Sunday, July 30, 2023

Alcohol: What Does the Bible Really Say (Part 4)

By Clifton Angel
    This will be our final installment of this series of studies; however, more could be said and evaluated on this vital topic. Feel free to ask if you have further questions.
    See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess [ASV, “riot”]... (Ephesians 5:15-18a).
    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, ... envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
    On the surface, it seems that the only sin involved with drinking, according to these passages, is the sin of actually being drunk, but concerning drunkenness, a couple of things must NOT be overlooked in these passages, and reasonable questions must be asked.
    In Ephesians 5, the original terminology includes the process of getting drunk, which would include the first drink.
    In Galatians 5, directly following “drunkenness” are the sins of “revelings” and “such like.” Remember, “revelings are the social gatherings where the process of drinking often takes place”. Now, let us all ask ourselves this question: What is included in “such like”? Whatever is included in “such like” must have some association with the “works of the flesh” preceding. Is the drinking of alcohol “such like” taking part in a drinking party (reveling)? Is the drinking of alcohol “such like” the process of reaching drunkenness?
    Furthermore, at what point is a person drunk? Where is the fine line? Is it not true that the rate of intoxication varies from person to person? How is a person to know at what point he is “drunk” so that he will have a benchmark to never cross again?
    Several years ago, a co-worker of mine would drink beer on his way home from work. I asked: “The stuff smells horrible; does it not taste bad?” His reply: “Not after the first one!” I despised his practices, but I am thankful for his response. He proved to me that just ONE drink can alter a person’s judgment.
    What benefit are we going to bring to our lives by drinking, even in small amounts, alcoholic beverages? What harm are we going to bring to our lives by drinking alcoholic beverages? Paul said “such like” will keep us out of Heaven.

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

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