Bible Verses That Condemn Drinking

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I recently wrote a post about how the medieval church considered drinking to the point of drunkness to fall under the deadly sin of gluttony.

A commenter on a message board I frequent provided some references to Bible passages in which these prohibitions are made more explicit. I’ve provided them below:

Proverbs 20:1New International Version (NIV)

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

Proverbs 21:17 New International Version (NIV)

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
    whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.

Proverbs 23:19-21 New International Version (NIV)

Saying 16

19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
    and set your heart on the right path:
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine
    or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
    and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Proverbs 31:4-7New International Version (NIV)

It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.

New Testament

Paul’s words:

Ephesians 5:18New International Version (NIV)

18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,

1 Timothy 3:8New International Version (NIV)

In the same way, deacons[a] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.

Titus 2:3New International Version (NIV)

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.

Galatians 5:19-21King James Version (KJV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

What is especially notable about this last one is that drunkness is included along with things like adultery, murder, sedition, and other major sins. This means that it is a major and not a minor sin – it is said that those who indulge in it do not inherit the kingdom of God (that is a huge statement – it is equivalent to saying that one will enter hellfire. It is a deadly sin.)

As Muslims we are called to call other nations unto righteousness and the obedience of Almighty Allah. The Quran repeatedly states that if the People of the Book followed their scriptures, instead of picking and choosing, this would have been better for them. As Muslims we should reinforce this message. We should know these verses of the Bible so that we can call them towards the ma’roof (what is known to be right/moral) and away from the munkar (what is known to be wrong). Unfortunately, we live in an age where people no longer know what is right and what is wrong and in fact, the opposite occurs; people encourage what is wrong and forbid what is right – even “Bible thumping Christians.” So we must call them to the standard Allah SWT has set, inshaAllah. But remember – we are more responsible for ourselves, and so we seek Allah’s refuge from hypocrisy and we seek His Help in carrying out the Law with piety in our hearts and His Loving Pleasure as our aim.