Sean McDowell | August 15, 2022

A Christian View of Drugs

How might a Christian approach the topic of drug use? Because of their addictive nature, and physical harm, some drugs are obviously wrong (e.g., meth). But what about marijuana? Is alcohol a drug? What about coffee?

Answering these questions would go beyond the scope of this blog. My goal here is simply to offer two broad principles to help Christians think biblically about drugs.

#1: Our Bodies Are a Gift from God

As a kid, I always looked forward to Wednesdays, which was the day the new comic books arrived at the local grocery store. As soon as the school bell rang, I would run to town and pick up a copy of the most recent The Amazing Spider-Man or Batman comic. As soon as I read it, I would put it in a protective bag to keep it was safe from potential damage. I still have many of these comics today, and some are quite valuable.

One day, a good friend of mine asked to borrow and read one of my comics. I reluctantly agreed, assuming he would treat it as carefully as I did. Yet when he returned the comic, he had creased the pages, pulled out the staples, and torn a few of the pages. I was horrified that he would treat something so valuable with so little care.

God has also entrusted us with something that does not belong to us—our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20). For us to misuse our bodies through drug use is to bring harm to something that is not our own, but a gift from God. We are to use our bodies for holiness, not sin (1 Peter 1:16).

#2: Our Minds Are to Love God

The greatest commandment is to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love other people (see Mark 12:30). Yet, what does it mean to love God with our minds? In part, it means we are not to be controlled by anything except the Holy Spirit. Anything that pollutes our minds, such as pornography or drugs, prevents us from being able to love God in the way we are designed to. If our mental abilities are under the control of anything besides God’s Spirit, we have forfeited God’s power in our lives (see 1 Peter 4).

Like a virus that invades a computer, drugs can destroy the proper functioning of its host—you. When you give up control over your mind, you open yourself to deception and manipulation. Taking drugs steals your freedom. Rather than living in slavery to our passions, which includes drunkenness, Paul invites Christians to live by the Spirit, which brings self-control and the freedom to love others (see Galatians 5:16-23).

Obviously much more could be said about how Christians should think about drugs. This blog is not meant to end the conversation, but to begin it.

If you are looking for further insights about the effects of drugs such as marijuana or vaping and want some practical steps for approaching this topic Christianly, check out my latest book A Rebel’s Manifesto: Choosing Truth, Real Justice, & Love amid the Noise of Today’s World.

A Rebel's Manifesto

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell, TikTok, Instagram, and his blog: