Jump to: ATSISBEWebster'sConcordanceThesaurusGreekHebrewLibrarySubtopicsTerms
ATS Bible Dictionary

Is referred to in the Bible both in single instances and as a habit. Its folly is often illustrated, Psalm 107:27 Isaiah 19:14 24:20 28:7,8, its guilt denounced, Isaiah 5:22, its ill results traced, 1 Samuel 25:36 1 Kings 16:9 20:16, and its doom shown, 1 1 Corinthians 6:9,10. It is produced by wine, Genesis 9:21 21:33 Jeremiah 23:9 Ephesians 5:18, as well as by "strong drink," 1 Samuel 1:13-15 Isaiah 5:11. Hence the use of these was forbidden to the priests at the altar, Le 10:9; and all are cautioned to avoid them, Proverbs 20:1 23:20. To tempt others to drunkenness is a sin accursed of God, 2 Samuel 11:13 Habakkuk 2:15,16. Its prevalence in a community is inseparable from the habitual use of any inebriating liquor. Hence the efforts made by the wise and good to secure abstinence from all intoxicating drinks, 1 1 Corinthians 8:13. See WINE.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) The state of being drunken with, or as with, alcoholic liquor; intoxication; inebriety; -- used of the casual state or the habit.

2. (n.) Disorder of the faculties, resembling intoxication by liquors; inflammation; frenzy; rage.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

I. Its Prevalance.

The Bible affords ample proof that excessive drinking of intoxicants was a common vice among the Hebrews, as among other ancient peoples. This is evident not only from individual cases of intoxication, as Noah (Genesis 9:21), Lot (Genesis 19:33, 15), Nabal (1 Samuel 25:36), Uriah made drunk by David (2 Samuel 11:13), Amnon (2 Samuel 13:28), Elah, king of Israel (1 Kings 16:9), Benhadad, king of Syria, and his confederates (1 Kings 20:16), Holofernes (Judith 13:2), etc., but also from frequent references to drunkenness as a great social evil. Thus, Amos proclaims judgment on the voluptuous and dissolute rulers of Samaria "that drink wine in (large) bowls" (Amos 6:6), and the wealthy ladies who press their husbands to join them in a carousal (Amos 4:1); he also complains that this form of self-indulgence was practiced even at the expense of the poor and under the guise of religion, at the sacrificial meals (Amos 2:8; see also Isaiah 5:11, 12, 22; Isaiah 28:1-8; 56:11). Its prevalence is also reflected in many passages in the New Testament (e.g. Matthew 24:49 Luke 21:34 Acts 2:13, 15 Ephesians 5:18 1 Thessalonians 5:7). Paul complains that at Corinth even the love-feast of the Christian church which immediately preceded the celebration of the Eucharist, was sometimes the scene of excessive drinking (1 Corinthians 11:21). It must, however, be noted that it is almost invariably the well-to-do who are charged with this vice in the Bible. There is no evidence to prove that it prevailed to any considerable extent among the common people. Intoxicants were then an expensive luxury, beyond the reach of the poorer classes. See DRINK, STRONG.

II. Its Symptoms and Effects.

These are most vividly portrayed:

(1) some of its physical symptoms (Job 12:25 Psalm 107:27 Proverbs 23:29 Isaiah 19:14; Isaiah 28:8; Isaiah 29:9 Jeremiah 25:16);

(2) its mental effects: exhilaration (Genesis 43:34), jollity and mirth (1 Esdras 3:20), forgetfulness (1 Esdras 3:20), loss of understanding and balance of judgment (Isaiah 28:7 Hosea 4:11);

(3) its effects on man's happiness and prosperity: its immediate effect is to make one oblivious of his misery; but ultimately it "biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder," and leads to woe and sorrow (Proverbs 23:29-32) and to poverty (Proverbs 23:21; compare Proverbs 21:17; Ecclesiasticus 19:1); hence, wine is called a "mocker" deceiving the unwise (Proverbs 20:1);

(4) its moral and spiritual effects: it leads to a maladministration of justice (Proverbs 31:5 Isaiah 5:23), provokes anger and a contentious, brawling spirit (Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29; 1 Esdras 3:22; Ecclesiasticus 31:26, 29), and conduces to a profligate life (Ephesians 5:18; "riot," literally, profligacy). It is allied with gambling and licentiousness (Joel 3:3), and indecency (Genesis 9:21 f). Above all, it deadens the spiritual sensibilities, produces a callous indifference to religious influences and destroys all serious thought (Isaiah 5:12).

