Sunday, February 25, 2024

What The Bible Says About Addiction

Hope For Addiction In The Bible

What the Bible Says About Addiction (Bible Verses to Help Overcome Addiction)

Addiction has been treated as a moral failing in the past. Though it usually starts with choices to binge or misuse drugs, and active addiction can lead you to hurt friends and family members, addiction itself is a disease. Still, people who go through active addiction often feel guilt and shame for the actions they took to maintain their addiction. In those cases, spiritual and emotional healing is important.

Evidence-based strategies are vital to effective substance use treatment. These programs will address medical, psychological, and social needs related to addiction. However, many people find that spiritual healing is also necessary. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous emphasize acknowledging your loss of control over your addiction and placing your trust in God. Similar 12-step programs like follow the same steps with a greater emphasis on Christian principles.

The apostle Paul persecuted Christians before his dramatic encounter with Jesus, and he seemed to be burdened by what he saw as sin in his life. However, he also had hope. The New Testament talks about how forgiveness of sin and moral failings is a gift from God through his Son, Jesus Christ, as seen in the widely known verse, John 3:16.

Addiction is an oppressive force, and it often leads people to regrettable decisions and behaviors. But, according to the Bible, like forgiveness from sins, spiritual healing in addiction is availableand attainablefor those who need it.

Does God Care About What We Do In The Privacy Of Our Bedrooms

Sex is Gods invention. He is the mastermind behind itand His creation is worth far more to Him than it is to us. This beautiful expression of love was created out of His own heart, as a gift to be experienced between a husband and wife. It is only in marriage that this manifestation of intimacy can be fully enjoyed in the depth for which it was created.

The more beautiful and unique something is , the more power it holds over our lives, either for good or bad influence. That is why it is so easy for the devil to corrupt the most precious of Gods gifts. When we become more in love with the gifts than the One who endowed them, the things that were designed to bless us begin to destroy us instead. Yes, God cares about what we do with our bodies, in public or in private. He doesnt want us to abuse ourselves in any way.

In fact, an older definition of masturbation is self-abuse. Although more modern dictionaries may no longer carry this definition, they are still linked together under self-abuse:


1. Abuse of oneself or ones abilities.

2. Masturbation.

1 Corinthians 6:18 further confirms this, saying that unlawful sexual relations defile our own bodies: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

Isnt it still better to masturbate than to commit fornication?

I agree with all the theory, but living it out on a day to day level is another story.

End Notes:

The Different Stages Of Recovery

There are many different ways of looking at the process of recovery. For those in early sobriety, many will adamantly say that they are sober and are going to stay sober. That is a great statement and plan. For any in that early stage of recovery, it is usually important to understand that sobriety is an early step in recovery. Sobriety and recovery are not the same thing. Sobriety is necessary for recovery, but there is much more to working a good recovery program. Years one to three of recovery are considered early recovery. Years three through five are middle recovery. Over five years is considered late recovery or maintenance.

Prochaska’s Stages of Change model uses a few more specific terms to describe the different stages of recovery. These stages are Precontemplation, Contemplation, Determination/Preparation, Action, Maintenance, and Relapse. Below is a review of Prochaskas model of change. For more details, you can check out Prochaska’s book Changing for Good.

Precontemplation is when someone is unaware that there is a problem or thinks they don’t have a problem. At this time it is helpful to remember that each person must be the one to decide to change. It can help to begin to recognize what circumstances lead to use. If this is where you are at, it may help to review when your use started and how it has progressed over time. Understanding the risks of use are also important.

So, which stage are you in and what do you need? Make a plan and get some help.

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Substance Abuse Leads To Harm To The Body And The Spirit

Throughout the Bible, you will consistently find messages implicating substance abuse, namely alcohol, in harm to the body and the spirit. Famous passages about the harm caused by substance abuse include Proverbs 20:1, Isaiah 5:11, Ephesians 5:18-20, Galatians 5:19-21, Proverbs 23:20-21, Romans 13:13-14, and others. Many of these focus on wine, because it was the most common substance of its day. Without synthesized or man-made drugs, alcohol and opium , were often the drugs of choice. None sum it up quite so succinctly as Proverbs 23:29-35:

Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

They that tarry long at the wine they that go to seek mixed wine.

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.

They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

The passage is clear in its message that alcohol is seductive, but ultimately harmful.

Words Of Support For Sufferers Of Addiction In The Bible

What the Bible Says About Addiction

The verse just before it states no one will be left alone in whatever battle they face as long as they have faith in God, per Bible Gateway. Another verse highlighting how it can affect anyone is in First Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13. It says that a battle with intrigue and falling into our urges is only a temporary problem. It states: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” And in Thessalonians 5, it asks that people practice soberness alongside their faithfulness.

As there are passages that discuss what we call addiction today, the Bible also has some areas that explore recovering from it, too. Today the medically preferred advice for people suffering addiction is a lot different from what is in the Bible. Nevertheless, it has been helpful to many.

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Believe That A Power Greater Than Yourself Can Restore You To Sanity

We must know the truth about God: that He is in the saving businessand not the condemning businessand He has the ability to heal us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him . But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to myself .

