I have always wondered what exactly it is in the Bible that Christians use to denounce marijuana. I have never used it and have never wanted to, but I know that the word marijuana is not found in the Bible. Some say it was around at the time, although I am not sure about its prevalence or name. When asked about it, I am unsure of what to say other than the fact that it alters one’s mind. There are plenty of verses in the Bible mentioning alcohol. Is marijuana unmentioned because no one smoked that Biblical figures came
in contact with? Sure, it is illegal, but does that then mean that we can smoke if we were visiting Amsterdam?
Consider Galatians 5:19-21:
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Sorcery is translated from the Greek jarmakeia. Pharmakeia is a word that means “the use or administering of drugs.” The definition seems to have a negative connotation as in poisoning and idolatry.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
The Bible says we should not destroy our bodies. Although some may argue they are not destroying their bodies, marijuana does harm the body. Then again, so does smoking tobacco and getting drunk. If this verse is used to denounce marijuana, then should not tobacco also be included because it too is known to harm the body? Alcohol is said to have some benefits in some cases (red wine), but getting drunk does have an effect on the behavior of people. The Bible is clear in saying we should not get drunk with wine:
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,”
I often hear the argument that moderate drinking is acceptable. After all, Jesus did change the water into wine at the Wedding in Cana (John 2), did he not? But, is it reasonable to assume that Jesus knew some of the people would be getting drunk at this wedding? Was He condoning sinful behavior? Does God permit sinful behavior on certain circumstances? Jesus said divorce is adultery, but Moses did permit people to divorce their wives because of their hardness of heart (Matthew 19, Mark 10). This could have been Moses decision apart from God. The witnesses in Cana did say that the wine was of good quality; maybe Jesus did not see having some quality alcohol as sin.
Are these issues of behavior or honoring your body? Is marijuana smoking being detrimental to your behavior its conflict with the Bible? Does having one drink not change your behavior enough to be condemned? If the issue with marijuana is harming one’s “temple,” how does this affect our stance on other things?