III. Attitude of the Bible to the Drink Question.

Intemperance is condemned in uncompromising terms by the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well as by the semi-canonical writings. While total abstinence is not prescribed as a formal and universal rule, broad principles are laid down, especially in the New Testament, which point in that direction.

1. In the Old Testament:

In the Old Testament, intemperance is most repugnant to the stern ethical rigorism of the prophets, as well as to the more utilitarian sense of propriety of the "wisdom" writers. As might be expected, the national conscience was but gradually quickened to the evil of immoderate drinking. In the narratives of primitive times, excessive indulgence, or at least indulgence to the point of exhilaration, is mentioned without censure as a natural thing, especially on festive occasions (as in Genesis 43:34 the Revised Version, margin). But a conscience more sensitive to the sinfulness of overindulgence was gradually developed, and is reflected in the denunciations of the prophets and the warning of the wise men (compare references under I and II, especially Isaiah 5:11, Isaiah 22; Isaiah 28:1-8 Proverbs 23:29-33). Nowhere is the principle of total abstinence inculcated as a rule applicable to all. In particular cases it was recognized as a duty. Priests while on duty in the sanctuary were to abstain from wine and strong drink (Leviticus 10:9; compare Ezekiel 44:21). Nazirites were to abstain from all intoxicants during the period of their vows (Numbers 6:3; compare Amos 2:12), yet not on account of the intoxicating qualities of wine, but because they represented the simplicity of the older pastoral life, as against the Canaanite civilization which the vine symbolized (W. R. Smith, Prophets of Israel, 84). So also the Rechabites abstained from wine (Jeremiah 35:6, 8, 14) and social conveniences, because they regarded the nomadic life as more conducive to Yahweh-worship than agricultural and town life, with its temptations to Baal-worship. In Daniel and his comrades we have another instance of voluntary abstinence (Daniel 1:8-16). These, however, are isolated instances. Throughout the Old Testament the use of wine appears as practically universal, and its value is recognized as a cheering beverage (Judges 9:13 Psalm 104:15 Proverbs 31:7), which enables the sick to forget their pains (Proverbs 31:6). Moderation, however, is strongly inculcated and there are frequent warnings against the temptation and perils of the cup.

2. Deutero-Canonical and Extra-Canonical Writings:

In Apocrypha, we have the attitude of prudence and common sense, but the prophetic note of stern denunciation is wanting. The path of wisdom is the golden mean. "Wine is as good as life to men, if thou drink it in its measure;. wine drunk in season and to satisfy is joy of heart, and gladness of soul: wine drunk largely is bitterness of soul, with provocation and conflict" (Ecclesiasticus 31:27-30 the Revised Version (British and American)). A vivid picture of the effects of wine-drinking is given in 1 Esdras. 3:18-24. Stronger teaching on the subject is given in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. The use of wine is permitted to him who can use it temperately, but abstinence is enjoined as the wiser course (Testament to the Twelve Patriarchs, Judges 1:16:3).

3. In the New Testament:

In the New Testament, intemperance is treated as a grave sin. Only once, indeed, does our Lord explicitly condemn drunkenness (Luke 21:34), though it is implicitly condemned in other passages (Matthew 24:49 = Luke 12:45). The meagerness of the references in our Lord's teaching is probably due to the fact already mentioned, that it was chiefly prevalent among the wealthy, and not among the poorer classes to whom our Lord mainly ministered. The references in Paul's writings are very numerous (Galatians 5:21 Ephesians 5:18, et al.). Temperance and sobriety in all things are everywhere insisted on (e.g. Acts 24:25 Galatians 5:23 2 Peter 1:6). A bishop and those holding honorable position in the church should not be addicted to wine (1 Timothy 3:2 Titus 1:7; Titus 2:2 f). Yet Jesus and His apostles were not ascetics, and the New Testament gives no rough-and-ready prohibition of strong drink on principle. In contrast with John the Baptist, who was a Nazirite from birth (Luke 1:15), Jesus was called by His enemies a "wine-bibber" (Matthew 11:19). He took part in festivities in which wine was drunk (John 2:10).

There are indications that He regarded wine as a source of innocent enjoyment (Luke 5:38; Luke 17:8). To insist on a distinction between intoxicating and unfermented wine is a case of unjustifiable special pleading. It must be borne in mind that the drink question is far more complex and acute in modern than in Biblical times, and that the conditions of the modern world have given rise to problems which were not within the horizon of New Testament writers. The habit of excessive drinking has spread enormously among the common people, owing largely to the cheapening of alcoholic drinks. The fact that the evil exists today in greater proportions may call for a drastic remedy and a special crusade. But rather than defend total abstinence by a false or forced exegesis, it were better to admit that the principle is not formally laid down in the New Testament, while maintaining that there are broad principles enunciated, which in view of modern conditions should lead to voluntary abstinence from all intoxicants. Such principles may be found, e.g. in our Lord's teaching in Matthew 16:24; Mark 9:42, and in the great Pauline passages- Romans 14:13-21 1 Corinthians 8:8-13.

