What Is a Drunkard in The Bible?


Drunkenness and alcohol abuse are unfortunately common issues that many people struggle with today. The Bible has a lot to say about drunkenness and warns extensively about the dangers of alcohol abuse. As Christians, it’s important we have a biblical perspective on alcohol and understand what God says about drunkenness.

This blog post will provide a comprehensive, in-depth look at everything the Bible says about drunkards and drunkenness. We’ll examine relevant verses, analyze what they teach, and summarize key takeaways. My goal is to educate and inform Christians about the Bible’s perspective on alcohol so they can make wise, God-honoring decisions about drinking.

Key Takeaways:

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  • Drunkenness is strongly condemned throughout Scripture and listed as a serious sin.
  • God is deeply concerned about excessive drinking and intoxication.
  • The Bible promotes temperance and self-control when it comes to alcohol.
  • Drunkards face dire spiritual consequences and are called to repent.
  • As Christians, we must avoid drunkenness and care for drunkards.
What Is a Drunkard in The Bible?

What is a drunkard according to the Bible?

Let’s start by defining our terms. What exactly is a “drunkard” according to Scripture? Here are a few key points:

  • Someone given to excessive drinking: A drunkard is not simply someone who drinks alcohol, but someone excessively given over to drink who lacks self-control and discipline.
  • Someone addicted: A drunkard is a person addicted to alcohol, unable to control their drinking or stop.
  • Someone intoxicated: A drunkard refers to someone in a state of intoxication and drunkenness from drinking too much.
  • Someone behaving foolishly: A drunkard is someone acting foolishly, irrationally, and erratically under the influence of alcohol.

So in summary, a biblical drunkard is someone addicted to alcohol, lacking self-control, and routinely abusing it to the point of intoxication and its associated foolishness. With this definition in mind, let’s survey what Scripture says.

Drunkenness is condemned as a serious sin

The Bible consistently presents drunkenness as a serious sin and warns of its dangers. Here are some key verses:

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18, NKJV)

“Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness…” (Romans 13:13, NKJV)

“Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:10, NKJV)

“Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things.” (Proverbs 23:31-33, NKJV)

As we can see, the Bible consistently presents drunkenness as sinful, dangerous, and foolish. It’s prohibited and listed right alongside other grievous sins like sexual immorality, theft, and greed. Drunkards face exclusion from God’s kingdom and are called to repent. Scripture portrays intoxication as something that ruins lives and leads people into all kinds of trouble.

God cares deeply about excessive drinking

One thing that stands out in reading these verses is how much God cares about this issue. He warns extensively about the dangers of alcohol abuse not because He is against all drinking, but because He knows the immense damage it can do.

Proverbs 23:29-35 provides an extensive warning from a caring God who wants to spare us pain:

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent,And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” (NKJV)

This vivid warning shows God’s deep concern for those tempted to abuse alcohol. He cares enough to describe the pain, sorrow, and ruin that comes from drunkenness so that we avoid it. As this passage reveals, God does not take drunkenness lightly but sees it as foolishness to be avoided.

The Bible promotes temperance and self-control

While God condemns drunkenness, Scripture does not necessarily forbid all uses of alcohol. We see examples of godly people in the Bible drinking wine in moderation (John 2:1-11; 1 Timothy 5:23). What God prohibits is drinking in excess and allowing alcohol to control us. The key biblical principle is temperance and self-control. Consider these verses:

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

“All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12, NKJV)

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit…” (Ephesians 5:18, NKJV)

The Bible promotes enjoyment of God’s gifts like wine with mindfulness, self-control, and care for others. Drunkenness means allowing alcohol mastery over our faculties and behavior which Scripture clearly prohibits. As Christians, we must exercise wisdom and self-restraint when it comes to alcohol. Moderation guided by the Holy Spirit is key.

