Bible Answer

Can believers smoke marijuana?

Since a believer has liberty to enjoy all things God has made (1Tim 4:4), can a believer smoke marijuana?

We must interpret every verse of the Bible in keeping with the rest of the Bible. When we take one verse out of context, it leads to false interpretations. In the case of 1 Timothy 4:4. Paul was discussing a Christian's liberty to eat all kinds of foods. We can see this clearly by looking at the entire context of the verse:

1Tim. 4:1  But  the Spirit explicitly says that  in later times some will  fall away from the faith, paying attention to  deceitful spirits and  doctrines of demons,
1Tim. 4:2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars  seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,
1Tim. 4:3 men who  forbid marriage and advocate  abstaining from foods which  God has created to be  gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
1Tim. 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is  received with gratitude;

Clearly, Paul's intent was not to endorse the use of illegal drugs. In fact, Paul himself teaches elsewhere that illegal activity of any kind is a sin, both for believers and unbelievers. The Bible makes this clear in numerous places.

First, Paul tells us in Romans 13:

Rom. 13:1  Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except  from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Rom. 13:2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

All governmental authority extends from God, and when we resist the laws of our land, we resist God (i.e., we sin). The government has outlawed the use of certain drugs, including marijuana. Therefore, when a Christian uses these drugs, they commit a crime, and the Bible teaches that violating the law is a sin. 

Peter teaches the same thing when he says:

1Pet. 2:12  Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they  slander you as evildoers, they may  because of your good deeds, as they observe them,  glorify God  in the day of  visitation.
1Pet. 2:13  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
1Pet. 2:14 or to governors as sent  by him  for the punishment of evildoers and the  praise of those who do right.
1Pet. 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may  silence the ignorance of foolish men.
1Pet. 2:16 Act as  free men, and  do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as  bondslaves of God.

Your testimony as a Christian is compromised when you violated the law, including the drug laws.  You are shaming the name of Christ.  We are expected to do what is right before men so that by our excellent, law-abiding behavior the name of Christ is glorified.

Again, Paul teaches:

Titus 3:1  Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,

More recently, some states have begun to legalize the use of certain drugs, including marijuana. Christians living in these states have liberty to partake of legal substances, according to the leading of the Spirit. Even as you may do so, consider whether such behavior is constructive to your witness and your walk with Christ. 

The Bible teaches we are not to give our bodies over to the influence of any substance, but instead we are to allow the Holy Spirit to remain in control of our bodies:

Eph. 5:18  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

Paul says we are not to be drunk with wine since this is a dissipation. Dissipation is the needless wasting of energy and opportunity. Instead, the Church is to be under the influence and direction of the Spirit, so we can remain productive for Christ. Paul uses the example of wine since alcohol was the common "drug" of his day.

In the case of alcohol, it is possible to drink  in moderation without losing control of one's senses, so it is not necessary to abstain from alcohol entirely to obey Paul's command in Ephesians 5:18. On the other hand, many drugs (including marijuana) are mind-altering even in small doses. In fact, the primary attraction of these substances is in their ability to bring altered states of consciousness, which is a direct violation of Paul's command to rely on the Spirit and nothing else.

Therefore, though the use of marijuana or other drugs may one day become legal in your area, the question remains does your use of these things violate scripture? While the Bible may give us liberty to use legal substances, we must apply a higher standard in making our decision. As Paul taught:

1Cor. 10:23   All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 

Therefore, we strongly encourage all Christians to resist the urge to use illegal and even legal use of mind-altering drugs, and instead seek for a closer walk with Christ in obedience and self-sacrifice.