Is it a sin for a Christian to drink wine?

The bible condemns drinking, but some bible translations are not much clearer on drinking alcohol.

It’s ok or not ok depending on the bible translation you go with. Some say avoid drunkenness, others say don’t get drunk and others say do not partake of.

Here are a few examples;

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 KJV

“And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 ASV

“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him.” Ephesians 5:18 AMP

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 ESV

I said above the bible condemns drinking, and all translations agree on its effects, e.g., drunkenness (Proverbs 23:29-35). 

Hosea says, “….wine and new wine take away the heart.” Hosea 4:10-11. Christians are commanded to not allow their bodies to be “ruled” by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19). In scripture, Alcohol is especially tied to all ungodliness, uncleanliness, whoredoms, personal defilement, etc.

Also Scripture forbids a Christian from doing anything that might offend other Christians, cause them to stumble or encourage them to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-13). In light of this, it would be extremely difficult for any Christian to say drinking alcohol is godly (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Jesus changed water into wine. It even seems that Jesus drank wine on occasion (John 2:1-11; Matthew 26:29). But scripture never said it was strong drink or fermented wine. Also, no way Jesus would’ve transgressed by wine, (ref. Hab 2:5).

Amos 2:11-12 says, “And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink…”

In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul instructed Timothy to stop drinking water exclusively (which was probably causing him stomach problems) and instead drink wine. In that day, wine was fermented (containing alcohol), but not necessarily to the degree it is today. It is incorrect to say that it was grape juice, but it is also incorrect to say that it was the same thing as the wine commonly used today. 

Jesus said, “But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows…” Matthew 11:16. What that means is grow up, take hold on that which is good.

However, due to the biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects, due to corruption, stupidity and debauchery, and due to the possibility of causing offense and/or stumbling of others, it is often best for a Christian to abstain from drinking alcohol, and not defile self.

God bless,


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Laurence Muzembi (Th.D, D.D, MDiv, B.A in Biblical Studies, Cert in Counselling & Psychotherapy ) is author, pastor, life coach and business consultant. Tired of seeing Christians stumble and crush landing, he sets up Muzembi.Org as a guiding beacon for them, and to make a difference.

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LC Muzembi

Biblical advice for new and growing Christians