IV. Drunkenness in Metaphor.

Drunkenness very frequently supplies Biblical writers with striking metaphors and similes. Thus, it symbolizes intellectual or spiritual perplexity (Job 12:25 Isaiah 19:14 Jeremiah 23:9), bewilderment and helplessness under calamity (Jeremiah 13:13 Ezekiel 23:33). It furnishes a figure for the movements of sailors on board ship in a storm (Psalm 107:27), and for the convulsions of the earth on the day of Yahweh (Isaiah 24:20). Yahweh's "cup of staggering" is a symbol of affliction, the fury of the Lord causing stupor and confusion (Isaiah 51:17-23; compare Isaiah 63:6 Jeremiah 25:15 Ezekiel 23:33 Psalm 75:8). The sword and the arrow are said to be sodden with drink like a drunkard with wine (Deuteronomy 32:42 Jeremiah 46:10). In the Apocalypse, Babylon (i.e. Rome) is portrayed under the figure of a "great harlot" who makes kings "drunken with the wine of her fornication"; and who is herself "drunken with the blood of the saints, and. of the martyrs of Jesus" (Revelation 17:2, 6).

D. Miall Edwards

3178. methe -- drunkenness
... drunkenness. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: methe Phonetic Spelling:
(meth'-ay) Short Definition: drunkenness Definition: deep drinking ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3178.htm - 6k

3632. oinophlugia -- drunkenness, debauchery
... drunkenness, debauchery. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: oinophlugia
Phonetic Spelling: (oy-nof-loog-ee'-ah) Short Definition: drunkenness ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3632.htm - 6k

1594. eknepho -- to become sober (after drunkenness)
... to become sober (after drunkenness). Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: eknepho
Phonetic Spelling: (ek-nay'-fo) Short Definition: I return to soberness of ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/1594.htm - 7k

2897. kraipale -- drunken nausea
... Probably from the same as harpazo; properly, a headache (as a seizure of pain) from
drunkenness, ie (by implication) a debauch (by analogy, a glut ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2897.htm - 6k

271. amethustos -- amethyst
... Definition: amethyst (a kind of rock crystal: the best specimens are the color of
unmixed wine, whence perhaps the name), believed to stave off drunkenness. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/271.htm - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
7943. shikkaron -- drunkenness
... 7942, 7943. shikkaron. 7944 . drunkenness. Transliteration: shikkaron Phonetic
Spelling: (shik-kaw-rone') Short Definition: drunkenness. ...
/hebrew/7943.htm - 6k

8358. shethi -- a drinking, drinking bout
... 8357, 8358. shethi. 8359 . a drinking, drinking bout. Transliteration: shethi
Phonetic Spelling: (sheth-ee') Short Definition: drunkenness. ... drunkenness. ...
/hebrew/8358.htm - 6k

7302. raveh -- watered
... Word Origin from ravah Definition watered NASB Word Usage watered (3). drunkenness,
watered. From ravah; sated (with drink) -- drunkenness, watered. ...
/hebrew/7302.htm - 6k

7942. Shikkeron -- a city on NW border of Judah
... Shicron. For shikkarown; drunkenness, Shikkeron, a place in Palestine -- Shicron.
see HEBREW shikkarown. 7941, 7942. Shikkeron. 7943 . Strong's Numbers.
/hebrew/7942.htm - 6k


Whether Drunkenness is a Sin?
... OF DRUNKENNESS (FOUR ARTICLES) Whether drunkenness is a sin? Objection 1: It would
seem that drunkenness is not a sin. ... But no sin is opposed to drunkenness. ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether drunkenness is a sin.htm

Whether Drunkenness is a Mortal Sin?
... OF DRUNKENNESS (FOUR ARTICLES) Whether drunkenness is a mortal sin? Objection
1: It would seem that drunkenness is not a mortal sin. ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether drunkenness is a mortal.htm

Whether Drunkenness is the Gravest of Sins?
... OF DRUNKENNESS (FOUR ARTICLES) Whether drunkenness is the gravest of sins? Objection
1: It would seem that drunkenness is the gravest of sins. ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether drunkenness is the gravest.htm

