Skip to main content
Business Services > The Baptist Record
> Current Edition > Explore the Bible
with Huey Dedmon
Proverbs 20:1; 23:19-21, 29-35; 31:4-7
The debate over whether the Bible declares that the use of alcohol is prohibited is one that will probably go on forever. The Bible does not call for total abstinence from the use of alcohol. What the Bible does give us is numerous warnings about how the use of alcohol may affect our lives, the people we love, and our witness for Christ. Paul warned us that anything that causes a brother to stumble should be avoided. (Romans 14:21) The warning from Proverbs is for us not to discount the power that Satan can exercise over us through the abuse of alcohol and harmful drugs. I have witnessed, in my own family, the destructive power of alcohol use. There are emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental scars that are caused by the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Because the Bible is very strong in its warnings about the influence alcohol abuse can have in our lives, I believe total abstinence is the best application of Godly wisdom.
While the Bible does not explicitly prohibit the use of alcohol, it does condemn drunkenness. Even the society we live in looks on drunkenness as a social abomination. Through daily media we are exposed to the social acceptance of socialized drinking, but you may have noticed that they never show people in a drunken stupor, sick from all the alcohol they have consumed. The deception of drug and alcohol use is that it makes you more socially acceptable, but the reality is that its end is social exclusion. Your decision-making abilities and your ability to think clearly are dulled by the effects of alcohol and drug use. Through that process you make unwise choices that lead your life down a path of poverty. (Prov. 23:19-21) I believe the “poverty” Proverbs is warning us about not only a possible financial poverty, but a spiritual, social, and mental poverty as well.
I do not think that any of us would try to dispute the destructive power of alcohol and drug abuse. Most people I know have been affected in some way through family or friends with issues related to the abuse of these substances. Life has many ups and downs, and the destructive power of these substances only adds more downs. I have watched many people being taken in by the power of alcohol abuse. Their lives wind up in divorce, financial chaos, physical suffering, and even death. A person who chooses to live a Godly life of wisdom is choosing not to subject themselves, their families, and their friends to the destructive powers of alcohol and drug abuse.
My mom was one of the sweetest people I have ever known until she became addicted to alcohol. As a child, I witnessed first-hand how her addiction changed her sweet nature. At first she would only drink occasionally, and then it became more frequent. Before long it was almost every day. She did and said things she would have never done if she were sober. I watched as she lived out Proverbs 23:33 because of her addiction. But praise God, I also witnessed the day when she, with God’s help, threw off the chains of alcoholism and was my sweet mom again. The saddest thing is that her addiction caused physical complications that added to a shorter life than she should have lived. Proverbs is admonishing us to wise up before we are overtaken by the addictive power of alcohol or drugs.
Another power that alcohol and drug abuse has is its distractive power. During its use we forget where we are supposed to be. We are distracted from fulfilling financial, work and family responsibilities. We are also distracted from fulfilling our ministry as a child of God. Our witness is hampered or even destroyed, and we distract people away from their opportunity to accept Jesus as their Savior.
The use of alcohol for medical purposes has been a part of our society since its discovery. Even the Bible gives us references for its use. (Prov. 31:6-7; I Tim. 5:23) While alcohol has qualities as a sedative, much better alternatives are available today. The application of Godly wisdom teaches us to be aware of how its abuse can affect our lives.
Dedmon is Associate Pastor for Education and Outreach, Brandon Church, Brandon.