Can Romans 14:21 be used to justify the use of alcoholic beverages?


May His grace continually flourish in the good work He has started in our life.

About Romans 14:21, many brothers in our congregation are having a field day with this verse. The worse are the defenses they use to justify drinking. I will not say am the weak type, but I have a distaste for alcohol. The worse are brothers who use this verse to allow a social drinking avenue. We always evangelize on the last Lord's Day of each month. How do we preach the right words when they compare fruit of the vine with strong drinks?


"It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak" (Romans 14:21).

I'm puzzled as to how this verse is being used to justify the use of alcohol as a casual drink. The point is that a Christian avoids causing others harm by his actions. I know brethren who because they've come out of alcoholism avoid all use of alcohol, even legitimate ones, such as cough syrup. They fear that the taste of alcohol will trigger their cravings and so they avoid it entirely. A faithful Christian would be more concerned about a brother's safety than his personal rights and so would joyfully not use any alcohol for his brother's sake.

In this context, the concern was over meats that came into the markets from the sacrifices to idols. What this verse points out is that the concern wasn't just limited to meats, grape drinks and others things also appeared on the market that once were offerings to idols. Whether the use of oinos ("wine") in this verse referred to alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic drinks, or both doesn't matter. The concern was that some wanted to avoid all possible connects to idolatry. You would have to turn to other verses to determine if the use of alcoholic beverages was permitted or not to the Christian.