Q. Re: Is Alcohol a Sin? I go to a Church where it is preached that it is sinful. Proverbs 23:31 is often used. From my search and study I believe that it is sinful in excess, just as overeating is sinful, but moderate drinking is not. I’ve looked through commentaries and I still believe it’s only condemning drinking to excess. Does Prov. 23:31 say to not drink at all?
A. Proverbs 23:31 does not prohibit drinking, because that would contradict other passages that permit it. Understanding its meaning requires that we read it in the context of the two preceding verses. Taken as a whole they say;
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!”
This is a warning about the consequences of drinking too much. In effect, the passage is reminding us that too much alcohol can cloud our judgment. When the drinks start looking good and going down smoothly, it’s time to stop. People who don’t stop wind up causing trouble for themselves and others. Obviously, people who can’t stop shouldn’t begin.