Dr. J. Vernon McGee: Is Drinking Wine or Beer Sinful?
Should a Christian Drink; Alcohol, Beer, Liquor, Malt Liquor, Moonshine, Booze, Hooch, Spirits, or Wine?

Should a Christian Drink; Alcohol, Beer, Liquor, Malt Liquor, Moonshine, Booze, Hooch, Spirits, or Wine?  I believe the easy answer for me and my household is no!  Scripture is quite clear on this issue and lets observe what the Apostle Paul had to say about this very relevant issue. 

"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against ChristTherefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."
1 Corinthians 8:9-13

There is liberty in Christ, Praise God!  But as Christians we should always be aware if our freedom causes a weaker brother to stumble.  Now that is true love for the brethren!

"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.  Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being."
1 Corinthians 10:23-24

The Apostle Paul loved his fellow Christians so much that he would not drink alcohol or eat meat offered to idols simply because he didn't want to cause the weaker brethren to stumble.  That is true Christian love to deny yourself in order to not offend a weaker brother.

"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.  I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.  Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.  It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak."
Romans 14:12-21

I don't want to be legalistic about drinking alcohol because we are free from bondage in Christ Jesus:

"So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.  Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.  Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?  These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh."
Colossians 2:16-23 

Even though drinking wine is not sinful I choose not to do it for many reasons.  I want to be a good example for my children.  I don't want to have my judgment impaired by alcohol.  I don't want to cause a weaker brother to stumble. 

If you are a Christian and you choose to drink alcohol that is between you and God.  We as Christians will all stand before Christ for our rewards as believers. 

"Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:9-10

None of us are perfect and we all have our little pet sins (Hebrews 12:1) that we don't talk about.  If you are walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and your conscience is okay drinking alcohol that is fine.  I know that I could never drink alcohol with a clear conscience and that is between me and God. 

I remember a very funny quote from Dr.Adrian Rogers, it goes something like this, "They found a cure for alcoholism.  You want to know what it is?  Alcohol!  Don't drink and you will never be an alcoholic!"

In scripture alcohol does have medicinal purposes and alcohol used in that manner is perfectly understandable.  In biblical times wine was mixed with water to add flavor and/or to kill parasites or bacteria.  These things have to be taken into account when we consider we don't have those problems any longer in our society.  We can all grab a glass of ice water when in biblical times water was probably warm and tasted horrible.

"No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities."
1 Timothy 5:23

"So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him."
Luke 10:34

Some Christians claim that Jesus drank wine and the main citation is from the Wedding in Cana at Galilee.

"Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.  Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.  When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom."
John 2:6-9

There is a difference between grape juice (unfermented wine) and wine (fermented grape juice).  God Himself called grapes on a vine WINE even though they were unfermented.

"Thus says the LORD: “As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, For a blessing is in it,’ So will I do for My servants’ sake, That I may not destroy them all."
Isaiah 65:8

When we read about Jesus drinking "wine" in scripture you can be assured that it is unfermented grape juice.  Jesus created the "wine" and of course anything Jesus creates is PURE, that means the "wine" would not be fermented.  Jesus is our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) and a priest is forbidden from drinking fermented wine.

"Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die.  It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean."
Leviticus 9:10-9

Our joy as Christians is to come from God and not from a bottle of liquor!

"There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?”  LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.  You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.  I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety."
Psalm 4:6-8

"Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name."
Psalm 97:12

"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe....Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"
Philippians 3:1, 4:4


Scriptures Regarding Alcohol:

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

"Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart."
Hosea 4:11

"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 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

"But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person,"
1 Corinthians 5:11

"Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die.  It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean."
Leviticus 9:10-9

"Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation,"
1 Thessalonians 5:6-8

"And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear,"
Deuteronomy 21:20-21

"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, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  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.

"It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted."
Proverbs 31:4-5

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,"
Ephesians 5:18

"For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb."
Luke 1:15

"No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court."
Ezekiel 44:21

"Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames
them!"
Isaiah 5:11

"He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich,"
Proverbs 21:17

"Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.  In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.  They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead,"
1 Peter 4:1-5

"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!  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.  The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, Will be trampled underfoot; And the glorious beauty is a fading flower.  Which is at the head of the verdant valley, Like the first fruit before the summer, Which an observer sees; He eats it up while it is still in his hand.  In that day the LORD of hosts will be For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty To the remnant of His people, For a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, And for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.  But they also have erred through wine, And through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink,
They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
For all tables are full of vomit and filth; No place is clean."
Isaiah 28:1-8

"Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD, he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins.  All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin."
Numbers 6:2-4

"And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death....She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe.
Judges 13:7,14

"Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,  And your princes feast at the proper time—For strength and not for drunkenness!"
Ecclesiastes 10:17

"His watchmen are blind, They are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, They cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Yes, they are greedy dogs Which never have enough.  And they are shepherds Who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, Every one for his own gain, From his own territory.  “Come,” one says, “I will bring wine, And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; Tomorrow will be as today, And much more abundant.
Isaiah 56:10-12

"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.  Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,'
1 Timothy 3:1-8

"Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, And trust in Mount Samaria,
Notable persons in the chief nation, To whom the house of Israel comes!...Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph."
Amos 6:1,6 

"If a man should walk in a false spirit And speak a lie, saying, ‘I will prophesy to you of wine and drink,’ Even he would be the prattler of this people."
Micah 2:11

"Who has woe?  Who has sorrow?  Who has contentions?  Who has complaints?  Who has wounds without cause?  Who has redness of eyes?  Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine.  Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper.  Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things.  Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: "They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?"
Proverbs 23:29-35

"Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home.  Because he enlarges his desire as hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples."
Habakkuk 2:5

"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!"
Habakkuk 2:15

"Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink."
Isaiah 5:22

"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."
1 Corinthians 8:9-13
"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.  Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being."
1 Corinthians 10:23-24