What does the Bible say about drugs and alcohol?

25 years ago I searched the Bible for direction concerning alcohol and drugs. I was a new believer and determined not to allow some pastor or church person tell me I can or can’t drink or have fun anymore. Here’s what I found.

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What the Bible says about alcohol

Jesus’ first miracle was to turn approximately 140 gallons of water into 140 gallons of wine at a wedding party. By His act, I have to assume that alcohol is acceptable for mankind. It was used at celebrations and occasions (John 2:9). It was even an acceptable drink for the last supper. Jesus refers to the wine as His blood, and bread as His body.  He told His disciples to take and drink (Matthew 26:26).  Apostle Timothy discusses the use of a little wine as being good for the body (1 Timothy 5:23), but warns that one can become addicted to it (1 Timothy 3:8). Evidently, it was used like a medication for the many ailments people experienced.  Following (in no particular order) are Biblical references to alcohol and the behavior associated with them.

The Holy Spirit and wine – Jesus was always talking in terms of stories (parables) so that the people could relate to what He was trying to teach. Throughout scripture, the Holy Spirit is used in symbolism and referred to as wine and/or oil.

New wine and renewed wineskin – Jesus uses the parable of the new wine and renewed wineskin. It was a reference of the renewed wineskin as to our bodies being renewed by the Holy Spirit (salvation). The old wineskin was restored by rubbing oil on it. This must first be done to restore it to like new condition, so that the new wine won’t leak out and be ruined. The new wine is representative of the Holy Spirit entering our body after salvation, previously ruined by the fall of man (Matthew 9:17).  The Apostle Paul instructs us to be filled with the Holy Spirit as opposed to wine.  I will discuss that further below.

Drunkenness and scriptural references – In Matthew 24:36-51, Jesus tells a parable relating to His return. He refers to those who are faithful and wise as the ones who live according to God’s ways, but those that live in corruption and parties with drunkards will pay the price in eternity.  The Apostle Paul referenced in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit, …”

Alcohol can impact our judgment – Drunkenness inhibits self control – In 1st Peter, chapter 4, there is a theme of not being drunk like the non-believers   We are to show self-control and be sober-minded in our behavior. Again, that we might live by the spirit; the way God does.

What the Bible says about drugs

Respect the drug laws of the land – Finding specific reference to drugs in the Word of God is difficult.  However, the effects from illegal drugs and abuse of prescription medication is obviously against the law of man. It is illegal, therefore, as Christians and citizens, we are to respect the laws of the land. God has put people in government positions to make choices for the better of mankind (remains to be determined if man has done a good job or not).

Altering our minds – We also know that in several places throughout the Bible we are warned of the foolishness of altering our minds by way of alcohol. In 1 Peter 2:11, we are to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against our soul. Therefore, anything that causes us to destroy ourselves, obviously should be avoided. This could be interpreted as drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, gluttony, etc.

Self discovery and moments of truth

What I discovered about myself was that I drank/did drugs to get high. Period. I didn’t use to distract, runaway, or alleviate stress. I loved the feeling of being out of control and extremely silly. After becoming a Christian I realized getting stoned was not pleasing to God, so for me the decision was simple. I needed to stop allowing myself from becoming addicted to any substance and begin living the lifestyle God planned for me.

We all face moments of truths during our lifetime. I realized I was chasing extreme happiness by consuming substances that were destroying my body. I agree the Word of God does not oppose drinking of alcohol – within limits. It is the drunkenness that God warns against. Since the drunkenness is what I chased, I decided I needed to stop for myself, my family, and for my God.

What do you think?  Where are you in your relationship with drugs and alcohol?  We invite you to write to us, ask questions, or even ramble  below.  We’re here to help.

About the author
Dr. Jackson received his Doctorate in Christian Counseling from Omega Bible Institute and Seminary in 2009. He developed the Christian recovery treatment programs for Calvary Rehab Center and the Genesis Center for Recovery. He has trained and practiced Christian Counseling in all areas of drug/alcohol/gambling/sex and relationship addictions. He currently has his own web based online program called 12 Day Rehab Systems, designed for those who can work on recovery while maintaining career and family obligations. Dr. Jackson has been clean and sober since 1984. Learn more about Recovery with Dr. Steve.


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  1. I am addicted to a mood enhancer pill. It has taken over my life, and the withdrawal from these are awful. It effects your mind, body, emotions, and I can’t deal with the withdrawal. It has effected my walk with Christ, how can I think I am a child of God, when a over the counter drug is taking over my life? Please pray for me, I am so miserable and depressed. Thanks for listening.

  2. I am strugling with the desison to decorse my husband because he does not want to stop smoking dagga. This has caused so many fights and break ups in the past but now I have a child with him and the decision seems very much more difficult to leave him as I always think about hows my todler will be affected. I do not want to break up a home but for a very long time I have been verbally abused by my husband and his mother and my husband never says he loves me and never even touches me. He basically said I am just around to help pay the bills and further than that there is no real reason for him to love me. I am seeing a Lawyer to devorse him but like I said my beliefs in God has always stopped me from leaving my husband.

