What Does the Bible Say about Drinking Alcohol?

The law is clear. The national drinking age is 21. Some states make special arrangements for minors to consume alcohol if they are supervised by a parent or guardian. Legally then, young adults may drink if they are supervised.

The Bible also speaks about alcohol. Some verses seem to indicate that drinking is wrong. Some make it seem normal. What exactly does the Bible say about alcohol? And, as parents, how should we approach this topic with our kids?

Here are some Bible verses that address alcohol consumption.

  • Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:7
  • Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 1 Timothy 5:23
  • Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best til now.” This, the first of the his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. John 2:9-11

Wine (and beer) are mentioned various times in the Bible. For the Israelites and the people of those times, consuming these types of drink were a part of life, and it was not considered taboo. King Solomon writes that wine cheers the heart. The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to drink some wine for medicinal purposes. And Jesus miraculously provided the wedding guests with more wine (not to mention that it was fine tasting) when the supply had run out. Drink, like food, is a gift from God that is meant to be enjoyed.

That being said, the Bible very clearly speaks out against drunkenness.

  • Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
  • Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. Proverbs 20:1
  • Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Romans 13:13

Drinking alcohol is not a sin, but getting drunk and being led astray by alcohol is very clearly spoken against. It is not wise.

We can confidently – even joyfully – choose to drink alcohol as long as we are not led to drunkenness. We may choose to allow our children to try a drink or two. Allowing our children to drink alcohol is a personal parenting decision. The Bible does not speak against drinking wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages. However, the Bible does talk about respecting authority and the laws of the governing body that have been set over us.

  • Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1

This means that national and local laws must still be followed. We may choose to drink, and we may allow our children to drink (as we deem appropriate), but we must still adhere to authoritative laws concerning alcohol consumption.

The Bible makes it clear that drinking alcohol is not wrong, but that drunkenness is. By following these guidelines and obeying the ruling authority, we as parents have everything we need to teach our children about alcohol consumption.