Alcohol abuse in the New Testament

I just found this abstract of a 1987 article from the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism that reviewed attitudes to alcohol in the Bible, and found that boozing was looked on considerably more favourably in the Old Testament than the New.

Alcohol abuse in the New Testament.

Seller SC.

Alcohol and Alcoholism. 1987;22(1):83-90.

The New Testament is similar to the Old Testament in terms of some fundamental attitudes towards alcohol. St Paul, for example, in the spirit of the Old Testament, unequivocally condemns drunkenness but recommends the consumption of wine in moderate amounts. Nevertheless, there are significant differences in emphasis between the two documents. Wine is referred to as God’s gift in six of the books from the Old Testament, and no such description is offered in the New Testament. Total abstention seems acceptable only under exceptional circumstances in the Old Testament, while it is implicitly extolled through the exemplary role of John the Baptist in the New Testament. Finally, penalties for drunkards, including loss of salvation, are proportionally more frequent and comprehensive in the New Testament.

Link to PubMed entry for article.

One thought on “Alcohol abuse in the New Testament”

  1. The difference is really interesting in alcohol use between the Old and New testaments, and even into modern teachings among some Christian faiths. I don’t know if boozing was actually looked on favorably in the OT (I seem to remember the account of Noah getting drunk and that being frowned on?).
    Alcohol abuse affects millions. This site has a lot of useful information.

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