25 Bible Verses About Addiction

Break free from addiction with wisdom from Scripture

Young woman sharing her struggle with addiction in a support group

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Addiction is a chronic or habitual dependency on a substance (like drugs or alcohol), a compulsion (like viewing pornography, engaging in unwanted sexual behavior, or binge eating and purging), or an activity (like shopping, gambling, or gaming). These are just a few of the many addictions people use to cope with overwhelming life events or to escape emotional pain and anxiety.

While the Bible does not explicitly mention the word addiction, it does contain numerous passages that address the issue and offer wisdom to help believers break free from sin and the consequences of addiction. These Bible verses about addiction provide hope, healing, guidance, and insight on your road to recovery.

What Does the Bible Say About Addiction?

While addiction and dependency disorders are relatively new ideas, they are inherently linked to the age-old problem of sin, of which the Bible has much to say. Addiction exists because we live in a fallen world where people are wounded through sin’s influence and enslaved by sin’s control.

Perhaps the simplest way to understand addiction in light of Scripture is that sin of any kind is addicting. When a sinful behavior takes mastery over our lives, rather than us mastering it, we become enslaved to it, and our sin becomes a stronghold of addiction.

While most addictions start as a coping mechanism for dealing with painful experiences, trauma, stress, abuse, childhood wounds, anxiety, and other hurtful emotions, they inevitably lead to further damage, broken relationships, guilt, shame, isolation, illness, and often death. Fortunately, the Bible contains much wisdom regarding addiction, including where to find help, wholeness, and healing.

A Consequence of Brokeness and Sin

Most addicts are emotionally wounded people who have experienced severe trauma, often in childhood. Their addiction becomes a way of coping with everyday life, helping them forget or mask past hurts. Instead, the person ends up in a destructive cycle of bondage to sin, rendering them incapable of experiencing the freedom and wholeness they truly want and need. 

2 Peter 2:19
For you are a slave to whatever controls you. (NLT)

John 8:34
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.” (NLT)

Romans 6:16
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (NLT)

Romans 6:20–21
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (ESV)

Addiction's Core

At its core, addiction is slavery to sin and rebellion against God. Addiction represents the human, fleshly way of seeking relief apart from God, who, in reality, is the only real source of help and hope.

Philippians 3:18–19
For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. (NLT)

Isaiah 5:11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! (ESV)

Galatians 5:19–21
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (NLT)

1 Peter 2:11
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. (NIV)

Christ Came to Set Us Free From Sin’s Control

Galatians 5:1 says that Jesus Christ set us free, and therefore, we should not get tied up again in slavery to sin. John 8:36 also says that the Son of God sets us free, and so we are free indeed.

Romans 6:6–7
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. (NLT)

Romans 6:11
So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Romans 6:12-13
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. (NLT)

Romans 6:14
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. (NLT)

Romans 6:18–19
Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. (NLT)

Romans 8:12–14
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 6:12
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. (NLT)

Seek God’s Help

God desires that we come to him and admit our weakness and powerlessness to overcome sin. Through faith in God and trust in his great power, we will find the help we need. God will forgive our sins and transform our lives. Turn to the Lord and let God’s unconditional love heal your broken heart.

2 Corinthians 12:9–10
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NLT)

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (ESV)

Psalm 145:18–19
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. (ESV)

Mark 10:27
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” (NLT)

Ephesians 3:20
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (NLT)

Seek Help From Others

We are not alone in our struggle against sin. We need other believers and counselors, support groups, recovery programs, and accountability partners to succeed in our battle with addiction.

1 Corinthians 10:13
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (NLT)

James 5:15-16
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 1:3–7
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. … Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. (NLT)

Ecclesiastes 4:9–10
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 12:25–26
This makes for harmony among the members [of Christ's body], so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. (NLT)

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Fairchild, Mary. "25 Bible Verses About Addiction." Learn Religions, Jun. 29, 2021, learnreligions.com/bible-verses-about-addiction-5186969. Fairchild, Mary. (2021, June 29). 25 Bible Verses About Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/bible-verses-about-addiction-5186969 Fairchild, Mary. "25 Bible Verses About Addiction." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/bible-verses-about-addiction-5186969 (accessed September 26, 2021).