Whether Drunkenness Excuses from Sin?
... OF DRUNKENNESS (FOUR ARTICLES) Whether drunkenness excuses from sin? Objection
1: It would seem that drunkenness does not excuse from sin. ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether drunkenness excuses from sin.htm

The Heinous Sin of Drunkenness
... The Heinous Sin of Drunkenness. Ephesians 5:18 " "Be not drunk with Wine,
wherein is Excess; but be filled with the Spirit." The ...
/.../selected sermons of george whitefield/the heinous sin of drunkenness.htm

Of Drunkenness (Four Articles)
... OF DRUNKENNESS (FOUR ARTICLES). We must now consider drunkenness. Under this head
there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether drunkenness is a sin? ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/of drunkenness four articles .htm

... II. DRUNKENNESS. ... II. BEWARE OF THE SOCIAL GLASS. The first and least thing that
one can do to destroy drunkenness, is to be a total abstainer. ...
/.../judy/questionable amusements and worthy substitutes/ii drunkenness.htm

Of the Ways in which Our Soul is Weighed Down.
... mention adultery, or fornication, or murder, or blasphemy, or rapine, which everybody
knows to be deadly and damnable, but surfeiting and drunkenness, and the ...
/.../cassian/the works of john cassian /chapter v of the ways.htm

Whether Ignorance Diminishes a Sin?
... sin if committed by a man when sober, than if committed by a man when drunk, although
in the latter case there are two sins: because drunkenness diminishes the ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether ignorance diminishes a sin.htm

Whether a Circumstance Can Make a Venial Sin to be Mortal?
... xli) that "if anger continue for a long time, or if drunkenness be frequent, they
become mortal sins." But anger and drunkenness are not mortal but venial sins ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether a circumstance can make.htm

Drunkenness (10 Occurrences)
... rage. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. DRUNKENNESS. I. Its Prevalance.
The Bible ... 13. IV. Drunkenness in Metaphor. Drunkenness very ...
/d/drunkenness.htm - 24k

Carousing (4 Occurrences)
... Luke 21:34 "So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing,
drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly. ...
/c/carousing.htm - 7k

Orgies (4 Occurrences)
... Romans 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness,
not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy. ...
/o/orgies.htm - 8k

Licentiousness (10 Occurrences)
... Romans 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness,
not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy. ...
/l/licentiousness.htm - 9k

Revellings (2 Occurrences)
... the flesh. In 1 Peter 4:3 it is spoken of the Gentiles and is classcd with
drunkenness and carousings and such like. In Romans 13 ...
/r/revellings.htm - 8k

Envying (8 Occurrences)
... Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness,
not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (KJV WBS). ...
/e/envying.htm - 8k

Debauchery (9 Occurrences)
... Romans 13:13 Living as we do in broad daylight, let us conduct ourselves becomingly,
not indulging in revelry and drunkenness, nor in lust and debauchery, nor ...
/d/debauchery.htm - 9k

Satiety (12 Occurrences)
... (YLT). Ezekiel 39:19 And ye have eaten fat to satiety, And ye have drunk blood --
to drunkenness, Of My sacrifice that I sacrificed for you. (YLT). ...
/s/satiety.htm - 10k

Drink (414 Occurrences)
... shakhar, "to be or become drunk" (Genesis 9:21 Isaiah 29:9 Jeremiah 25:27, etc.);
compare the word for drunkard (shikkar), and for drunkenness (shikkaron) from ...
/d/drink.htm - 45k

Strong (736 Occurrences)
... shakhar, "to be or become drunk" (Genesis 9:21 Isaiah 29:9 Jeremiah 25:27, etc.);
compare the word for drunkard (shikkar), and for drunkenness (shikkaron) from ...
/s/strong.htm - 44k

Bible Concordance
Drunkenness (10 Occurrences)

Luke 21:34 "So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly.

Romans 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy.

Galatians 5:21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Titus 1:7 For the overseer must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain;
(See NIV)

1 Peter 4:3 For you have given time enough in the past to the doing of the things which the Gentiles delight in-- pursuing, as you did, a course of habitual licence, debauchery, hard drinking, noisy revelry, drunkenness and unholy image-worship.

Ecclesiastes 10:17 Happy are you, land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

Jeremiah 13:13 Then you shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings who sit on David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.

Ezekiel 23:33 You shall be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of your sister Samaria.

Ezekiel 39:19 And ye have eaten fat to satiety, And ye have drunk blood -- to drunkenness, Of My sacrifice that I sacrificed for you.

