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May Christians Drink But Not Get Drunk?

Is social drinking bad for Christians? Or is it only a sin if one gets drunk? But didn’t Jesus serve alcohol in the Bible? You asked, the Bible answers.


May Christians Drink But Not Get Drunk?


Brother Bob Pellien: May a Christian drink alcohol as long as they don’t get drunk?


Brother Bob: The Bible, the basis of our faith in the Church Of Christ, which answers questions about proper worship, the right relationship with God, and, most importantly, salvationThat’s in the Bible.


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That’s in the Bible


Brother Bob: I’m Bob Pellien, and welcome to the program, That’s in the Bible


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Brother Bob Pellien

Minister of the Gospel


We’ve received quite a number of questions through email, and social media and such that pertains to a common issue, which is drinking alcohol or intoxicating drinks that can lead to getting a person drunk. Here are some of what we have received. The first is from Faye and she asks: 


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Am I forbidden to have a drink of wine or a drink with a meal, not to get drunk but enjoy a drink with a meal? What is the true definition of drunkard as it pertains to the bible?


Brother Bob: And we received this one from someone in Las Vegas named Jesse who asked:


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What was the significance of Christ giving Judas the bread dipped in wine?

Brother Bob: Well dear friends, here we can see that the question is regarding the wine the Lord Jesus Christ used. Similarly, in one of our other programs also produced in the Church Of Christ called The Message, in an episode regarding why Christians should not drink alcohol, and we received a comment for that argument that Jesus is ok with drinking alcohol. Royce asked:


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Royce Dela Cruz

The transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana (also called the marriage at Cana, wedding feast at Cana or marriage feast at Cana) is the first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John. Does this mean Jesus is doing the wrong thing?

Brother Bob: Well, thank you all for your important questions and also giving us the opportunity today to clarify the Bible’s teachings on these. So, let’s begin. Let’s learn, “What does the Bible actually teach regarding alcohol and intoxicating drinks that can get a person drunk?”.


In order to accurately answer these questions, let’s frame our discussion together around these sub-questions: 


  1. What does the Bible say about getting drunk?
  2. Did Jesus Christ drink or serve alcohol?
  3. What is forbidden so Christians will not fall into drunkenness?


Brother Bob: Alright, let’s start with the first question. What does the Bible actually instruct regarding getting drunk? Let’s turn to the Bible and open it to Luke 21:34 wherein the following is recorded:


“Be careful not to spend your time having parties and getting drunk or worrying about this life. If you do that, you won’t be able to think straight, and the end might come when you are not ready. 

[Luke 21:34 Easy-to-Read Version]

Brother Bob: Notice who is giving the instruction: this is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ himself. What did Christ instruct? He said, “Be careful”. What should we be careful NOT to do? He said, “Be careful not to spend your time… worrying about this life… don’t spend your time having parties and getting drunk.” So according to Christ these are things that we should not do. According to the Bible then, the Savior Himself prohibits getting drunk.

Why? “What’s so bad if one gets drunk?” one may say. Some might even say “It’s just having fun, it’s harmless.” What are the consequences however that the Bible makes mention which we should understand? Dear friends, let’s go again to the Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:

…Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.

[1 Corinthians 6:9-10 New Living Translation]

Brother Bob: Here we can see dear friends, we can read a long list of sins. What does the Bible make clear about people who commit these kind of sins? It says, “none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” And, did you notice? Who’s among those that will not inherit the Kingdom of God or not be saved? Who’s included in this list was “drunkards”; or those who habitually drink. 

Now we know why the Lord Jesus Christ prohibits getting drunk. Some even go so far though as to think that “Jesus drank alcohol and even served it to His disciples,” right?

That was Jesse’s and Royce Dela Cruz’s question as you can recall, they brought up Jesus using wine at the Last Supper as well as during the wedding in Cana. Royce even asked if Jesus did something wrong because he used wine in those instances. 

Did Jesus Christ drink or serve alcohol? Since Christ is the One who, as we already read, prohibits getting drunk, would He then commit the sin of being the stumbling block or assisting others in their drinking and getting drunk? Of course not. Why are we sure? What’s the proof? We turn this time to the writings of the Apostle Peter. He wrote the following in 1 Peter 2:21-22:

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

[1 Peter 2:21-22 New King James Version]

Brother Bob: So dear friends, the Bible makes it very clear that “Christ… committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”. What did we learn from that? Since He prohibits getting drunk, He will not commit the sin of deceitfully serving something that can get people drunk, or of course even drinking it Himself. 

