Posted by: Joe Palmer | August 17, 2009


The Sin of Drunkenness.

This lesson is not one that I enjoy presenting, because it has been on of the most controversial topics in my ministry.

There is a lot of confusion and differences of opinion about the topic.
I have taught on this a number of times and often had people to disagree.
So today I want to began with an introduction and next week I will present my rational on the topic. If you miss either lesson I will make them available to you. I think it is important to hear them both. If you want to talk about this personally with me further then I welcome that opportunity.
1. I love you all and people I am friends with and love disagree with me on this topic. I don’t want this to be viewed as a personal attack. I want this to bring light not heat to the topic. I want it to allow us to examine our life in order that we may grow.
2. I understand the confusion. I don’t know everything about the topic. I still have unanswered questions.
3. If this is about me judging you, then you can judge me, therefore I want to each judge ourselves. I know we all fall short. I want to be holy. I am seeking to be more so in my life.
4. My duty is preach the whole of God’s word. I am compelled to do this. I desire to speak the truth in love.

What we agree on.
1. The Bible condemns drunkenness.
a. I Cor 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man called a brother be a….drunkard
b. Gal 5:19-21 listed in the works of the flesh
c. Ephesians 5:18 Don’t be drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.

2. People both in the Bible and today still get drunk.
a. Noah (Gen 9) got drunk and God was displeased
b. Lot was made drunk by his daughter’s in order that they might get pregnant. ( Gen 19)
c. David tries to get Uriah drunk in order to cover up his sin.

3. Alcohol causes a lot of harm to many people.
a. From 2001–2005, there were approximately 79,000 deaths annually attributable to excessive alcohol use. In fact, excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for people in the United States each year
b. In the single year 2005, there were over 1.6 million hospitalizations3 and over 4 million emergency room visits for alcohol-related conditions.
c. Unintentional injuries, including traffic injuries, falls, drownings, burns and unintentional firearm injuries.7

d. Violence, including intimate partner violence and child maltreatment. About 35% of victims report that offenders are under the influence of alcohol.8 Alcohol use is also associated with 2 out of 3 incidents of intimate partner violence.8 Studies have also shown that alcohol is a leading factor in child maltreatment and neglect cases, and is the most frequent substance abused among these parents.9

e. Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and increased risk of sexual assault. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.10,11

4. Alcohol can be used as a medicine.
a. Alcohol is an antiseptic
b. Alcohol is a pain killer
c. It is a positive agent in cleansing water to drink
d. I read a lot of reports and here is what I found. At most 1 drink a day was sometimes found helpful.
e. It was also found to be productive of many negative results.

What is the primary question?
1. How much alcoholic beverage can the Christian drink without sinning?
2. If there is a rule or standard then what are the exceptions to the rule.

Why is there confusion?
1. When we hear wine we always think of an alcoholic drink which could cause drunkenness.
a. The word wine in the Bible was not used in this way. There are multiple words in both the old and New Testament translated Wine. While some of these more commonly refered to alcoholic wine, there is room for discussion about every word.

2. The fact that the Bible both condemns and extols wine.
i. Wine is a good product of the land Deut 11:14; 16:13; 33: 28
ii. A drink which “cheereth God and men.” Judges 9:13
iii. A substance which makes glad the heart. Ps 104:14
iv. It is called a blessing Isaiah 65:8

b. It is condemened
i. It is called the “Poison of dragons and venom of asps” Deut 32:31
ii. It is called a “mocker” and “raging.” Prov. 20:1
iii. The cause of poverty, woe, and sorrow, contentions, babblings, and wounds without cause.” Prov. 23:19, 29
iv. It “bites like a serpent” and stings like and adder.” Prov. 23:32
v. It will inflame Isaiah 54:121
vi. By it we err. Isaiah 28:7 and transgress Hab 2:5

3. The belief that wine couldn’t be preserved without becoming alcoholic.
a. This is a widespread misconception
b. There were many ways that the ancients knew of preserving wine without it becoming an intoxicant.
i. Thickened to a high sugar content
ii. Kept in a spring at a cool temperature
iii. Sulphur was used to kill the natural yeasts.
4. The strongest argument for drinking wine is that Jesus drank it
a. What did he drink?
i. We know contextually that nothing in the Lord’s supper feast was alcoholic. The textual usage of fruit of the vine
ii. The strongest and most often quoted discussion is that of John 2:1 -10
1. Remember that we cannot hardly help but think of alcoholic wine when we read the word.
2. We think of a feast or celebration and we think of again alcoholic drink.
3. We read what the master of the feast said and again we think of the aged wine in regards to which is best.
iii. Why this wine wasn’t a wine of strong alcoholic content.
1. We know the guests had consumed all the drink available.
a. The master of the feast even used the phrase well drunk
b. This didn’t necessarily imply drunkenness but fullness in quantity which could imply drunkenness.
2. Habakkuk 2:15 says it is wrong to give a neighbor drink in order to get him drunk.
3. If these people had drunk until full then Jesus in supplying more alcohol to them would be promoting drunkenness, and endorsing sin.
4. Therefore It was not strong drink that Jesus provided.
5. It is my conclusion that the Bible
a. Condemns drunkenness
b. Condemns strong drink
i. Wine is paired with strong drink 13 times in the old Testament.
ii. Most of those text either forbid or speak unfavorably of the two together.
iii. ISBE says the strong drink spoken of here was most likely similar to beer.
c. Since the Bible Condemns drunkenness and strong drink. We should avoid anything so classified in the Bible.



  1. Joe,

    I am looking forward to reading the rest of your thoughts on wine / drunkenness. Thanks for the list of scriptures as well.


  2. Joe,

    The Old Testament is to be our school master to teach us how we are to live under the New Testament. God commanded Aaron and his sons not to drink wine nor strong drink so they could determine the difference between holy and unholy and clean and unclean while performing their priestly duties. See Leviticus 10. Today all Christians are God’s priest and we should abstain from wine and strong drink so we may also be able to determine what is clean and unclean and what is holy and unholy while performing our priestly duties each day of our lives. I am enjoying your lessons and the articles. God Bless.


  3. I Timothy 5:23
    23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.

    I heard someone ask a good question about this verse. Why did Paul need to tell Timothy to drink wine? Was Timothy a wine drinker or was he abstaining for some reason and Paul needed to let him know that for his medical condition it was alright to take a LITTLE wine?

    The purpose of drinking is an issue at the heart of this matter. If there is a true medicinal effect of a LITTLE wine it is not the same as social drinking. Social drinking, whether alone or in a group, is for “feeling” different. Some drink to relax, some to break the ice with others, some like the “buzz”, others like to get drunk. The “altered mental state” is what is sought. Christians are to be ready to give an answer for the hope within us. We are to be an example at all times. How can we choose to alter our mental status and hope to answer clearly or have our behavior under control? I think Timothy was keeping himself under control to the point of sacrificing his health and Paul had to tell him to take care of his health so he could be a better servant.


  4. Good follow-up article, Joe. Keep up the good work!

  5. […] during this series, did a series concerning alcohol on his blog, beginning with this post: The Sin Of Drunkenness. His approach to Scripture and to this topic are different than mine and provides a good […]


  7. […] during this series, did a series concerning alcohol on his blog, beginning with this post: The Sin Of Drunkenness. His approach to Scripture and to this topic are different than mine and provides a good […]

  8. […] during this series, did a series concerning alcohol on his blog, beginning with this post: The Sin Of Drunkenness. His approach to Scripture and to this topic are different than mine and provides a good […]

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