Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Is Drinking a Sin? 5 Bible Verses that Say "No!"

As Catholics we know there is nothing wrong with moderate consumption of alcohol (drunkenness is another issue to be looked at tomorrow). In fact, the holy thing we can possibly do (celebrate Mass) climaxes with Jesus becoming present among us precisely under the appearance of bread and wine. While many people in society think nothing of drinking, there are some Protestant Christians (Baptists, "Dry" Methodists) who condemn any consumption of alcohol as sinful. As these Christians come from a sola scriptura ("the Bible and the Bible alone") theological outlook, it might be helpful for Catholics, especially those living in the South, to have a few Bible verses handy for encounters with these Protestants. Here are my top five (two from the Old Testament, three from the New):

1. Genesis 27:25
Issac, before giving the blessing of the covenant to his son Jacob (thinking he is Esau) drinks game and wine 
And he said, "Are you really my son Esau?" And he said, "I am." So he said, "Bring it to me, and I will eat of my son's game, that I may bless you." And he brought it to him, and he ate; he also brought him wine and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, "Please come close and kiss me, my son."Then he said, "My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing." Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. (Gen 27:24-25)
2. Ecclesiastes 9:7
Isaac of course was a holy man, a patriarch of the Old Covenant, but perhaps our Southern Baptist brothers will suggest that he sinned when he drank the wine before imparting his blessing. Here in Ecclesiastes chapter 9 we see that God Himself approves of drinking wine
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.  Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.  Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10)
3. Luke 7:34
That, of course, was the Old Testament. Jesus, our Baptist brethren might reply, certainly wouldn't want us drinking alcohol! Then again...
Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“‘We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
    and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” (Luke 7:31-35)
4. John 2:2-10
The Wedding at Cana. Jesus first miracle. He turns a non-alcoholic beverage (water) into an alcoholic beverage (wine). Not just any wine either, the best wine of all.
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so,  and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. (John 2:1-12)
5. 1 Timothy 5:23
St. Paul writing to Timothy tells him to drink wine. Period.
Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. (1 Timothy 5:23)
So the Bible tells us to stop "drinking only water" and to instead "drink wine with a joyous heart" just like Isaac and Jesus Himself. Of course, the Catholic Church has taught this all along, which is why

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine


  1. Those Suthin' Baptists would FAINT if they read Chesterton!

    1. That they would, which is all the more reason to get some of his writings into their hands!