But look, now we know that there may be those, there may be even many who are probably wondering at this point in our discussion about the wine mentioned in the Bible then, that Christ clearly served. 

We have to understand that not all wines are the same, and there is a winemaking process of aging fruit juices into alcoholic beverages. So within this aging process, or fermentation, of winemaking, would Jesus Christ be drinking and serving wine that is already fermented and can therefore get people drunk? Of course not! But wait, is it just us who is saying that? Why are we so sure, why are we so confident in saying that? 

Are we the only ones who say it? Are we the only ones with that stand? Take a look. According to some scholars in the biblical languages which are Hebrew and Greek, what do these Bible scholars explain regarding the words that have been translated to English as “wine”? Let’s read from a published article from online, entitled “What Kind of Wine Did Jesus Drink?”:

The word “wine” in the Bible is not always alcoholic or equivalent to modern wine. The Bible uses one Greek word for “wine” and “grape juice” which could mean alcoholic wine of varying amounts or non-alcoholic grape juice (1 Tim 3:8; Titus 2:3). The Hebrew word for “wine” is yayin and the Greek is oinos (MT; LXX). Biblical “wine” is grape juice that may or may not have fermented. However, the wine of today has considerably more alcohol than wine in the first century because of modified yeast. The Bible includes a number of examples of unfermented “wine:”…

These references reveal that the word “wine” in Hebrew and Greek often refers to non-alcoholic grape juice in the Bible. …

The Bible does not contain one positive statement about intoxicating wine or any such drink. The Bible does include positive words about generic “wine” that is grape juice. 

[“What Kind of Wine Did Jesus Drink?” Accessed 09 Feb 2023 ]

Brother Bob: Friends, what did we learn from these scholars of the Bible languages? They say, “The Bible uses one Greek word for “wine” and “grape juice” which could mean alcoholic wine of varying amounts or non-alcoholic grape juice”. 

If one word is used in the Bible for the varying degrees of fermentation of grape juice into alcoholic wine, which should we understand the word to mean then? Simple grape juice, or intoxicating wine? As we read, “the word “wine” in Hebrew and Greek often refers to non-alcoholic grape juice in the Bible”. 

So, what should we understand about the times the Bible is referring to alcoholic wine or intoxicating drink? They say, “The Bible does not contain one positive statement about intoxicating wine or any such drink.”

Therefore dear friends, the wine that Christ served and even miraculously made from water was not an intoxicating wine like what we know today that people would drink and get drunk. Those biblical verses cannot therefore be used as a basis or justification to drink alcohol.

Well, what about just “moderate-drinking”? What about “social-drinking”? Some even claim they can “hold-their-liquor” meaning to say they know when to stop drinking, to drink but not be drunk. Faye, as you can recall her question, even asked about drinking not to get drunk, but to enjoy a drink with a meal for example, she said. So Is social drinking bad for Christians? Is it ok? 

So let’s answer that question. Is merely getting drunk the biblical prohibition? What is forbidden? Let’s turn again to the Holy Bible this time, we go to the book of Proverbs 23:31-32 which reads:

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. 

[Proverbs 23:31-32 New International Version]

Brother Bob: So dear friends, the Bible clearly says here “Do not”. And you know, we all know that when it begins that way, it’s presenting a prohibition. What’s the Bible prohibiting? It says, “Do not gaze at wine”. We need to understand what “gaze” means right? Because as we just read, we’re forbidden to do this to wine. According to, let’s take a look at the definition:

Gaze: to look steadily and intently, as with great curiosity, interest, pleasure, or wonder”.



Brother Bob: Dear friends, to gaze at wine is not to simply look at it; we don’t have to avoid passing through that section in the grocery store. But gazing at alcohol or wine is to look at it with pleasure, and with intent. The way we think of wine, as though with admiration and significance, that is what God prohibits His people to do. 

Why? How is it described? You heard me read it dear friends, the Bible described it and said that it “poisons like a viper”. Who in their right mind would argue to be a “moderate or a social -drinker” of poison? 

