Some folks who seek to defend the “drunk in the spirit” behavior are often long on experiential anecdotes and philosophical musings but short on scripture. One scripture that is often cited is Acts 2:12-15.
Acts 2:12-15 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judæa, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
The mockers said “These men are full of new wine”. The sugar in unfermented new wine brightens your countenance in same way as honey (see 1 Samuel 14:27) and can make you feel and appear joyful and energetic.
No doubt that those who had just heard the mighty rushing wind, seeing the tongues of fire, and been filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time were very excited, jubilant, and rightfully full of the joy of the Lord!
Read Isaiah 28:1-13 – God contrasts drunkenness on the fermented (corrupted) old wine from the vine of Sodom (Deut 32:32) in Isaiah 28:1-8 to His plan of “new wine” from the True Vine (John 15:1) that is refreshing in Isaiah 28:9-13.
If you are drunk on “old wine” you stumble in judgement, your senses dulled, and the judge at the gate is put to sleep. Your only goal is to increase and prolong the drunkenness (Prov 23:35). You are not interested in new wine as it would not help you get drunker — to the contrary new wine would begin to “wake you up”.
Luke 5:39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better
Notice Peter had stated in Acts 2:15 “these are not drunken”. How can we say they were “drunk in the spirit” if Peter plainly states that they were “not drunken”?
Contrary to promoting drunkenness, Peter admonishes that we should “be sober”:
1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Notice that the way to resist steadfastly in the faith hinges on being sober and vigilant. The adversary the devil seeks who he “may” devour. Those who he “may” devour are those who are not sober and vigilant.
We must be sober and vigilant because the brethren (believers) are vulnerable to the same afflictions (weaknesses) that are accomplished in the world. Being sober is an antidote to the affliction of drunkenness.
Paul also says in Ephesians 5:18 to “be not drunk“.
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Paul links drunkenness with darkness in 1 Thess 5:7 “For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.”
He also tells the Corinthians in 1 Cor 6:10 that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul tells Timothy in 1 Tim 3:2 that a pastor should be sober and of good behavior and also says in 1 Cor 14:26, “Let all things be done unto edifying”.
How is behaving drunk edifying to the church or any different than the flesh driven distractions and incoherent behaviors Paul is correcting the Corinthians about in his letters to the Corinthians?
1 Cor 11:20-22 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
Paul says that what they are doing when they are coming together is NOT the Lord’s supper. Some are there only to appease their fleshly appetites in drunkenness (both physical and spiritual) and this leaves others famished (both physically and spiritually) – the pursuit of fleshly experiences is a distraction and not edifying to the body, resulting in people go hungry for not hearing the words of the Lord — a famine in the land for a lack of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11).
If there remains any doubt concerning drunkenness being a work of the flesh, please read:
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.