Drunkenness

Preaching and Worship Resources about Drunkenness

Drunkenness is an unhealthy physiological state caused by excessive intake of alcohol.

In Scripture

Drunkenness as folly "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise" (Prov. 20:1). "Do not be among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe them with rags" (Prov. 23:20 - 21). "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger late over wine, those who keep trying mixed wines. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cupand goes down smoothly. At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. `They struck me,' you will say, `but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink'" (Prov. 23:29 - 35). "These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are confused with wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment" (Isa. 28:7). "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink; or else they will drink and forget what has been decreed, and will pervert the rights of all the afflicted" (Prov. 31:4 - 5). "Wine and new wine take away the understanding" (Hos. 4:11).

Drunkenness in vice lists "I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one" (1 Cor. 5:11). "Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19 - 21). "Deacons . . . must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money" (1 Tim. 3:8).

Honor in avoiding drunkenness "[L]et us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy" (Rom. 13:13). "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple" (1 Cor. 3:16 - 17). "Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8).

Points to Ponder

A prime piece of folly If we run our eye down the list of texts just cited, it's not hard to see why Scripture condemns drunkenness. A prime piece of folly, drunkenness lowers inhibitions, resulting in mockery and brawling. Or, drunkenness makes people drowsy, and disinclined to bestir themselves. So their work suffers and then their income. Drunkenness causes perversions of thought, including hallucinations. And when habitual, drunkenness leads right into the addictive trap. Drunken persons with hangovers often ease their pain with another drink. That springs the trap: trying to relieve pain with the same thing that caused it. Drinks go down smoothly, but then bite you. Drunken rulers pervert justice. Drunken prophets and priests lose their good judgment. Drunkenness leads to quarrelling. Long-term drunkenness damages or even destroys our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit.

On campus Most college campuses in the U.S. have tightened restrictions on alcohol on campus because of the appalling things that happen to young persons who are drunk. They brawl. They get sick or die from alcohol poisoning. They fall out of windows and break their bones. They have sex they can't remember the next day.

In family systems Social workers can talk for hours about the damage caused within family systems by habitual drunkenness. Drunk parents and spouses lie to hide their drunkenness or the extent of their drunkenness. They deceive even themselves. A parent might drink up the food money or the rent money. After a time, there isn't any food or rent money because a parent has drunk himself or herself out of his job. Drunk parents might beat their kids or their spouse.

In the economy Countries with high alcohol consumption cultures find that drunkenness robs their economy of worker productivity, their discourse of civility, their road traffic of sanity.

A classic form of vice Galatians 5 shows the unlovely company drunkenness keeps. It's a classic form of vice. To understand why, all you have to do is to imagine the myriad sorrows that fill in the blank at the end of a sentence that begins, "But then he got drunk and . . . ."


Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.