Is alcohol forbidden or recommended?

Proverbs 20:1

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Proverbs 23:31-32

Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!
In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.

Romans 14:21

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

Psalm 104:14-15

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate - bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.

John 2:7-9

Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.

1 Timothy 5:23

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.


Consumption of alcoholic beverages is clearly depicted as ordinary in both the Old and New Testaments. If Jesus thought that drinking alcohol was wrong, he wouldn't have provided more wine (via a miracle!) at the wedding in Cana. Similarly, if God had not wanted the Israelites to drink at all, he probably wouldn't have tempted them by requiring them to have wine on hand for drink offerings (Lev 23:13). The real problem with alcohol is not with consumption but with intoxication. This is what the "anti-alcohol" passages are really addressing. Proverbs 20:1 says that those who are "led astray" by alcohol are unwise; those who are led astray are those who have consumed enough to let it affect their thinking. Proverbs 23:31-32 in context (vv. 29-35) warns against getting drunk and describes what happens to drunkards. Romans 14:21 is no more a command not to drink than it is a command to be a vegetarian; rather, it teaches that one shouldn't drink around people who believe drinking is wrong, for this could encourage them to go against their conscience (Rom 14:13-23).

Other responses (offsite)


Top of page