Excessive drinking, or drunkenness, is a common theme in the Bible and is consistently a topic of concern amongst the writers of the Old and New Testaments. As we recognize Alcohol Awareness Month in April, let’s take a look at some of what the Bible has to say about the overconsumption of alcohol.
What is Drunkenness?
Drunkenness is defined as drinking alcohol to a level of intoxication or in excess. This was a common issue during the times that the Bible was written because of how readily available alcohol was. Often, clean drinking water was a challenge to acquire, but alcohol helped remove some of the impurities in the water. As such, wine was often consumed at gatherings, and the overconsumption of alcohol became an issue seen throughout society as is seen in the writings of the Old and New Testament. This was such a common concern that multiple writers across scripture covered the topic.
Drinking in the Bible
One of the main reasons for the continual acknowledgement of the issue of drinking is because of the effects this can have on your spiritual life. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Our spirits have a natural desire to be filled, and the things of this world can easily come before God. By allowing our time and resources to become consumed by alcohol, we leave no room for the Spirit of God to move in our lives. Choosing to drink and become drunk creates a temporary feeling that attempts to replace the need we have for God, but God is truly the only thing that can fulfill us.
The Bible also issues many warnings about engaging in a lifestyle of drunkenness. Because of how common the overconsumption of alcohol was, this became part of a large number of people’s daily lives. The book of Proverbs is known for the wisdom and guidance it provides and has provided for those throughout history. Proverbs 20:1 addresses the issue of drinking in a way that would have been hard to argue with. It says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Too many have been overtaken by the desire to drink, especially to the point of becoming drunk, and Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, warns those who allow drinking to become any source of guidance or influence on their lives that this will only lead them astray.
Writers in the New Testament continued to see this issue prevail in their society, so many used their writings to discuss this topic as well. Galatians 5: 21 says, “Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” No longer is this an issue of “good” or “bad” choices; Paul argues that a lifestyle of engaging in drunkenness can prevent someone from spending eternity with God. While, ultimately, Jesus will make judgements on who can enter the Kingdom of God, this is a strong warning and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Avoiding a Lifestyle of Drinking
Because of the prevalence of drinking in society both during Bible times and today, it can be challenging to not engage in this culture. This becomes even more of a challenge when our closest friends and family are participating in excessive drinking practices. To help set yourself up for success, here are a few tips on how you can pursue a lifestyle that avoids drinking:
- Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your choices. Whether these people choose to pursue a life without drinking or not, it’s vital that you have a support system who will encourage you to maintain your commitment.
- Find alternative hobbies and activities you enjoy. One of the biggest challenges people face when living a sober lifestyle is feeling left out of the social aspects related to drinking. Spend some time finding activities that don’t involve drinking, such as bowling, fitness classes, or hiking, and bring friends along who can enjoy these with you.
- Find your “why”. Understanding why we are making the lifestyle choices we are provides a foundation for long-term success. Spend time seeking out more of what the Bible says about drinking and it’s impacts to solidify your rationale for a life without drinking.
Help for Alcohol Addiction
If you’re struggling with overconsumption of alcohol or an alcohol addiction, there is hope for you. You are never too far gone to make the decision to change, and Celebrate Hope is here to help. Our faith-based alcohol addiction rehab helps you build a life of recovery on the foundation of Christ and his forgiveness. If you’re ready to take the next step in receiving help for your addiction, contact us today.