Daniel P. Barron



This is a mirror of "Smoking" by Darwin Fish.

For some, smoking tobacco is a vice, but Scripture teaches no such thing. There is not a single verse that dictates that smoking is wrong. Being addicted to smoking is certainly sin, because it is a lack of self-control. i But, simply having an occasional smoke or smoking in moderation is never condemned in the word of God.
Some attempt to use 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 to prove smoking is evil, but it proves no such thing. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

The typical argument is that smoking is harmful to the body and therefore wrong. Tony Warren argues this way in his article entitled, "Is Smoking a Sin?"

Smoking is a Sin. And it is a sin on multiple levels.

Then his first point to prove smoking is a sin immediately follows:

It is a Detriment to the Body

Considering the universal Medical opinion, I don't know anyone who could legitimately argue today that smoking is not injurious to one's health. The fact is, nine out of ten lung cancer victims are smokers. The scientific evidence is that smokers have a three to one chance of heart attack, over non-smokers. Even smoking in (so-called) moderation, on the average, will shorten one's life span by many years.

And then a little later after quoting 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 he writes,

To smoke (which we know hurts this body which is the Lord's), is desecration of the Lord's Temple. ii

This is nothing but the doctrine of men. iii 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is in the context of sexual immorality. It does not even address the issue of one's health. Yet, that is typically how it is argued.

Cooper Abrams, a fundamental independent Baptist missionary pastor in Utah, argues this way saying,

Smoking is clearly harmful to our health and that in itself makes it a sin, . . . iv

This may sound good, but Scripture doesn't teach this. v Too much of anything is usually harmful, vi but to smoke in moderation is not necessarily harmful, at least, harmful in any Biblical way.

The Bible does not teach this "health" concern in regards to the proper care of the body. We are surely stewards of the body God has given us, vii but how we care for it largely comes down to personal conscience, viii not a man-made standard of health. ix

Paul wrote,

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. x

Being brought under the power of an addiction to smoking is indeed wrong, but smoking, in and of itself, is not unlawful. To the pure all things are pure, xi and God has indeed given us all things to enjoy. xii There is nothing in Scripture that dictates smoking is somehow excluded from "all things."

Now, if you are around people who see it as a vice, it would not be to the glory of God to offend them by smoking. xiii Under these circumstances, smoking should not be done, not because it is evil, but because those there are offended by it, as Paul wrote,

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. xiv

This does not mean that you should never smoke, because someone somewhere someday might be offended by it. That is not a concept taught in the Word. It indeed says "Abstain from all appearance of evil," xv but what appears to be evil to some does not necessarily appear to be evil to all.

For example, Paul also wrote,

. . . to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. xvi

To a Jew, it would clearly appear to be evil for Paul to live "as without law." Paul was a Jew, and no doubt a religious Jew would quickly argue Paul was sinning against God by not living under the law. xvii Yet, that is exactly how Paul lived, when he was not with Jews, xviii but with those who were without law. xix

It is interesting that Paul lived this way, because later what Paul taught and how he lived got quite perverted. xx Yet, Paul did not conclude he should live differently. In other words, Paul did not conclude he should live as under the law no matter where he was lest someone somewhere someday might be offended. Paul understood the Jews quite well. He was one. Yet, when he was not around the Jews, but around Gentiles, he lived "as without law."

So, there are some principles and circumstances that may dictate a good reason not to smoke at times, but these do not demand total abstinence, because smoking, in and of itself, is not a sin.

Yet, some really get kind of insane when it comes to speaking against tobacco. A graphic example of this is a Pastor by the name of Kevin Badgley from Living Hope Fellowship Church in Grand Chain Illinois. He declares,

If you smoke, you are ungodly, because God doesn't do that. I believe that if you make your living selling or growing tobacco, you are a sinner, and you will go to hell for that. xxi

This is a lie. The Bible nowhere teaches someone will go to hell for making a living off of selling or growing tobacco. Actually, there would be nothing wrong with that whatsoever. The Bible does not condemn such a practice. Badgley thinks so, but he adds to God's word and goes way beyond what is written. v

Badgley also claims "God doesn't do that." How does he know? Scripture never says He does or doesn't. Whether God smokes tobacco or not is not revealed, but God does certainly smoke, as it is written,

Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. xxii

Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth. xxiii

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. xxiv

The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power. xxv

a true church, Po. O. Box 130, Moodys, OK 74444

1-800-HOW-TRUE; www.atruechurch.info

  1. Galatians 5:23 ^
  2. www.mountainretreatorg.net/faq/smoking.html ^
  3. Matthew 15:8-9 ^
  4. www.bible-truth.org/Smoking.html ^
  5. Proverbs 30:5-6 ^ ^
  6. e.g. Ecclesiastes 7:16 ^
  7. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ^
  8. Romans 14:22-23 ^
  9. Matthew 7:1-2 ^
  10. 1 Corinthians 6:12 ^
  11. Titus 1:15 ^
  12. 1 Timothy 6:17 ^
  13. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 10:31-33 ^
  14. 2 Corinthians 6:3 ^
  15. 1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV ^
  16. 1 Corinthians 9:20-21 ^
  17. e.g. Acts 15:1-5 ^
  18. those under the law ^
  19. Gentiles ^
  20. Acts 21:20-21, 28 ^
  21. http://livinghopefellowshipchurch.org/smoking+.html ^
  22. Exodus 19:18 ^
  23. Psalm 18:8 ^
  24. Isaiah 6:1-4 ^
  25. Revelation 15:8 ^

3 Responses

  1. [...] We believe that very few people actually believe the Bible, and that most churches lead to hell. The Bible does not forbid: polygyny, drugs, gambling, smoking, drinking, masturbation. [...]

  2. [...] The Bible doesn't forbid: drugs, drinking, smoking, gambling, slavery, polygyny, masturbation. That's not an exhaustive list. [...]

  3. [...] None of these things are inherently wrong to do. Drinking and smoking cannabis are not condemned by Scripture. [...]

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