What Does the Bible Say About Addiction?

The Bible does not always condemn those that fall into addiction. As the world keeps evolving it gets easier every day to fall into different kinds of addiction. Although the Bible condemns any form of addiction it does not condemn the person under the addiction. The bible the best tutor for breaking free from addiction.

Here are the top 6  forms of addictions what the bible has to say about each.

 

1. Prostitution, Adultery, and Fornication 

Kind David, a man after God’s own heart, was caught in adultery yet his sin did not keep God from Him. This is not to say that God does not care about his sin, but God is present as a pillar of strength that he does not remain in sin. Later on, God forgives David and their relationship is restored.

He commits great wickedness against God.

  • There is none greater in this house than I, neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” – Genesis 39:9

When Joseph is seduced by Potiphar’s wife to engage in adultery, Joseph refuses and terms it as ‘great’ wickedness and sin against God.

  • “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that Thou mightiest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest” – Psalm 5:4. 

Although David had murdered Uriah and slept with His wife, only against God had he sinned? David a man after God’s own heart knew that God took it personally when one commits adultery.

He has not learned to control his body

  • “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles who know not God” – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5. 

From the bible, we learn that self-control is a fruit of the spirit and not anything we conjure from our strength. That’s why the verse likens the person without self-control to he that does not know God.

God will take vengeance against the one that commits adultery, 

  • “So is the one who goes into his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not be found innocent or go unpunished” – Proverbs 6:29

 

  • “and that [in this matter of sexual misconduct] no man shall transgress and defraud his brother because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we have told you before and solemnly warned you” -1 Thessalonians 4:6.

 

  • “Marriage is to be held in honor among all [that is, regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” – Hebrews 13:4.

He defiles the temple of God

  • “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God and that you are not your own [property]?”-1 Corinthians 6:19.

This verse was written by the apostle Paul to the Israelites at the time practicing temple prostitution. Paul pleaded with them to refrain from such acts simply because by doing so they were quenching the Holy Spirit who is set to bless them and keep them in health.

He sins against His own body.

  • “Runaway from sexual immorality [in any form, whether thought or behavior, whether visual or written]. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the one who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body”– 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.

 

  • “Do you not understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But whatever [word] comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what defiles and dishonors the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts and plans, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, slanders (verbal abuse, irreverent speech, blaspheming). These are the things which defile and dishonor the man, but eating with [ceremonially] unwashed hands does not defile the man.”–Mathew 15:17-20.

This means that although God may forgive you, your body might develop sickness, even before God decides to let you face your punishment.

Although done in secrete your sin will catch up with you.

  • “But if you do not do this, behold, you will have sinned against the Lord, and be sure that your sin will find you out” – Numbers 32:23.

Even though one might be successful in preventing sexual sin from being known, the bible says that in due time the sinner shall not escape its punishment.

Anyone that sleeps with a divorced woman commits adultery.

  • “But to the married [believers] I give instructions—not I, but the Lord—that the wife is not to separate from her husband, (but even if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) and that the husband should not leave his wife” – 1 Corinthians 7:10-11. 

Divorce is a common thing in our ‘civilized world. However, Jesus condemned Divorce, and only when one’s husband or wife was dead was he allowed to marry again. You might argue divorce is in the bible therefore approved by God.

  • “Suppose a woman was divorced by her first husband because he found something disgraceful about her. He wrote out divorce papers, gave them to her, and sent her away. Later she married another man, who then either divorced her in the same way or died. Since she has slept with her second husband, she cannot marry her first husband again. Their marriage would pollute the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and he would be disgusted” – Deuteronomy 24:1-4.

Jesus was asked this same question and replied to it.

  • The Pharisees said to Him, “Why then did Moses command us to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because your hearts were hard and stubborn Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning, it has not been this way. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” – Mathew 19:7-9            

The sin of adultery and fornication dwells deep in the adulterer’s heart.

  • “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” – Mark 7:20-23.

 

  • “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” – Mathew 15:17-20.

It is only God that can cause heart transformation. These verses point to the one caught in such addictions to look to God for purification. King David asked God to search his heart and consume that which is not pure, for God is an all-consuming fire. The bible says that Jesus has been made our sanctification.

 

2. Pornography and Masturbation 

This kind of sin wages war against the soul 

  • “Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls” – 1 Peter 2:11. 

Pornography and Masturbation largely depend on one’s mind to be performed. Anyone who has been addicted to pornography or masturbation will tell you that it affects your mind and you can’t think straight.