The Bibles Teachings On Addiction

The ancients were not immune to addiction. Alcohol and other substances were certainly known to the people of Bible lands and, like many today, people back then could also fall prey to addiction. Although we can now view substance addiction through the lens of disease treatment and medical understanding, we can also rely on the Bible for its words on addiction and the temptations that invariably accompany it. JCs Recovery Center is a faith-based rehab we offer Christian support alongside evidence-based therapies to help those suffering from addiction on their recovery journey. During our group sessions, we sometimes discuss what the Bible says in reference to addiction and the temptations that sufferers experience.

Continue reading for a selection of Bible verses that touch on the subject of addiction and what they teach us.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 2 Peter 2:19

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I Think It’s Dangerous To Call Addiction A Disease

1. The way we think is powerful.Saying addiction is a disease builds on the, “Once an addict, always an addict” mentality which only creates hopelessness.

2. It removes personal responsibility, perpetuates the victim mentality, and encourages denial.

3. Addiction is “drunkenness, idolatry and debauchery. If we say its anything else, we are going against Gods Word.

4. Addiction cant be cured with medicine, but it can be cured by following Jesus! Using medicine to take away cravings is a bandaid solution.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

-John 10:10

5. We’ve been told to lean on God and He will sustain us. Addiction is self-medicating and a coping mechanism that takes away our need for God.

6. If we dont believe addiction is a sin theres NO reconciliation with God.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

-Colossians 2:8

Understanding The Sinful Nature

What Does the Bible Say About Addiction?
  • “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” .
  • “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” .

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The Bible Verses About Addiction

There are about six verses that discuss addiction in the Bible. While the word addiction itself is not specifically mentioned, Scripture uses other terms that relate to addiction, such as temptation and overindulgence.

One particular verse of Ephesians 5 specifically warns against the overconsumption of wine because it can lead to immoral behavior. As a solution, it asks that one seek out their faith for enjoyment. In verses 18-20 it states: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” .

In the Gospel of John, chapter 16, verse 33, Jesus offers encouragement in the face of life’s challenges. due to the challenges: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Does The Bible Forbid Drinking

The Bible does have plenty to say about the use of alcohol, and through church history, many groups have taken hard stances against it, citing the Bibles warnings as the chief reason. To their credit, there are likely some communities that would benefit from encouraging abstinence from drugs and alcohol. However, the Bible doesnt strictly forbid the use of alcohol.

In fact, Jesuss first miracle, in the second chapter of John, was to turn water into wine at a wedding feast. He also instituted the sacrament of communion, in which Christians remember Jesus death for their sins by sharing a symbolic meal where wine represents the blood shed by Christ for his people.

There are also some verses where the Bible seems to advocate for enjoying alcohol for its benefits. In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah is praising God and looking forward to a future time of blessings in Chapter 25 when he says, On this mountain, the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine the best of meats and the finest of wines. In this case, Isaiah is speaking symbolically about a good time of plenty. He uses the idea of fine, aged wine as a blessing from God.

Timothy apparently had stomach issues that could be helped by some moderated wine. Paul seems to be acknowledging the benefit of wine but warning against its misuse.

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They Are Impure And Demonic Acts

  • But when you follow your wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism , hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your little groupand there will be the wrong doctrine, Galatians 5:19

Some say there is nothing wrong with watching pornography or masturbating, however, the bible calls such, wrong doctrine and such lustful pleasures produce evil results.

Many People Wonder If Its Okay To Be An Addict And A Christian

Bible Verses About Addiction

For as long as substances of abuse have existed, people have fallen victim to addiction. The Bible is a source of history and wisdom regarding temptation, long-suffering, and giving in to sin. When going to the Bible for answers or guidance, its important to keep in mind that love is the foundation of the gospel and extends forgiveness and redemption by Jesus Christ. No matter which path youve taken in life, you can always find love, hope, and grace in Jesus. Our Christian drug rehab clarifies what the bible says about addiction and what that means for people who are suffering from this disease.

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Bible Verses About Addiction

John 2:16

For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world.

The Bible discusses temptation in detail other examples are in the stories of Job and Joseph. God has given man free will so that we are not constricted and make the right choices for ourselves. The world is full of trials and potential stumbling blocks, including drugs and alcohol. To lead happy, fulfilling lives, we must choose the path of God instead of the path of temptation.


So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

In this passage, St Paul is discussing how believers in Christ must always remain alert and aware of what is going on around them. Self-discipline is integral so that Christians may help others to recognize and understand the word of the Lord. In the Bible, self-discipline and sobriety go hand in hand, a mantra for those who have been through recovery and need to stay on the right path can meditate on.

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Ephesians 5:18-20
Romans 5:3-5

What The Bible Says About Drunkenness And Drunkards

Alcohol was one of the most abused drugs during the time period during which the Bible was written. Its possible that references to drunkenness refer to alcohol addiction.

Dozens of Bible verses refer to drunkards and drunkenness.

Romans 13:13
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Galatians 5:19-21
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery idolatry and witchcraft hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

These verses can be interpreted to mean that being addicted to alcohol is a sin, but the sin is forgiven if you recover from alcoholism. The verses can also be interpreted to mean being drunk is a sin, and if you stop sinning , God will forgive you.

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