One of the most explosive questions you can toss towards a Christian audience is “what does the Bible say about alcohol?” As you are scrambling to duck from the rocks, sermons, and phone calls coming your way, you will find there is a very broad spectrum of Biblical texts. This is not surprising for those than know and understand the Bible is not “one book with only one message” but rather a wide ranging compendium of books and scrolls written over millennia by dozens of human authors (traditional theology states they were “inspired to write the words of God” but wrote with them with their own voice and human perspective).
When it comes to alcohol there is a diaspora of warnings, sayings, rituals, and symbols related to wine, alcohol, and strong drink. In my short experience in the church (and by short I mean my whole life) I have encountered just about every possible view and “cherry picking” of these passages. I have met those who take “shots for Jesus,” those who believe wine is so dangerous only few can drink without sin, and those who believe Christians should uphold the Nazarene vow on alcohol (strangely missing the part about growing a head of hair that would rival 90’s goth rockers).
To my amusement, I have even interacted with those who believe the Bible says drinking any amount of alcohol is evil, no exception, while concurrently drinking alcoholic wine for communion, while concurrently teaching all wine in the Bible was grape juice, while concurrently outlawing drinking by using Biblical passages about those who drank (grape juice?) wine and became drunk. Boy, that always makes my head spin.
So what does the Bible really say? Quite a bit, instead of going through all the details, and writing a long post that only my wife will read (and she would only do that to point out my spelling errors ) I wanted to show a graphical representation of the biblical passages on alcohol. This is based on two lists, one by David Whitfield, the second by Dr. Bacchus. Anyone seeking to review the actual verses/passages can find them there. Likewise, I also want to note that I was more conservative, and moved about 8% of the passages from neutral into negative.
So what does it mean? You decide, but whatever you do, don’t do it carelessly.