The Bible is full of ancient wisdom and many teachings. People often wonder what it really teaches about drugs and alcohol. For example, there is the famous miracle of Jesus turning water into wine. If Jesus did that, does it mean that wine is acceptable to drink? While some churches teach that it is acceptable, others vehemently forbid it. What about drugs? Some people who support recreational marijuana use may argue that God created everything and called all creation good. For Christians, it is important to understand the Biblical teachings that relate to drug and alcohol use. Two key concepts to remember that are taught throughout the Bible are moderation and living an upright life. However, people who struggle with addiction know that moderation can be impossible because of how the disease works.
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The Biblical Perspective on Substance Abuse
Several references relating to substance misuse in the Bible are about how people use alcohol and the consequences. For instance, consuming too much alcohol means a person becomes drunk. In Ephesians 5:18, the Bible tells people to not be drunk with wine and to instead be filled with the Spirit.
Some people use 1 Timothy 5:23 as justification to drink wine. In that verse, Paul was writing to Timothy, and it is worth noting that Timothy suffered from physical ailments. Paul was telling him to drink a little wine for infirmity, which was common practice in those times. Those instructions were not to drink for pleasure or in excess. Proverbs 31 says to only give strong drink to those who are dying or in severe pain. It also says to not let princes drink wine because they forget wisdom. This means people in a place of authority may make poor decisions that even hurt others when they are drunk. Isaiah 5:11 talks about people who rise early in the morning to seek alcohol and stay up late drinking. The verse starts by saying woe to them, which means affliction, trouble or calamity.
Examples of Substance Use in the Bible
Although the Bible does not directly mention various drugs as people know them today, there are references to people using substances other than alcohol in ancient times. In the book of Exodus, chapter 7 talks about Pharaoh’s sorcerers and their sorcery. Modern English translations of references to witchcraft and sorcery often come from the word “pharmakia,” which can also mean drugs in the original Greek text. Historians believe that sorcerers were opium users then, and some say that an opium-based mixture was given to Jesus when He was on the cross.
There are many examples of people drinking wine in the Bible. The example mentioned earlier of the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine is one famous story. Also, Jesus gave His followers bread and wine during the last supper before His crucifixion. However, that wine was not consumed in excess, and the Bible forbids drunkenness.
Examples of drunkenness are usually tied to wicked or poor behavior. In 1 Samuel 25, there is a story of a wicked man named Nabal sheering his sheep and getting drunk afterward. Leviticus 10:1-9 shares a story of two priests who became drunk and went into the tabernacle to burn strange fires. Those are just a couple examples, and some have much worse endings.
Biblical Perspectives for Overcoming Addiction
1 Corinthians 6:12 notes that not all things are helpful even if they are lawful. The Bible also says in Proverbs 22:3 that the prudent take refuge when they see danger, and the simple pay the price because they keep going instead. Those two verses point to the importance of moderation and making wise decisions like choosing to overcome addiction instead of fueling it.
When people misuse substances, they alter parts of the brain responsible for making reasonable decisions. Proverbs 23:20-21 says to avoid being around people who eat or drink too much since those habits will lead them to poverty. This is still highly applicable today. People who do not get treatment may lose their jobs, money, homes, friends, health or even their lives. The Bible has more than 20 references about repentance. It is an important commandment and is similar to the concept of seeking addiction treatment.
Christian Views on Medication-Assisted Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) involves the use of a different medication to replace a substance. An example is using suboxone instead of heroin. The medications are often designed to address physical difficulties a person faces after stopping a substance. However, some Christians are against this practice since it still involves substance use. Others support it since it can reduce risks of more serious problems. MAT is not just medications. Another crucial element is behavioral therapy, and spiritual counseling is often an element of it for Christians. MAT has been shown to help people maintain employment, restore normal brain function and be less likely to relapse.
Support and Resources for Christians Struggling With Addiction
As long as you are alive, there is hope and a chance for repentance. God’s mercy is endless, and there are no sins so big that God will not forgive them when people ask and make a commitment to try to live a Christian life. It is normal to still make mistakes, and transformations take time. However, there are several valuable recovery resources for Christians battling addiction. These are some examples:
- Meditation, prayer and journaling routines
- Bible study groups
- 12-step meetings
- Regular meetings with clergy or an accountability partner
- Individual therapy with a Christian counselor
- Group therapy or Bible study with other Christians who struggle with addiction
Addiction Treatment for Christians in New Hampshire
The Bible says to be sober and vigilant because the devil roams about like a “roaring lion” seeking whom he may devour. That is a powerful illustration. A roaring lion means a very hungry one, and lions seeking prey often go after animals that are distracted or injured. Keeping a sober mind does not just mean avoiding substances that alter it and contribute to poor decisions. It also means tending to your spiritual life. For Christians, it is important to prioritize both addiction recovery and spiritual growth.
Live Free Recovery Services provides comprehensive treatment that addresses mind, body and soul. This means we make sure your religious or spiritual needs are also met. We help people break the cycle of addiction, regain their confidence and live a purposeful life in recovery. Please call us to learn more.