a Sin

Wine in the Bible was not to be used excessively, and one was not to become drunk with the fruit of the vine. In the Old Testament a drunkard was put to death (Deut 21:20–21). Drunkenness was considered to be such an incorrigible sin that capital punishment was used for it as well as for murder, rape, blasphemy of parents, etc.

The Old Testament, it should be remembered, was a system of law. Christians are under grace, not law. But in both the Old and New Testaments God indicates that He hates drunkenness. According to 1 Corinthians 5:11, Christians are to separate

themselves from a person who claims to be a Christian but who is a drunkard. Drunkards “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9–10), nor will homosexuals or other kinds of sinners. Practicing homosexuals and drunkards do not inherit the kingdom of God. Obviously God hates drunkenness. Paul also wrote in Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk with wine.” And drunkenness is listed in Galatians 5:19–21 among “the deeds of the flesh.

Strong Drink Is Deceptive and Sinful

The Bible says much about strong drink. For example, the priests were to avoid strong drink (Lev 10:8–9). And Solomon wrote, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler” (Prov 20:1). God is opposed to someone using strong drink because it brings deception and turbulence into his life. Rulers should not take strong drink, for it distorts their ab...

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