Q. I was brought up to believe that there are two kinds of wine in the Bible. One that is alcoholic and one that is not. Talking to a friend recently, he believes that drinking wine is not a sin if you’re not using it to get drunk. So the question is: Is alcohol a sin? Could you provide me with verses that tell us that there are 2 different forms of wine in the Bible?
A. The Bible contains 238 references to wine, new wine, sour wine and wine vinegar. We presume that new wine had not yet fermented and therefore was non-alcoholic.
The drinking of wine and other alcoholic beverages is mentioned throughout the Bible in such a way that God could not have considered it a sin. He even authorized the Israelites to use their tithe money to buy wine or other fermented drink in celebrating the Fall Feast. (Deut. 14:24-26)
Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do”.
During the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) Jesus turned water into wine for the wedding banquet. Whether Jesus drank any Himself or not is irrelevant. He couldn’t have provided wine for the guests if it was a sin to drink it (James 1:13). In Matt. 11:18-19 He said people accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard because He enjoyed food and drink. He was obviously referring to fermented drink. And Paul encouraged Timothy to have a glass of wine for his stomach problems (1 Tim. 5:23).
The Bible does not say that drinking alcohol is a sin. But it does warn us against habitually drinking to a point of drunkenness (Romans 13:13, 1 Cor. 5:11).