How easy it is, and with what a sense of comradeship (it
seems) can one join one's friends in a group for a few drinks. What harm is
there, provided one is "temperate"? Did not Paul advise the young Timothy to
"use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine oft infirmities"?
The trouble with drinking is that it is not in the nature of
the young, generally, to be temperate. And drink clouds the mind; it
over-stimulates the senses and weakens the self-control. A car can be an
instrument of death in the hands of someone who drinks to excess.
Drink can arouse excessive merriment in some and bad temper in
other. The most violent quarrels occur in bars.
Paul used a phrase which aptly described the weakness of will
which can be caused by drinking: "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess"
(Eph 5:18). It is in the nature of alcoholic beverages that they encourage
"excess" in many different ways -- all of which are negative.
It is not so much that we should never touch wine and the
like, but the company, the places and the dangers must ever be in our
"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness
and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a
trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is
about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luk
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers... nor
drunkards... will inherit the kingdom of God" (1Co 6:9,10; cp Gal
The loathsome effects of excessive strong drink are described
-- almost humorously -- in the book of Proverbs:
"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has
needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to
sample bowls of mixed wine. 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. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine
confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top
of the rigging. 'They hit me,' you will say, 'but I'm not hurt! They beat me,
but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?' " (Pro
Present-day abstainers are in very good Scriptural company:
John the Baptist was one of the greatest men who ever lived (Mat 11:11), and he
was a teetotaler (Luk 1:15; 7:33). The leaders of the early ecclesias were
commanded to be "sober", "not given to wine" (1Ti 3:1,2; Tit 1:7). Daniel
purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the
king's wine (Dan 1:8). The Nazarites also vowed to separate themselves from
every product of the grape (Num 6:3).
The moral issue from the Biblical standpoint is therefore
simply this: A brother under the influence of alcohol is a brother who
deliberately deprives himself of the ability to "serve the law of God with his
mind" (Rom 7:25). God has graciously given us a knowledge of the Truth: an
understanding of His laws, as well as a spirit "of power, and of love, and of a
sound mind" (2Ti 1:7). Are we acting lawfully when we knowingly engage in a
practice which will deprive us of soundness of mind, and bring us under its
power (1Co 6:2), exposing us to the uncontrolled workings of the flesh? Is this
the way to "flee from sin"?
Also, see Lesson, Addiction.
A member of Alcoholics Anonymous once sent columnist Ann
Landers the following:
We drank for happiness and became unhappy.
We drank for joy and became miserable.
We drank for sociability and became argumentative.
We drank for sophistication and became obnoxious.
We drank for friendship and made enemies.
We drank for sleep and awakened without rest.
We drank for strength and felt weak.
We drank "medicinally" and acquired health problems.
We drank for relaxation and got the shakes.
We drank for bravery and became afraid.
We drank for confidence and became doubtful.
We drank to make conversation easier and slurred our
We drank to feel heavenly and ended up feeling like
We drank to forget and were forever haunted.
We drank for freedom and became slaves.
We drank to erase problems and saw them multiply.
We drank to cope with life and invited death.