Alcohol: Blessing or Curse?


Is alcohol a blessing or a curse? Or perhaps both? What does the Bible teach?

Here are some excerpts from an article titled Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? in the old Good News magazine:

Alcohol can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how it is used. Most people who drink alcoholic beverages find them to be a blessing. On the other hand, sadly, there are a few who find through abuse of such beverages – that alcohol can be a curse. This group includes the approximately 10 percent of drinkers who develop the malady of alcoholism, which destroys them physically, mentally and spiritually.

It doesn’t matter whether the alcohol is consumed in beer, wine, whiskey, gin, vodka, vanilla extract or mouthwash – they all contain the same ethyl alcohol or ethanol (C2 H 50H), and people need to be aware of the proper – and improper – uses of this chemical.

Religious uses of alcohol

In the Old Testament alcoholic beverages were important in various aspects of religious observance.

God’s people, Israel, were commanded to include drink offerings they made to God (e.g. Num. 15: 5, 7, 10). Wine was among those blessings of which the Israelites payed tithes and gave offerings to their Creator (Neh. 10:39, 13:5)…

Alcohol as medicine

The medicinal value of alcohol is in its ability to act as an anesthetic (painkiller) and an antiseptic (prevents infection).

The good Samaritan poured oil and wine into the wounds of the man he befriended on the road to Jericho (Luke I 0:30-37); undoubtedly the purpose of the wine was to deaden some of the pain and to prevent infection. Today we have more advanced drugs for anesthesia, such as novocaine, which dentists use to deaden nerves when they pull teeth. Alcohol, though now generally mixed with other patent medicines, is still recognized and used as an antiseptic for minor scratches and cuts.

The apostle Paul suggested that Timothy use a little wine for his stomach’s sake (I Tim. 5:23). The Bible does not indicate the nature of Timothy’s stomach problem or what his “often infirmities” were, but per­ haps there was some difficulty with the drinking water or Timothy had a digestive impairment. However, whatever it was, note that Paul said to use a little, not copious amounts, of wine…

Drinking for pleasure

In addition to the religious and medicinal uses of alcohol, God also approves of drinking to add pleasure to social occasions such as weddings and parties. Wine and other alcoholic beverages can make people more cheerful and give greater enjoyment to already happy gatherings. They “gladden the heart of man” (Ps. 104:15, Revised Standard Version).

Christians should always exercise caution when using alcohol for pleasure, however, because of the ever-present danger of overuse, which will utterly destroy any enjoyment that could have been derived from a social occasion. Nobody likes a drunk, including the drunk himself…

Alcohol abuse…

Christ Himself warned His followers not to be drunken (Luke 21:34). Paul told the Corinthian church to “put away from among yourselves” any member who was a drunkard – to have no fellowship with such a person (1 Cor. 5: 11-13). No person who is unable to use alcohol properly is fit to be a minister (1 Tim. 3:3, 8, Titus 1:7). Paul taught the Ephesians to “be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess,” but rather to be filled with the Spirit of God (Eph. 5:18).

Have you ever been guilty of drunkenness?…

The Bible nowhere commands Christians to drink alcohol, with the exception of about a tablespoonful during the Passover service. Alcohol should be seen as a blessing that God has given human beings to honor Him, to help heal our bodies, to cheer us up when needed and to add pleasure to meals and social occasions. As Christians, we should be aware of the benefits and dangers of alcohol and use it properly, so we can truly consider alcohol to be the blessing God meant it to be.

In certain areas, however, excessive drinking and ‘binge drinking’ are serious problems.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Fact Sheet on Binge Drinking states:

According to national surveys

  • Approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.2
  • Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older.3
  • The prevalence of binge drinking among men is higher than the prevalence among women.4
  • Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.3
  • About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.5
  • About 75% of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.5
  • The proportion of current drinkers that binge is highest in the 18- to 20-year-old group (51%).3

Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including—

  • Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning).
  • Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence).
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Unintended pregnancy.
  • Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Liver disease.
  • Neurological damage.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Poor control of diabetes. (

While light alcohol consumption (no more than one drink in a day for most people) has health benefits, excessive consumption of alcohol is dangerous.

Notice the following:

1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise. (Proverbs 20:1)

20 Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)

1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, Like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, Like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. 3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, Will be trampled underfoot; (Isaiah 28:1-3)

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (Ephesians 5:18)

The partying drunkard is also specifically condemned as part of those that will not inherit the kingdom of God:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

The fact that the average college binge drinker is defined as one who gets drunk doing this at least twice per month shows the lack of concern for biblical morality.

The Bible also condemns those who encourage others to drink excessively:

5 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor,
Pressing him to your bottle,
Even to make him drunk,
That you may look on his nakedness!
16 You are filled with shame instead of glory.
You also — drink!
And be exposed as uncircumcised!
The cup of the Lord’s right hand will be turned against you,
And utter shame will be on your glory. (Habakkuk 2:15-16)

If you, or a loved one, has a problem with binge drinking or anything else to do with alcohol, pray about it and seek counsel.

In addition to contacting the ministry, secular sources can also be of assistance. A list of sources from the CDC can be found at Furthermore, there are groups like Alcoholics Anonymous in many other nations. People with alcohol problems can be helped. And the Bible encourages people to leave the “binge drinking” lifestyle.

Excessive binging on alcohol is a serious problem in many societies. And is one that needs to be repented of–whether by males or females.

So while alcohol can and should be a blessing, overindulgence for many can turn into a curse.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?

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