They are evil desires of the youth

  • “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” – 2 Timothy 2:22.

Clearly, pornography and masturbation-related addiction are usually picked up during our youthful years, hardly is it to find someone that falls into such temptations when they are old.

  •               “How can a young man stay pure? By reading your Word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find you—don’t let me wander off from your instructions” – Psalm 119: 9-10.

The bible provides a way of helping us keep our youthful passions under control. That is through reading God’s word that has a cleansing effect and mostly praying to God who is mighty to do anything to keep you in all your ways.

It is Idolatry 

  • “Away then with sinful, earthly things; deaden the evil desires lurking within you; have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires; don’t worship the good things of life, for that is idolatry” – Colossians 3:5.

This verse points out that evil desires are always lurking with us and we should avoid any circumstance that triggers such behaviors. Do not be involved with people that are quick to indulge in such acts. If you are caught in it, put it away as God compares one that performs such with one that bows before the ‘god of life’.

They are impure and demonic acts 

  • “But when you follow your wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your little group—and there will be the wrong doctrine,” – Galatians 5:19

Some say there is nothing wrong with watching pornography or masturbating, however, the bible calls such, wrong doctrine and such lustful pleasures produce evil results.

 

 

3. Lust 

Make a covenant with your eyes 

  •                           “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a girl”  Job 31:1

Our eyes are the number one way we are led to lustful desires. If you have never seen it, then how can you lust over it? The bible tells us to watch what we give our attention to.

They have forsaken the Lord and followed after their own eyes 

  •                           “And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them, and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring” – Numbers 15:39

The bible tells us to fast, part of fasting is not letting ourselves behold something that is not holy or anything that does not bring glory to God.

  •                         “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” – Proverbs 23:26

 They have turned their hearts from the LORD 

  •                           “Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her”– Proverbs 7:25-26.

They are committing adultery 

  •                 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” – Mathew 5:27-28.

As we have seen, those that commit adultery are likened to those that worship idols, and both shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 They are gratifying the desires of the flesh 

  •                             “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” – Romans 13:14

 

 

4. Incest, Homosexuality, and Transgender

It is an unnatural desire 

  • “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” –Jude 7:7

Although some people perceived it to be normal, God’s word condemns it as an ‘unnatural desire’, which means God did not create you to be such. The one under such addiction should be set free from the spirit that causes such addictions and refrains from everything that associates itself with it.

 It is an abomination

  • “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination” – Leviticus 18:22

 

  • “The penalty for homosexual acts is death to both parties. They have brought it upon themselves” – Leviticus 20:13

The bible perceives such acts as ‘dishonorable passions’ that you should refrain from. For they are an ‘abomination unto the lord’.

 Those that practice it have left the natural relationship with a woman

  • “That is why God let go of them and let them do all these evil things so that even their women turned against God’s natural plan for them and indulged in sex sin with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other, men doing shameful things with other men and, as a result, getting paid within their souls with the penalty they so richly deserved” – Romans 1:26-27 

They do not take heed of sound doctrine 

  • “Those laws are good when used as God intended. 9 But they were not made for us, whom God has saved; they are for sinners who hate God, have rebellious hearts, curse and swear, attack their fathers and mothers, and murder. 10-11 Yes, these laws are made to identify as sinners all who are immoral and impure: homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, and all others who do things that contradict the glorious Good News of our blessed God, whose messenger I am” -1 Timothy 1:8-10

 

5. Mystical Practices

Those that partake in such acts are defiled 

  • “Do not turn to mediums [who pretend to consult the dead] or to spiritists [who have spirits of divination]; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God” – Leviticus 19:31.

The Bible discourages a believer from consulting magicians or those that perform divinations and claims those that do so are collaborating with fallen spirits which are not of God.

They arouse God’s anger 

  • “He made his son pass through the fire and burned him [as an offering to Molech]; he practiced witchcraft and divination, and dealt with mediums and soothsayers. He did great evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger” – 2 Kings 21:6

Those that partake in such mystical acts do ‘great evil’ in the sight of God. When God’s anger is set towards someone who can save him?

God is against it 

  • “As for the person who turns to mediums [who consult the dead] or to spiritists, to play the prostitute after them, I shall set My face against that person and will cut him off from his people [excluding him from the atonement made for them]” – Leviticus 20:6. 

