What Does the Bible Say About Smoking and Drinking?

Smoking and drinking alcohol are practices that many Christians have differing views on. Some believe they are acceptable in moderation, while others view them as sinful habits to avoid altogether. In this comprehensive blog post, we will examine what the Bible says about smoking and drinking to help Christians understand God’s perspective on these practices.


Smoking and drinking alcohol are very common in modern society, though views among Christians on whether these practices are acceptable for believers vary quite a bit. Some churches prohibit smoking and drinking as sinful, while others don’t object as long as these behaviors are done in moderation. What guidance does the Bible provide on these issues? Let’s take a detailed look at relevant scriptures and Biblical principles that apply.

Key Takeaways:

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  • The Bible does not explicitly prohibit smoking or drinking alcohol, though it warns against drunkenness and addiction.
  • Christians are called to honor God with their bodies and not be mastered by anything. This principle applies to smoking and drinking.
  • While the Bible permits alcohol in moderation, there are good reasons for Christians to abstain from smoking given its addictive and harmful effects.
  • Biblical principles of self-control, avoiding addiction, and fleeing from youthful lusts can shape Christians’ views on smoking and drinking.
  • Christians have freedom in Christ, but should be careful not to let their liberty lead others into sin.
What Does the Bible Say About Smoking and Drinking?

What the Bible Says About Alcohol Consumption

There are a number of passages in the Bible that mention alcohol consumption. We will look at the key scriptures and principles that speak to this issue. While the Bible does not condemn the consumption of alcohol outright, it does condemn drunkenness and addiction.

Wine in Moderation is Allowed

One of the most well-known references to alcohol in the Bible is when Jesus miraculously turned water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana:

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11 NKJV)

Jesus willingly participated in an event where wine was served and even provided additional wine when supplies ran out. This shows that consuming alcohol in moderation was accepted.

In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul advised Timothy to “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” Again, this demonstrates that consuming wine in moderation was allowable.

However, drunkenness was always condemned. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” While wine could be consumed, Christians were instructed not to allow it to result in drunkenness.

Freedom in Christ

The New Testament makes it clear that Christians have freedom in Christ. Though we are free from sin and condemnation, God still desires us to live holy lives:

Romans 6:11-14 NKJV – Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Galatians 5:1 NKJV – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

1 Peter 2:16 NKJV – Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

With our freedom comes responsibility. We are to avoid sin and anything that could bring addiction or control our lives.

Avoid Drunkenness and Addiction

While moderate drinking was permitted, the Bible clearly warns against drunkenness and addiction to alcohol:

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

1 Corinthians 6:12 NKJV – All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Proverbs 20:1 NKJV – Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

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

Christians should avoid any addictive or destructive behavior, including addiction to alcohol. While moderate drinking may be permitted, drunkenness always leads to bad outcomes.

Honor God with Your Body

The Bible calls us to honor God with our bodies and live in a way pleasing to the Lord:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV – Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Romans 12:1 NKJV – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

We honor God by using wisdom and self-control over our bodies. This principle certainly relates to how we handle practices like drinking alcohol. Moderation and restraint glorify God much more than overindulgence and addiction.

What the Bible Says About Smoking

Unlike alcohol consumption, the Bible does not directly address cigarette smoking anywhere. Since smoking did not exist in Biblical times, scripture does not explicitly prohibit or endorse it. However, applying Biblical principles can help us discern God’s perspective on this practice.

Our Bodies Are Temples of the Holy Spirit

As mentioned regarding alcohol, God calls us to honor Him with our bodies and use them for His glory:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV – Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Smoking cigarettes defiles the body and harms health in various ways. This seems incompatible with honoring our body as God’s temple.

Be Self-Controlled and Avoid Enslavement

The Bible promotes self-control and instructs believers to avoid addictions:

2 Peter 1:5-6 NKJV – But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness.

1 Corinthians 6:12 NKJV – All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Smoking is extremely addictive due to nicotine and very difficult to quit once started. It easily leads to loss of self-control and enslavement for many.

Avoid Youthful Lusts

2 Timothy 2:22 NKJV instructs us to “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Smoking often begins during youth out of mere curiosity, peer pressure, or rebellious lusts. It is not a righteous pursuit.

Steward Resources Wisely

As God’s stewards, we are called to use money and resources entrusted to us wisely, not squandering them on fleeting pleasures:

Proverbs 21:20 NKJV – There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it.

Buying cigarette packs or cartons is a very unwise use of money. The cost adds up extremely quickly.

Give No Offense

While having freedom in Christ, we are to be careful how we use our liberty around others:

1 Corinthians 10:32-33 NKJV – Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Smoking has detrimental effects on bystanders due to second-hand smoke. It also communicates the wrong message to weaker Christians and youth. While permitted, it may be wise to abstain for the sake of others.

Conclusion on Smoking

While the Bible does not expressly prohibit smoking, applying scriptural principles shows it is an unwise habit for Christians to engage in. Given its addictiveness and harmful effects, smokers easily become enslaved and defile their bodies which are meant to honor God.

Biblical Principles to Guide Decisions

When addressing issues the Bible does not directly mention, it helps to extract higher Biblical principles that can guide our application. Here are some key principles from scripture that help shape Christian perspectives on smoking and drinking:

  • Our bodies and lives belong to God, so honor Him in how you use them.
  • Do not let anything enslave or control you except the Holy Spirit. Avoid addictions.
  • Exercise wise stewardship over money and resources entrusted to you.
  • Make choices motivated by love for God and others, not selfishness.
  • While having freedom in Christ, be careful to not let your liberty lead others into sin.
  • Flee from youthful lusts and pursue maturity and righteousness.
  • Do everything for the glory of God.

Applying principles like these will lead Christians to moderate, wise, and loving decisions about matters the Bible does not directly address.

Being Led by the Spirit

Beyond applying Biblical principles, Christians also have the Holy Spirit to guide them into truth and righteous living:

John 16:13 NKJV – However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Romans 8:14 NKJV – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Galatians 5:16 NKJV – I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

As we grow in relationship with Christ, study the Word, and yield to the Spirit’s leading, He will guide us away from harmful practices and toward living holy lives. Through the Spirit, we gain wisdom beyond mere rules and regulations.

Living in Freedom and Responsibility

Smoking and drinking alcohol are issues that Christians view very differently. Through examining the Bible, we see that neither are strictly prohibited but that both should be approached carefully with wisdom.

As believers, we have amazing freedom in Christ. Jesus’ death and resurrection abolished legalism. However, God still earnestly desires us to live holy lives that honor Him and serve others. We must use wisdom in how we exercise our liberty.

Ultimately, each Christian must be fully convinced in their own mind about disputable matters like these, as Romans 14:5 exhorts. And we should not judge one another over debatable issues where the Bible does not provide absolute clarity.

If we are prayerful, steeped in scripture, and sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, God will direct us to make wise, loving choices about how to handle practices like smoking and drinking. We have the freedom as believers to handle them differently, but should do so in a way that glorifies our Lord.

Above all, may we remember Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” As we seek God’s wisdom, He will guide us to live holy and pleasing lives before Him by His Spirit.

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