  3. I love my husband, but I have 2 love me first. He had lied soooo many times, stoled things, I put him OUT, tried 2 help him over& over again. Praying, talk 2 pastor, talking 2 him. The final straw he spent his whole disability check on cocaine, gambling & alcohol. He got his check on the 1st of month by the 3rd he didn’t have a dime, he admitted himselft n the hospital 2nd time. I ask 4 a divorce several , but he won’t do it, I met him n church, short courtship, married 4 yes. I’m DONE!!! I really don’t believe this is a marriage made of God
    He say he love me, but when he start the drinking & driving, he’s like a whole different person. I gave him 4 yrs of my life, not a second more
    I don’t want 2 get married again, I just want 2 divorce him!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with DMT, but my girlfriend, who is a Christian, has been using it and claims that it, as well mushrooms, have given her a deeper connection with God. She isn’t addicted to them, and doesn’t do them to get “high” or party, but instead she says that in moderation they serve as a sort of supplement or medicine, improving her spirituality and other aspects of life. She has a great prayer life, reads Scripture, reads/listens to other Christian media, speaks openly about Christ, actively worships at Church, and understands that sin is destructive (we are abstaining from sex and she seems to be more self-controlled than I am on the matter, which perplexes me that she is this way on one issue but not on drugs), but claims that God was more gloriously and profoubdly revealed to her in the experiences she’s had on Dmt and mushrooms. This has been bothering me and I’m not sure to how take it, I dont want to come across as condescending or try and change who she is, as Lord knows I don’t always follow God’s direction. We’ve both been praying for faith in the Holy Spirit to work as well as doing research, and still disagree. After what I sense that God has revealed to me to be true (I think perhaps Satan is decieving her), she is still not convinced. I need Christian advice, as we are very in love and moving in the direction of marriage, but this has been on our minds/hearts. Any help or words of wisdom!? Thanks

  5. I was on methadone for 35 years ..never off until I walked off for the LORD JESUS ..I thought..I was in bed one year ..I stayed off 3@half years got back on 4 months and walked off again..I was on a very low dose..I am battleing this addiction ..its horrible all because I thought it was the right thing too do.. I now am doing dope which I never did..I got hooked on meth..I don’t think its a sin as long as you are of sound mind..I am going to TRUST HOLY Spirit ti lead me..for I lost my way….. DONT walk off your medication if not a good idea

  6. The article was good. many times God’s word gives guidelines and mixed with our prayer, God’s answers us at that time and place.
    As new creations we are to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us. The Holy Spirit will tell each of us where we need cleansing and when.

    When Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding, it was better wine that had already been served. So it was aged. It is not more of a miracle to change water into grape juice than to turn it into fine aged wine i.e real alchohal wine.

    Medical Marijuana – Pray to God for the answer. Medical marajuana is right for some people (who are Christians). But Lorry is right it is dangerous and can slip into something else. The same is true though of pain killers that you really need like after my knee replacement surgery, I took Percocet for 2 months.

  7. To the very 1st line, ” Jesus turned water into wine” you may need to do a little more research. See for wine to become alcohol and intoxicating it has to fermintate in which it needs to be aged, you got to remember water in those days was very unclean. As for wine being drunk at the last supper, does it say that or fruit of the vine was drunk in which is grape juice not wine. The same for Paul telling Peter to drink a little wine to ease an upset belly, not intoxicating, just like over the counter cough medicine.

  8. I wrote on this same topic here on bibleanswershow. I emphasized some of the points you did as well as others, particularly in regards to “legal drugs” like medical marijuana.

  9. Sarah. I think the problem with drugs and alcohol is that it often leads people to sin and keeps thier mind off of god. Although drinking is legal and drugs are not both can lead to sin if your not careful. I think that as long as you keep god in your mind and heart and dont let yourself fall into any kind of sin because of drugs or alcohol that you will be ok. But most people cannot do both and thats where the problem lies so it is better for them to obstain. Remember addiction of a substance is sin because you are putting it before god. Dont let anything come before him. I hope this helps

  10. I need help deciding whether smoking medicinal marijuana is right according to God. I suffer from anxiety and panic disorders. I also battle with migraine headaches, restless leg syndrome(RLS), stomach problems, COPD(chronic bronchitis), arthritis, and chronic back pain. I smoke to get rid of actual physical and mental pain, not to get high. None of my church members or christian friends know. But alot of them have expressed that they think it’s wrong for people to smoke medicinal pot. Is it biblically wrong? I do not have medical insurance, so I don’t have access to other prescription medicines. I don’t think that God meant for people to just be in pain, but I would rather be in pain now than spend an eternity in hell. Please help me.

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