 

  • “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire [as a sacrifice], one who uses divination and fortune-telling, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a charm or spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or a necromancer [who seeks the dead]. 12 For everyone who does these things are utterly repulsive to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God is driving them out before you.” -Deuteronomy 18:10-12

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  • “Most certainly [Lord] you have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob because they are filled with influences from the east, and they are soothsayers [who foretell] like the Philistines; Also, they strike bargains with the children of foreigners (pagans)” – Isaiah 2:6

 

  • “Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums and the soothsayers and the teraphim (household gods) and the idols and all the repulsive things that were seen in Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he might fulfill the words of the law written in the book which Hilkiah the priest found in the house (temple) of the Lord” – 2 Kings 23:24

They are deceitful

  •             “For the teraphim (household idols) speak wickedness (emptiness, worthlessness), and the diviners see lying visions And tell false dreams, they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep, they are afflicted and suffer because there is no shepherd” – Zachariah 10:2

 

  • “You are wearied by your many counsels. Just let the astrologers, the stargazers, those who predict by the new moons [each month] stand up and save you from the things that will come upon you [Babylon]” – Isaiah 47:13

GOD will embarrass them and cause them to be fooled

  • “Frustrating the signs and confounding the omens of boasters (false prophets), Making fools out of fortune-tellers, Counteracting the wise and making their knowledge ridiculous,” – Isaiah 44:25

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  • “The seers shall be ashamed and the diviners discredited and embarrassed; Indeed, they shall all cover their mouths [in shame]Because there is no answer from God” – Micah 3:7.

They are acts of the flesh 

  • “Now the practices of the [a]sinful nature are evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), [b]idolatry, [c]sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies]” – Galatians 5:19-21.

The bible says that we should put the works of the flesh to death.

 

6. Alcohol, Drugs, Food and Entertainment 

They lead to laziness and distraction

  • “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark” – Mathew 24:38
  • “The world will be at ease[a]—banquets and parties and weddings—just as it was in Noah’s time before the sudden coming of the Flood” – Mathew 24:37-38. 

 

  • “‘As I live, the Lord God says, Sodom and her daughters have never been as wicked as you and your daughters. 49 Your sister Sodom’s sins were pride, laziness, and too much food, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door” – Ezekiel 16:48-49

They do not bring glory to the kingdom of God if be an addiction

  • “For, after all, the important thing for us as Christians is not what we eat or drink but stirring up goodness and peace and joy from the Holy Spirit”– Romans 14:17

We should make sure that our forms of entertainment bring glory to God and do not enslave us to the partners of the world and cause us to stumble.

  •               “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended or is made weak” – Romans 14:21.

 

  •               “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Stop it and put it away 

  • “And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee” – 1 Samuel 1:14.

The first big step of breaking free from addictions such as drunkenness is to just stop it and put it away from you then pray for God’s strength that can deliver you from the addiction. ​​​​​​​

The Bottom Line

It is not in line with God’s word to be under any kind of addiction. In fact, the Bible encourages that you should guard your heart and that also includes stopping something for a while if you feel you love it too much since your heart belongs to God. Even for the good things, God asks us to be watchful, the apostle Paul writes in the bible, “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be mastered by anything” -1 Corinthians 6:12. 

The bible also says that the word of God is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. This means that it is powerful enough to free anyone from any kind of addiction. Jesus himself forgives many women caught in adultery and asks them not to sin again but be in peace –Hebrews 4:12, 2 Corinthians 10:4.

Nobody is perfect, therefore, if you are under any kind of addiction and do not wish to be under the judgment proposed in the bible to the ones who indulge in addictions, the bible says that you should turn to God and ask for help. King David after his sin looked to God and prayed for God to search His heart, which means God was to remove impurities from his heart in love without wrath.

  • “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” – Hebrews 12:2

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” – 1 John 1:9

You might argue and say God will still have to punish you for your addictions, He punished David even though he forgave him, However, David was a man born under God’s law and not God’s grace. He envies the man born when God’s Grace has appeared. He writes,

  • “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile”- Psalm 32:1 -2.

He is talking about the man that looks to Jesus, for Jesus is the grace of God that has been revealed to mankind- Titus 2:11-12.

Salvation includes being set free from addictions. ​​​​​​​Call on Jesus the messiah and receive strength to break free of your addiction, take time to study and listen to God’s word that can make you clean and above all know, Romans 8:35-39

God loves you, turn to him and be clothed.

Gene Botkin

Gene is the director of the Theosis Christian Project. He studied physics and military science before founding the Project. Gene is currently pursuing his doctorate in systems engineering at an engineering college in the Ozarks. The Theosis Christian Project is his attempt to expand Holy Orthodoxy in America.

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