29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, 30 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.” (Proverbs 23:29–32, NKJV)
This passage is a clear denunciation of drunkenness as well as the consumption of alcohol that leads to it. Wise king Solomon identifies the person who drinks and drinks and drinks as one who cries and moans with pain, sorrow, and strife (vss. 29-30). The way to avoid the problems associated with drunkenness is not to take the first drink! “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly” is a clear prohibition against starting to consume alcohol. Far from saying social drinking is allowable, this passage from God’s word says avoiding alcohol from the start protects a person from the subsequent trouble it produces. How can a Christian conclude it is wise, safe, and approved to have “one or two drinks” when this passage says do to even look upon the first drink (v. 31)? Only by drinking from the goblet of the unwise who mock God’s counsel against drunkenness and the drinking that starts that process (Proverbs 20:1; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3-4).