29 January 2023 AM – Psalm 86:11 – Wine – Scott Childs
Introduction: Two weeks ago, we began this study by laying a foundational understanding of the words translated “wine” in the Bible. We found that the main word for wine in the O.T. and the main word for wine in the N.T. are both generic words referring to all the forms of a grape, including the fruit, raisins, fresh juice, preserved juice, and fermented wine.
Last week we focussed on methods of preservation of wine used in Bible days and on scriptures that warn against alcohol.
Transition: This morning, I want us to take a fourth step to distinguish truth from error about Bible Wines.
The fourth step I want us to take to distinguish truth from error is to …
4. Examine Scriptures used to Promote Alcohol Use
The verses we will be examining this morning are some of the most common Scriptures used by those who want to defend the moderate drinking of alcohol.
a. The Bible custom of eating and drinking
We find the phrase “eating and drinking” six times in the Old Testament and four times in the New Testament. We will look at them in order.
1) (Ruth 3:3) “Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.” After a long day of work, Boaz ate and drank before going to bed. Nothing in the context tells us what he ate or drank.
2) (1 Samuel 30:16) “And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.” The Amalekites had burned Ziklag, David’s city. He chased after them and found them eating and drinking. Though they were partying and dancing, the context does not tell us what they ate or drank.
3) (1 Kings 4:20) “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.” This verse describes the prosperity of the people during Solomon’s reign. What they were eating and drinking, we do not know, but they were making merry (i.e., they were rejoicing).
4) (1 Chronicles 12:39) “And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them.” The men of Israel were unified as they prepared to make David king. There is no indication that this was a time of drunkenness.
5) (Job 1:13) “And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:” (Job 1:18) “While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house.” In these two verses, God tells us that they were drinking wine. However, the word yayin is generic, and there is no evidence from the context or moral intent that the wine was alcoholic.
6) (Matthew 11:19) “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” (Luke 7:34) “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” Here, critics claim that because Jesus ate and drank as a normal Jew (He was not a Nazarite like John), that he was a glutton and winebibber. This is not logical. We will look at this in detail later.
7) (Matthew 24:38) “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,” (Luke 10:7) “And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” Eating and drinking in these two verses describe taking in daily sustenance, but they do not specify what they drank. Thus, one cannot justly use the phrase “eating and drinking” to support the drinking of alcohol.
b. The use of the word “excess” in Ephesians 5:18.
1) (Ephesians 5:18) “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;“
2) In this verse, the wine is obviously alcoholic. However, the word translated “excess” does not mean “too much”. It describes a recklessly extravagant, squanderingly, wasteful way of life. Mickelson’s Lexicon Translators render the word as dissipation, debauchery, wild living, and reckless actions.
4) Paul used the dominating and degrading influence of alcohol to contrast the guiding and beneficial influence of allowing the Holy Spirit to control. Instead of excusing moderate drinking, this verse actually forces a Christian to choose between it and the filling of the Holy Spirit.
c. The Bible use of the word “moderation”.
1) (Philippians 4:5) “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.“
2) The meaning of the word translated “moderation” is to be gentle, mild or suitable. The context has nothing to do with wine.
d. Not given to much wine
1) (1 Timothy 3:8) “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;” (Titus 2:3) “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;“
2) The word translated “given” in Timothy means to be holden to, but the word in Titus means to be enslaved to. The word “much” in both passages means much. “In order to understand these verses, we will need to understand a popular vice of that time. That was to drink a lot of unfermented wine.” See David Gross, William Patton or Gary Panell, https://bible-christian.org/beer-and-other-alcoholic-beverages-in-the-bible/ . However, if this is referring to drunkenness, the problem becomes more serious in the light of 1 Corinthians 6:10. “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.“
e. A little wine for thy stomach’s sake
1) (1 Timothy 5:23) “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” From this, we learn that Paul and Timothy were in a habit of drinking only water.
2) “There is a legitimate question as to whether this “wine” was fermented wine or unfermented grape juice … Assuming it was fermented wine, Paul was simply prescribing a little of it as a medicine for Timothy’s frequent digestive disorders, apparently aggravated by the contaminated water of the region. Alcohol, of course, is a germicide, and there are many medicines used today which contain small amounts of alcohol for that reason. Timothy was normally a total abstainer … and Paul had to urge him to take even “a little wine” for his medicinal needs. At most, therefore, people can only justifiably refer to this verse as authorizing the use of small amounts of bacteria-killing alcohol for medicinal purposes.” The new Defender’s Study Bible.
Conclusion: We have examined the words and phrases “eating and drinking”, “wherein is excess”, “moderation”, “not given to much wine” and “a little wine for thy stomach’s sake”. We have shown that one cannot justly use these to support moderate drinking of alcoholic wine.
When the word “wine” in a Scripture is not clearly specified as fermented wine, we ought to assume that it was unfermented juice based on God’s command in Proverbs 23:31. “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.“