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Issues Facing Society
Sunday School Lesson #5: Alcohol
Proverbs 20:1
Proverbs 23:19-21; 29-35
Josh Hunt

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There are a couple of things to avoid in teaching this lesson.

  • #1: Avoid condemnation of people who think having one glass of wine on their anniversary is wrong. You may agree or disagree, but condemnation has no place in the Christian life. (Romans 8:1)
  • #2: Avoid pretending all Christians agree that all drinking is bad. It is likely that you have a few in your group who have a six pack at home right now. Some of them may have a drinking problem, while others do not. You may like it or not. Lying about it doesn't help.
  • #3: Avoid the "ain't the world awful, too bad that they are not wonderful like us" kind of talk.
  • #4: Spend more time talking about how you can help each other be obedient to the obvious and plain warning against over drinking than you spend trying to build up the case against the once a year glass of wine. If you spend too much time attacking the once a year glass of wine, you may miss the opportunity to help the person who wants to be helped to be obedient to what the Bible says about drinking.

God bless you if you have some people recently out of the pagan pool. Use this lesson to help them with a problem in their life. That is what the bible is about- helping people.

Proverbs 20:1 Proverbs 23:19-21; 29-35(1)


  • What was the attitude in your home toward liquor as you were growing up?(2)


  1. As we read this passage, I want half of you to look for the appeal or benefit of liquor, while the other half looks for the costs of drinking.
  2. What are some other benefits of drinking? (Things not mentioned in this passage.) What attracts people to drink? Let's be honest and fair. Obviously many people enjoy drinking. Why do people enjoy drinking?(3)
  3. What are the costs? What are the down sides of drinking, according to this passage? Let's make a list.
  4. In your experience, what are some other negatives of drinking?
  5. What are some other things spoken against in this passage?(4)
  6. Is it drinking, or excess drinking that is warned against in this passage?
  7. "Moderation in all things," someone has said. Is this a Christian motto?(5)
  8. Look at verse 20. Is this a command against drinking too much?(6)
  9. Who else are we not to spend too much time with?
  10. Have any of you been guilty of spending too much time with, "those who gorge themselves on meat"?
  11. Try to look into the mind of the writer. Look at verse 29. What kind of experiences drove the writer to write this kind of thing?
  12. Have any of you had experience with a loved one whose life was badly damaged by excessive drinking? Tell us their story.
  13. What bad things can result from excessive drinking?
  14. Why is drinking so popular when it causes so much pain? What is the appeal?(7)
  15. Look over verses 32ff. Have any of you been there? Has drinking cost you too much in life? Can you tell us your story?
  16. Why does the guy in verse 35 say, "Give me another drink"?
  17. How does one get to this point? What are the steps on the path to be coming an alcoholic or excessive drinker?
  18. Where is the best exit on this path?
  19. How could you help a friend help a friend who was drinking too much?(8)
  20. How much help is it so say, "You are sinning. You are drinking too much and you just need to stop"?
  21. What can we do to help?
  22. A common thing with people who drink too much is a tendency to refuse to admit they have a problem. Why is this?
  23. How important is it that we admit we have a problem?
  24. Can we get better all by ourselves, or do we need to go to someone else for help?(9)
  25. Why is the support of the group so important?
  26. Do you think this is the kind of group that could help an alcoholic get better?
  27. I would like to ask you to bow your heads. I know that sometimes drinking too much is a private sin. I know that it could very well be that there are some in this room whose lives are being damaged by drinking too much. You may not even be willing to admit it. You may have a husband or son or wife who is drinking too much. If it is a problem, I want to encourage you to get help. I want to encourage you to tell someone. I want to encourage you to "admit you are powerless and your life has become unmanageable.(10) Just now I would like to pray God would today give you the grace to star a new day and a new life. Let's pray.

1. Proverbs 20:1

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Proverbs 23:19-21; 29-35
Listen, my son, and be wise,
and keep your heart on the right path.
20Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
21for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
29Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30Those who linger over wine,
who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
31Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
32In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.
33Your eyes will see strange sights
and your mind imagine confusing things.
34You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging.
35"They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt!
They beat me, but I don't feel it!
When will I wake up
so I can find another drink?"

2. It is amazing how much the attitude of our parents affects ours. Sometimes we mirror the attitude of our parents; other times we purposely take the opposite view.

3. You might draw a +/- chart on the board. As you discuss, make a note of the costs and benefits of drinking.

4. It is easy for some to look down at those who drink too much. We have these discussions over a pot-luck dinner where we violate this command of God. I know-I have been there, done that!

5. Not completely. Take the phrase in moderation. For example, we are not committed to Christ in moderation. That is being luke-warm, which is distasteful to God.

6. Technically speaking, no. It is a command against hanging out with those who drink too much. We will get to the sin of drinking too much in a moment. If we hang out with people who drink too much, we will join them before long. Social pressure is not just for teens. We are all heavily influenced by our peers. That is why, in You Can Double Your Class In Two Years or Less I say, "If we love them, they will come, and they will come to love our Lord." Our social influence can be used positively for good, just as the world's is used negatively for bad.

7. Life is hard. Drinking is one of many things that can dull the pain of life, at least for a moment.

8. The short answer is, we represent God to him. We be to him grace and truth.

9. A classic jump ball question. It is intended to created discussion among the members of the group.

10. The first of the 12 steps.


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