Likewise, how can one argue that drinking is ok when the Bible is instructing us not to even gaze at it, or think of wine with intent? So we can see here dear friends that getting drunk is not the only prohibition when it comes to intoxicating drinks. No. 

Not only is it a sin to be drunk, but what else does God forbid so that His people will not make the mistake of getting drunk? 1 Corinthians 5:11 further clarifies this, I quote:

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 

[1 Corinthians 5:11 New King James Version]

Brother Bob: Here we receive another prohibition. What’s the prohibition regarding? It’s whom we should “not keep company with”. Who should we avoid or not keep company with according to what we have read? It’s “with anyone… who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler,… or an extortioner… or a drunkard”. 

Therefore the Bible is not only prohibiting God’s people from getting drunk, or drinking, or thinking about drinking, but even associating with people who drink and get drunk.

Dear friends, why does God not want His people to drink? Let’s read what happens when people drink in Proverbs 31:5 it says:

When they drink, they forget the laws and ignore the rights of people in need.

[Proverbs 31:5 Good News Bible]

Brother Bob: This biblical truth can be seen in so many that break the law, dear friends. What is the correlation one may say of people drinking alcohol and breaking the law? The Bible said here, “When they drink, they forget the laws”. One causes the other, that’s the correlation. 

What proves that these words written here in the Bible are really true, which is why God is forbidding His people to drink alcohol and intoxicating drinks? Consider, according to, what happens when people drink and forget the laws? Take a look:

Alcohol plays a large role in criminal activities and violence. Excessive drinking has the ability to lower inhibitions, impair a person’s judgment and increase the risk of aggressive behaviors. …roughly 40% of inmates who are incarcerated for violent offenses were under the influence of alcohol during the time of their crime.

[Alcohol Rehab Guide Alcohol-related Crimes]

Brother Bob: So we can see that God’s instructions to His people are for their own good and His command to stay away from alcohol guides us to abide by the laws of the land. If we forget about the laws of the land, well that would be bad enough. But what’s even worse, if we would forget God’s laws which reigns supreme over His people, which again is the reason why He prohibits drinking alcohol, even if it’s legal in our country. 

For those who thought the Bible was merely prohibiting getting drunk, not simply drinking alcohol, you should acknowledge that no one ever got drunk by not drinking, whereas drunkenness always begins with one drink. 

So to serve as a basis to not even have one drink or even want to drink, what biblical instruction are we given? Let’s read yet once again from the Holy Bible, and we turn to Ephesians 4:27, it simply says:

Don’t give the Devil a chance.

[Ephesians 4:27 Good News Bible]

Brother Bob: This biblical instruction should keep us from rationalizing the idea of drinking alcohol. Why? Our enemy, the devil, is not one to be underestimated. If given a chance, he will take advantage of our weaknesses, and deceive us. That’s why in one of the verses we have read earlier it taught, “Don’t fool yourselves”.

Dear friends, we started this discussion with these main questions in mind, let’s review what we have learned as the answers from the Holy Bible: 


  1. What does the Bible say about getting drunk? 

Well, the Bible was very clear, right? God Himself and also our Lord Jesus Christ are both prohibiting getting drunk. 

  1. Did Jesus Christ drink or serve alcohol to others? 

We learned that Jesus, He never drank or served alcohol or intoxicating drinks. No. The translated word “wine” that Christ used it’s not the same as the word “wine” that we commonly use today, which is why it cannot be a basis to justify drinking alcohol.

  1. What is forbidden so Christians will not fall into drunkenness?

As we learned from the Bible, the Bible prohibits associating with people who drink and get drunk, think about drinking, and actually are drinking even if it’s not to get drunk.

Brother Bob: As members of the Church Of Christ, we’re so thankful to God and to our Lord Jesus Christ that they care so much about our welfare as to continue guiding us on how to live a life of holiness that will lead us to eternal life with them in the holy city, the kingdom of heaven. 

Join with us as well. To do that, we’d like to continue inviting you to learn more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ. To do so, please visit us online and browse the different topics or set up an appointment to meet with a minister of the gospel here in the Church Of Christ.


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If you have any more questions about the Bible or salvation, please email them to us. 


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I’m Bob Pellien. Thanks for watching. See you next time right here on That’s in the Bible! 

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May Christians Drink But Not Get Drunk?