Alcohol abuse and drunkenness are unfortunately common issues that many people struggle with. If you’re wondering what God’s Word says about drunkards, you’re not alone.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible clearly condemns drunkenness and excessive drinking. God calls His followers to be sober-minded and self-controlled.
In this comprehensive article, we will dive deep into several bible verses and passages to understand the biblical perspective on drunkards and alcohol abuse.
Old Testament Verses About Drunkards
Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker
The book of Proverbs contains wisdom that warns against the dangers of excessive drinking. Proverbs 20:1 states, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
This verse teaches that wine and strong drink can distort one’s thinking and perception of reality. The drunkard is unable to think clearly or make wise decisions. Rather than imparting wisdom, excessive drinking leads to unstable emotions and foolish choices.
Proverbs 23:20-21 – Don’t associate with drunkards
Proverbs 23:20-21 provides additional instruction about avoiding drunkenness: “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”
Here we are warned not to associate with those who overindulge in wine or food. Such overindulgence often leads to poverty and ruin. There are serious consequences for lacking self-control when it comes to alcohol.
Isaiah 5:11 – Woe to drunkards
The prophet Isaiah pronounces judgment on those who mindlessly pursue alcohol and partying. Isaiah 5:11 says, “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!”
The prophet rebukes those who begin drinking early in the day and continue late into the night. Their lives center around the pursuit of alcohol and pleasure. But this leads only to suffering, pain, emptiness, and “woe.”
Isaiah 5:22 – Woe to heroes of drinking wine
Isaiah 5:22 continues the woe upon those who are mighty warriors and champions of drinking alcohol: “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink.” In some societies, the ability to consume excessive amounts of alcohol is seen as something to boast about.
But the prophet warns that heavy drinking does not make one heroic at all. It leads only to impairment and bad decisions. According to the Bible, drunkenness should not be praised or normalized.
New Testament Verses About Drunkards
Matthew 24:49 – Evil servant gets drunk
In Matthew 24:49, Jesus tells a parable about an evil servant who begins “to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.” This illustrates how drunkenness is often associated with unrighteous behavior and mistreatment of others.
As Proverbs 31:4-5 states, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel – not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. “ Leaders and those in authority must avoid drunkenness in order to judge rightly.
Luke 21:34 – Don’t be weighed down with drunkenness
Luke 21:34 warns believers to “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” The implication is that drunkenness leads to distraction from godly living and spiritual vigilance.
Those who make a habit of excessive drinking often become complacent, neglecting their relationship with God.
Romans 13:13 – Behave properly, not in drunkenness
Paul exhorts Christians in Romans 13:13 to behave decently as “in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” He contrasts drunkenness with wholesome daytime living — suggesting it belongs to the shameful dark side of human behavior.
Believers should pursue temperance and sobriety instead.
1 Corinthians 5:11 – Don’t associate with drunkards
In calling for the expulsion of an immoral church member, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:11, “I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of a brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or swindler.
With such persons do not even eat.” Unrepentant drunkenness has no place among God’s people, as it erodes moral standards and community.
1 Corinthians 6:10 – Drunkards won’t inherit God’s kingdom
Paul bluntly states in 1 Corinthians 6:10 that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God, grouping “drunkards” together with other unrighteous categories like “idolaters,” “adulterers,” and “thieves.”
1 Corinthians 6:11, however, clarifies that believers used to lead these unrighteous lifestyles before they “were washed clean” by Christ’s atonement.
Galatians 5:21 – Drunkenness is a sinful desire
Galatians 5:21 lists drunkenness among the acts of the “sinful nature” which inhibit one’s relationship with God. Specifically, it is classified as part of that set of fleshly desires which violate God’s standards for purity and self-control.
Other Bible passages like Ephesians 5:18 confirm that drunkenness is a moral compromise that displeases God.
Ephesians 5:18 – Don’t get drunk on wine
Paul directly commands believers in Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Intoxication opens the door to all manner of reckless behavior, shifting one’s allegiance from God’s leading to pathic impulses.
By contrast, being continually renewed by Holy Spirit enables self-control. As one stays sensitive to God’s presence, the temptation to find artificial “release” through excessive substance use diminishes.
