The Berean - Proverbs 23:19-21 NKJV
(19) Hear, my son, and be wise;
And guide your heart in the way.
(20) Do not mix with winebibbers,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
(21) For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
(29) Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
(30) Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
(31) Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
(32) At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
(33) Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
(34) 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:
(35) “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?”
New King James Version
These verses are among those often quoted by those who believe that it is wrong to drink alcoholic beverages. They claim that this passage proves it is sin to drink wine, and by extension, any drink containing alcohol. However, this scripture does not say these things. What then does it say?
It warns that:
» The excessive drinking of alcohol is a sin. The winebibber drinks too much and too often.
» Improper use of alcohol is as poisonous as a snake’s venom (verse 32).
» God’s children should avoid company with winebibbers (verse 20; see also Matthew 24:49; I Corinthians 5:11).
» Poverty is just one potential negative result of drunkenness (verse 21).
» Other potential—even probable—negative consequences of chronic drunkenness include woe, sorrow, contentions, complaints, bloodshot eyes, hallucinations, nightmares, addiction, lack of self-control in speech and other matters, and bodily injuries without apparent cause—the cause being forgotten because of drunken stupor (verses 29, 33-34).
» We should not tarry long at wine (verse 30).
On this last warning, we know that a person who lingers where alcohol is consumed can so easily become a winebibber, or in plain, modern English, a drunkard. God, through Paul, lists drunkenness as one of the works of the flesh, warning that no drunkard will inherit God’s Kingdom:
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, . . . envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19, 21; emphasis ours)