Haggai 1:6 Ye have sown much, and brought in little, To eat, and not to satiety, To drink, and not to drunkenness, To clothe, and none hath heat, And he who is hiring himself out, Is hiring himself for a bag pierced through.



Drunkenness is a Work of the Flesh

Drunkenness is Debasing

Drunkenness is Inflaming

Drunkenness: Ahasuerus

Drunkenness: Avoid Those Given To

Drunkenness: Belshazzar

Drunkenness: Benhadad

Drunkenness: Ben-Hadad and his Thirty-Two Confederate Kings

Drunkenness: Caution Against

Drunkenness: Corinthians

Drunkenness: Denunciations Against: Those Given To

Drunkenness: Denunciations Against: Those Who Encourage

Drunkenness: Elah

Drunkenness: Excludes from Heaven

Drunkenness: False Teachers often Addicted To

Drunkenness: Falsely Accused of Hannah

Drunkenness: Falsely Accused of Jesus

Drunkenness: Falsely Accused of The Apostles

Drunkenness: Figurative

Drunkenness: Folly of Yielding To

Drunkenness: Forbidden

Drunkenness: General Scriptures Concerning

Drunkenness: Leads to Contempt of God's Works

Drunkenness: Leads to Error

Drunkenness: Leads to Poverty

Drunkenness: Leads to Rioting and Wantonness

Drunkenness: Leads to Scorning

Drunkenness: Leads to Strife

Drunkenness: Leads to Woe and Sorrow

Drunkenness: Lot

Drunkenness: Nabal

Drunkenness: Noah

Drunkenness: Overcharges the Heart

Drunkenness: Punishment of

Drunkenness: Takes Away the Heart

Drunkenness: The Wicked Addicted To

Drunkenness: Uriah

Related Terms

Carousing (4 Occurrences)

Orgies (4 Occurrences)

Licentiousness (10 Occurrences)

Revellings (2 Occurrences)

Envying (8 Occurrences)

Debauchery (9 Occurrences)

Satiety (12 Occurrences)

Drink (414 Occurrences)

Strong (736 Occurrences)

Envy (56 Occurrences)

Drunk (84 Occurrences)

Drunken (38 Occurrences)

Quarreling (17 Occurrences)

Quarrelling (5 Occurrences)

Noisy (14 Occurrences)

Nadab (21 Occurrences)

Nobility (5 Occurrences)

Nabal (18 Occurrences)

Unholy (23 Occurrences)

Unexpectedly (5 Occurrences)

Unawares (14 Occurrences)

Ourselves (129 Occurrences)

Overcharged (1 Occurrence)

Overcharge (1 Occurrence)

Loaded (21 Occurrences)

Lustful (10 Occurrences)

Licence (3 Occurrences)

Lasciviousness (9 Occurrences)

Weighed (44 Occurrences)

Weighted (15 Occurrences)

Warned (63 Occurrences)

Warn (35 Occurrences)

Worries (6 Occurrences)

Indulging (4 Occurrences)

Immorality (38 Occurrences)

Inherit (98 Occurrences)

Image-worship (1 Occurrence)

Intoxication (1 Occurrence)

Forewarn (9 Occurrences)

Freemen (17 Occurrences)

Forewarned (15 Occurrences)

Revelling (1 Occurrence)

Reveling (3 Occurrences)

Revelry (8 Occurrences)

Revelings (1 Occurrence)

Envyings (3 Occurrences)

Emulation (5 Occurrences)

Eyes (6285 Occurrences)

Dissipation (4 Occurrences)

Dissension (18 Occurrences)

Decently (2 Occurrences)

Daylight (24 Occurrences)

Drunkennesses (2 Occurrences)

Murders (7 Occurrences)

Mad (22 Occurrences)

Madness (13 Occurrences)

Promiscuity (6 Occurrences)

Pursuing (50 Occurrences)

Properly (11 Occurrences)

Broad (113 Occurrences)

Becomingly (3 Occurrences)


Conduct (93 Occurrences)

Chambering (1 Occurrence)

Cares (28 Occurrences)

Appalment (10 Occurrences)

Anxieties (5 Occurrences)


Appropriate (19 Occurrences)

Amethyst (3 Occurrences)

Awake (83 Occurrences)

Souls (114 Occurrences)

Soberness (2 Occurrences)

Self-indulgence (4 Occurrences)

Suddenly (87 Occurrences)

Surfeiting (1 Occurrence)

Sober (18 Occurrences)

Sacrificial (12 Occurrences)

Sick (117 Occurrences)

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Top of Page
Top of Page