I would like to preface this article by stating outright that any excessive use or dependency on alcohol is sin. However:

The following verses catalog the Hebrew uses of alcohol:

Gen 14:18  And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine( ביין, yayin); now he was a priest of God Most High.

Gen 14:19  He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;

In the LXX this word yayin is translated: οινον, OINOS, which is the word for wine in the NT.

Ex 29:38-41- and there shall be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine ( ביין, yayin);  for a drink offering with one lamb.

Lev 10:8  The LORD then spoke to Aaron, saying, Lev 10:9  “Do not drink wine (yayin) or strong drink (שכר, shekar), neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meetin

This prohibition was during a special time of formal priestly duties, not at all times.

Num 28:7  ‘Then the drink offering with it shall be a fourth of a hin for each lamb, in the holy place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink (shekar,  שׁכר )to the LORD .

Deu 14:26  “You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine ( ביין, yayin) , or strong drink (shekar,  שׁכר ) , or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.

Jdg 9:13  “But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine(  תירושׁי, tiyrosh)which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’

2 Sa 13:28  Absalom commanded his servants, saying, “See now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine( ביין, yayin) and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then put him to death. Do not fear; have not I myself commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.”

Est 1:10  On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine ( ביין, yayin), he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus

Neh 5:18  Now that which was prepared for each day was one ox and six choice sheep, also birds were prepared for me; and once in ten days all sorts of wine ( ביין, yayin);  were furnished in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the governor’s food allowance, because the servitude was heavy on this people.

Psa 104:14  He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, Psa 104:15  And wine ( ביין, yayin), which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart.

Ecc 9:7  Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine ( ביין, yayin),  with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.

Ecc 10:19  Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine ( ביין, yayin), makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything.

Amo 9:14  “Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine ( ביין, yayin)  , And make gardens and eat their fruit

Zec 9:15  The LORD of hosts will defend them. And they will devour and trample on the sling stones; And they will drink and be boisterous as with wine ( ביין, yayin),; And they will be filled like a sacrificial basin, Drenched like the corners of the altar.

Zec 10:7  “Ephraim will be like a mighty man, And their heart will be glad as if from wine ( ביין, yayin),; Indeed, their children will see it and be glad, Their heart will rejoice in the LORD.

Isa 1:21  How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers. Isa 1:22  Your silver has become dross, Your drink diluted with water.

Here having one’s alcohol diluted wine with water is a sign of God’s judgment.

Isa 25:6  The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine (   שׁמרים, shehmer)  choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine   שׁמרים  ) ,  shehmer)

Vs 8 will wipe tears away from all faces, with alcohol? God is comforting his people with sin?

Now to the New Testament

Rom 14:21  It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine  (οινον,oinos) or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.

1Ti 3:8  Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine (οινον, oinos)  or fond of sordid gain,

The implication is obvious that it is an addictive substance, not grape juice.

Tit 2:3  Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine (οινον,oinos), teaching what is good

Again, the implication is obvious that it is an addictive substance, not grape juice.

Joh 2:9  When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine οινον, OINOS , and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter *called the bridegroom

Luk 7:33  “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine οἶνον, OINOS, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ Luk 7:34  “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

Why the assumption of drunkenness if it is grape juice?


Pro 20:1  Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. 

Pro 23:29  Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Pro 23:30  Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. Pro 23:31  Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly;  Pro 23:32  At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.

These passages are directed towards a habitual drunk, not all peoples. Take for instance many passages that make a blanket condemnation of something but it is not meant to be taken absolutely:

1. Deu 21:20  “They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’

So should we abstain from food?

2. Pro 23:21  For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe one with rags.

So should we abstain from food?

3. Rom 13:13  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.

So should we abstain from sex at all times?

4. 1Ti 6:9  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 1Ti 6:10  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

So should we abstain from money? No!  Job 42:10 says, The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.

God has no problem with a man being wealthy.


Enjoy your beers, your brandy, your wine and your cigars and do it all to the glory of God!