Bible Verses About the Dangers of Alcohol
Proverbs 23:29-35 – Alcohol bites and stings
The book of Proverbs contains many warnings about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Proverbs 23:29-35 describes how alcohol can lead people to poverty, sorrow, strife, complaints, and addiction. Consuming too much alcohol dulls the mind and senses, leading people to do foolish things that bring harm (Proverbs 23:33).
The Bible warns us not to gaze at wine or be led astray by its allure.
Isaiah 28:7 – Prophets and priests stagger with wine
Isaiah 28:7 laments how alcohol has corrupted the prophets and priests, the spiritual leaders of Israel. Instead of receiving clear guidance from God, they stagger and reel with wine, lacking discernment and compromised by drunkenness.
Their tables are covered with vomit rather than righteousness and justice. When those called to lead God’s people fall into alcohol abuse, it brings disorder, bad decisions, and a poor example that misleads others.
Hosea 4:11 – Alcohol promotes promiscuity
The prophet Hosea accused Israel of whoredom brought on by wine and new wine in Hosea 4:11. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, which often leads to sexual immorality and promiscuity outside of marriage.
Several Biblical accounts illustrate how alcohol contributed to sexually immoral behavior, such as the case of Lot and his daughters in Genesis 19:30-38.
1 Corinthians 6:12 – Don’t be mastered by anything
1 Corinthians 6:12 teaches believers to avoid being mastered by anything. While alcohol itself is not inherently sinful, it can easily become a controlling addiction that masters our lives. The Bible consistently warns against drunkenness and addiction, which destroys lives, families, careers, and testimonies.
As Christians, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, so we must exercise self-control and sobriety (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Being Sober-Minded and Self-Controlled
Proverbs 31:4-5 – Kings shouldn’t drink wine
Proverbs 31:4-5 warns that kings and rulers should not drink wine or strong drinks, lest they pervert justice and oppress the poor. Leaders need to be clear-headed and self-controlled in order to make wise decisions that protect the vulnerable.
The principles apply not just to kings, but to all in authority. As Peter wrote, “Be sober-minded…not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil” (1 Peter 2:16).
Romans 12:2 – Be transformed, discern God’s will
Romans 12:2 instructs believers to be transformed by the renewing of their minds in order to test and discern the will of God. Submitting to God’s Word enables self-control and sober judgment rooted in biblical truth, not the shifting values of culture.
As one lives according to the Spirit, the fruits of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” will result (Galatians 5:22-23).
Titus 2:2-6 – Older men and women must be sober
Paul urged Titus to teach older men and women to be self-controlled and sober-minded (Titus 2:2-6). With age comes experience and the responsibility to model wisdom and spiritual maturity for younger generations.
Rather than indulging fleshly desires, the aging should exemplify temperance and prudence, living uprightly while mentoring those following behind them.
1 Peter 1:13 – Be self-controlled and sober-minded
Living in hopeful expectation of Christ’s return, Peter exhorted believers to prepare their minds for action and be self-controlled (1 Peter 1:13). Just as soldiers steeling themselves for battle require rigorous mental focus, followers of Christ must gird themselves to resist distractions and fleshly impulses at odds with God’s will.
Sobriety of mind is essential to navigate this world with heavenly purpose.
1 Peter 4:7 – Be sober-minded for the sake of prayer
Peter connected sober-mindedness with prayer, writing “be sober-minded and watchful in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7). Temporary pleasures often compete for attention, hindering communication with God. But resisting overindulgence to remain mentally alert enables meaningful, vigilant prayer.
As Christ’s return draws nearer, staying spiritually sharp becomes increasingly urgent.
1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober and alert against the devil
Peter warned believers to “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan exploits opportunities afforded by diminished self-control or inebriation.
Maintaining sobriety and mental alertness provides greater discernment to detect subtle deception. Take care lest the Enemy gain ground throughIncremental compromise.
In summary, the Bible clearly speaks against drunkenness and addiction to alcohol. God expects His followers to be sober-minded and self-controlled.
At the same time, the Bible does not forbid drinking alcohol in moderation. Drunkenness and addiction are the real issues.
If you or someone you know struggles with alcoholism, seek help and remember that with God’s power, sobriety and restoration are possible.