Drunkards face dire consequences

In addition to condemning drunkenness as sin, the Bible warns drunkards face very dire consequences if they persist in their ways. Here are some verses describing what Scripture says happens to drunkards:

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink…” (Isaiah 5:11, NKJV)

“For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty…” (Proverbs 23:21, NKJV)

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived…” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NKJV)

“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…” (2 Thessalonians 1:9, NKJV)

As we can see, the outcomes described for drunkards are extremely serious. Poverty, misery, exclusion from God’s kingdom, and eternal punishment await those given over to drunkenness who refuse to repent. These stern warnings underscore just how much God desires to spare people from the ravages of alcoholism.

Christians must avoid drunkenness and care for drunkards

Given everything Scripture teaches about drunkenness, it’s imperative Christians take this issue seriously and act accordingly:

  • We must avoid drunkenness ourselves: As believers, we are called to avoid intoxication and drunken behavior which dishonors God and damages our witness. We must model the temperance and self-control over alcohol that the Bible commands.
  • We must help and minister to drunkards: While clearly prohibiting drunkenness, Scripture also emphasizes reaching out to drunkards with hope, healing, and restoration through Christ. We must show love and compassion to those struggling with alcohol.
  • We must promote wise use of alcohol: Christians should advocate responsible use of alcohol in moderation guided by spiritual principles of self-control and avoiding harm to others.

The Bible provides clear guidance to help Christians make wise choices regarding alcohol. Drunkenness destroys lives and displeases God. But in Christ, there is hope for drunkards to find freedom through the transforming power of the Gospel. As believers, we must shine the light of God’s truth on this challenging issue.

Common objections

Now that we’ve surveyed the Bible’s teaching, let’s address some common objections people raise:

Objection: The Bible can’t condemn getting drunk occasionally. It only prohibits habitual drunkenness, right?

Response: Scripture consistently portrays any intoxication as dangerous and sinful, not just ongoing drunkenness. We are called to avoid it entirely.

Objection: Didn’t Jesus turn water into wine in John 2? Doesn’t this mean he approved of drinking alcohol?

Response: Jesus did miraculously produce wine, but it’s unclear if this wine was fully fermented. Even if it was, this does not mean Jesus condoned drunkenness, which Scripture clearly prohibits.

Objection: Aren’t you being judgmental and legalistic by telling people not to drink? Isn’t this a matter of personal freedom?

Response: The Bible consistently portrays drunkenness as dangerous and sinful. Warning fellow believers about its risks is not legalism but love.

Objection: Isn’t the real issue drunkenness itself, not the drinking? Shouldn’t the focus be on self-control?

Response: That’s a valid point. The Bible does condemn drunkenness while allowing responsible drinking. But Scriptural warnings imply very restrictive limits on alcohol use to avoid sin.

As we can see, the objections do not stand up to what Scripture clearly teaches about the dangers of alcohol abuse and the importance of temperance.

Key Bible passages on drunkenness

To conclude this survey of the Bible on drunkards, here is a selection of key verses for further study:

  • Proverbs 23:29-35 – Warning against the dangers of excessive drinking
  • Isaiah 5:11-12 – Woe to those who chase after alcohol early in the morning
  • Habakkuk 2:15-16 – Woe to those who get neighbors drunk
  • 1 Corinthians 5:11 – Warning not to associate with drunkards
  • Ephesians 5:18 – Do not get drunk on wine but be filled with the Spirit
  • 1 Timothy 3:8 – Deacons must not be addicted to alcohol
  • Titus 1:7 – Elders must not be drunkards

These and other passages paint a consistent picture – drunkenness is a dangerous sin that destroys lives. As Christians, we must heed Scripture’s warnings and call drunkards to repentance and restoration.


In summary, the Bible clearly defines a drunkard as someone given over to excessive drinking and intoxication. Drunkenness is portrayed as a serious sin that permeates society and destroys lives. God cares deeply and warns extensively against alcohol abuse so that people may avoid its hazards. As Christians, we are called to model the temperance and self-control over alcohol that honors God. While avoiding judgment, we must lovingly help drunkards find freedom in Christ and warn all believers against the dangers of intoxication. My hope is this overview equips us to apply the Bible’s timeless teachings to this vital issue.

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