Alcohol consumption

My question deals with the consumption of alcohol. I believe drinking is ok if done responsibly, but my friend believes any alcohol consumption is a sin. The friend believes that the word "wine" in the Bible has different meanings such as to be happy or joyful. The friend always uses the example that God would never say a little viewing of pornography is fine, just don't overdo it. He takes the case that the over- consumption of alcohol can lead to sinful acts. He also believes that Jesus wouldn't had wine at the Lord's Supper only juice. How do you address this train of thought?

I would encourage your friend to focus on clear passages of Scripture. The Bible does not condemn the use of alcohol (Psalm 104:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:23). It condemns the abuse of alcohol (Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 5:18). If wine itself were sinful, Jesus would certainly not have miraculously changed water into wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). Under the Old Testament ceremonial laws, God even commanded the use of wine with offerings (Exodus 29:40; Number 28:7).  Think of the implications of that.

In biblical days in Palestine, people regularly mixed wine with water to purify the water. We know from history that wine was part of the celebration of the Passover meal. Since the institution of the Lord’s Supper took place during the celebration of the Passover meal, the “fruit of the vine” (Matthew 26:29) was a part of it. Any grapes that had been harvested in the previous fall and pressed into juice would most likely have been going through the fermentation process in the following spring (when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper).

What your friend says about pornography is true: God does not approve of that in large or small amounts. Equating the moderate consumption of alcohol to pornography is where your friend’s argument collapses. Nowhere does the Bible say that any alcohol consumption is a sin. Christians are free not to consume alcohol or to consume it in moderation. They are not free to bind the consciences of others with their opinions.

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