Proverbs 20:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 20:1, NIV: Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1, ESV: Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1, KJV: Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1, NASB: Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1, NLT: Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.

Proverbs 20:1, CSB: Wine is a mocker, beer is a brawler; whoever goes astray because of them is not wise.

What does Proverbs 20:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Scripture does not forbid the drinking of alcohol, though it clearly identifies drunkenness as a sin (Ephesians 5:18; Romans 13:13). Numerous examples from the Bible show what happens when a person loses self-control due to alcohol (Genesis 9:21; 19:33). This verse uses Hebrew terms referring to alcohol derived from grapes, as well as stronger drinks made from grains and other fruits. The risk of addiction, the lack of control, and other dangers are why those who overuse alcohol are unwise. The phrasing here might also be translated to imply that such a person will not "become wise," thanks to a life derailed by drinking.

The apostle Paul endorsed the use of wine for medicinal purposes, telling Timothy, "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments" (1Timothy 5:23). Proverbs 23:20–21, 29–35, and 31:4–5 also issue warnings about getting drunk.