Summary: A two-part discussion study. Part 1 deals with drunkenness and activities that often accompany alcohol and alcohol abuse. Part 2 deals with whether Christians should drink at all.
What Does the Bible Teach About…Alcohol? (Parts 1 & 2)
To Drink or Not to Drink – Part 1
NOTE: Q. = A discussion question / A = possible or suggested answers or responses
TEXT: Ask for volunteers to read the following scriptures when called upon to do so:
Q: Why do people you know drink alcohol?
Q. What are things that people have done while they are drunk that they’ve regretted?
Today we want to look at three issues:
1) What does the Bible say about getting drunk?
2) What does the Bible say about alcohol-related activities?
3) Should you drink alcohol?
I. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GETTING DRUNK?
[HAVE VOLUNTEERS READ THESE SCRIPTURES OUT LOUD:]
Ephesians 5:18 (the scriptures above seem to condemn drunkenness as a lifestyle; but in this scripture, Paul expressly forbids getting drunk…ever!)
I think we can all agree that based on just these four scriptures, and there are scores of them, the Bible forbids drunkenness or even getting drunk.
II. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ALCOHOL RELATED ACTIVITIES?
Please turn to Romans 13:13: “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”
Paul uses several words here that have relevancy to what goes on in many drinking establishments.
Let’s define each of them:
1. “Rioting” (kōmos):
Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Lexicon defines this word as follows: “a revel, carousal / a nocturnal and riotous procession of half drunken and frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honor of Bacchus or some other deity, and sing and play before houses of male and female friends; hence used generally of feasts and drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry.”
Q. What relevancy does this prohibition have to modern-day practices? I.e., does this sound familiar to activities that accompany alcohol consumption today? And how does the Bible view these activities?
Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Lexicon defines this word as follows: “a place for laying down, resting, sleeping in a bed, couch the marriage bed or adultery cohabitation, whether lawful or unlawful, i.e., sexual intercourse”
The obvious connotation is that when drinking to excess, people are given to dropping their sexual inhibitions.
Someone read Habakkuk 2:15-16.
Do you think that alcohol over-consumption can lead people to do things they might never do if they were not controlled by alcohol? Is this kind of activity the kind of fire believers should play with?
Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Lexicon defines this word as follows: unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence
Stife: contention, strife, wrangling
Concerning the first definition: Two people who began attending our church who struggled with alcohol abuse and its results me straight out in exactly the same words: “Pastor, there’s only two reasons the people I know go down to Ed’s and the other bars downtown, and that’s to ‘get drunk and get laid.”
Concerning the second definition: Almost all crime of passion, fights, arguments and most murder and violence is somehow alcohol related.
Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Lexicon defines this word as follows.
excitement of mind, ardor, fervor of spirit: zeal, ardor in embracing, pursuing, defending anything
zeal in behalf of, for a person or thing
the fierceness of indignation, punitive zeal
an envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy
The idea here is how emotions are inflamed when people are drunk.
After Paul’s warning in Romans 13:13 to not walk in these ways (not practice them), he goes on to say in verse 14: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)
Look now at Galatians 5:19-21 – “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, DRUNKENNESS, REVELLINGS [kōmos, the same word translated “rioting” in Romans 13:13], and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Look also at 1 Peter 4:3 – “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings [kōmos, the same word translated “rioting” in Romans 13:13 and “revellings” in Galatians 5:21], banquetings [Grk potos is similar to kōmos, but would mean “drinking parties” today], and abominable idolatries.”
Q. Putting aside the questions of whether alcohol is allowed in the Bible for believers or not for now, what present day practices do these scriptures address, and what should be our attitude towards such practices.