Ancient Wine Production and the Bible

October 4, 2012

By David R. Brumbelow, Highlands, Texas.

David Brumbelow is a pastor, and a graduate of East Texas Baptist Uuniversity and Southwestern Seminary. He is author of “Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence,” (freechurchpress.com); foreword by Paige Patterson. He blogs at gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com.


Misperceptions abound about the Bible and wine.  Many believe the wine of the Bible was the same as today and always alcoholic.  But the biblical and ancient words for wine were generic; they referred to both alcoholic and nonalcoholic wine.  For example, Jesus referred to unfermented wine as “wine” (Greek word, oinos; Matthew 9:17).  The Old Testament referred to just pressed grapes as “wine” (Proverbs 3:10; Isaiah 16:10; Joel 2:24).Just pressed grapes produce nonalcoholic wine or grape juice.  It refers to grapes on the vine as “wine’ (Isaiah 65:8).  Scripture even speaks of infants crying for wine (Lamentations 2:11-12); parents do not give alcoholic, but nonalcoholic wine to infants.

Ancient writers did not have a word for alcohol, but Aristotle, Plutarch, Pliny, Hippocrates, Colum Ella, Athenaeums and others recognized some wine would intoxicate and some would not.  Aristotle said sweet wine (which had not fermented, thereby taking away it’s sweetness) would not inebriate.  Plutarch gave a confused discussion of why sweet wine would not intoxicate, and other wine would.

Nonalcoholic wine was common and when the Bible refers to wine, it must be determined by the context whether it is referring to alcoholic or nonalcoholic wine. Some wine was dangerous (Proverbs 20:1; Isaiah 28:7), some was not (Judges 9:13; Psalm 104:15; Zechariah 9:17).  Scripture says Jesus turned water to wine (oinos); it does not say the sinless Christ turned water to beverage alcohol.  Remember Jesus Himself called nonalcoholic wine “oinos.”

Another misperception is that all ancient wine was fermented and alcoholic, except for a brief period between pressing the grapes and when fermentation set in.  They contend fermentation could not be prevented until the 1860s discovery of pasteurization.  Some authorities have said Passover wine had to be fermented since Passover was in the Spring, months after the grape harvest.  History, ancient knowledge, and science disprove this assumption.

Unfermented wine was easier for ancients to produce and preserve than alcoholic wine.  Methods included boiling down fresh wine to a thick consistency that would not spoil or ferment.  When ready to drink, they simply added water.  This thick, strong wine (grape molasses, pekmez, vincotto) was also used for cooking. *  The grape harvest lasted six months and certain type grapes would keep fresh for months.  These grapes could be pressed into wine at any time of the year (Genesis 40:11).  Dried grapes or raisins were re-hydrated and pressed into fresh un-intoxicating wine, a practice used by many Jews right up to modern times.  Ancient warriors were given cakes of dried grapes to make their own wine as needed.  Nonalcoholic wine was also preserved with salt and lactic fermentation.

These and other methods were commonly used by ancients to produce and preserve nonalcoholic wine.  Just because we do not know these ancient methods, in no way means they did not know.  This unfermented wine was widespread and held in high esteem.  In contrast, drinkable alcoholic wine did not just magically happen; it was difficult to produce and preserve.

While most Baptists oppose alcohol, they still debate whether the Bible directly condemns it.  I believe it does.  Proverbs 20:1 directly calls wine a mocker.  Proverbs 23:29-35 describes the effects of alcoholic wine and says not to even look at that kind of wine (23:31).  1 Thessalonians5:6-8 and 1 Peter 5:8 command us to be sober.  Sober (Greek, nepho) literally means “wineless.”  In addition a number of biblical principles teach against using alcohol (or any other drug) for pleasure or recreation.

For these and many other reasons, for well over 100 years Southern Baptists and the Church Covenant have wisely advised to abstain from the manufacture, sale, and use of beverage alcohol.

* I have some of this thick wine (grape molasses); made in Lebanon.  While it says to refrigerate after opening, I opened it, then kept it at room temperature.  It has kept in perfect condition, without spoiling or fermenting, for over two years.

 

 

 

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Steve Martin

They referred to Jesus as a “drunkard and a glutton”.

When Jesus made approx. 160 gallons of wine for the wedding feast at Cana, you could be pretty sure that it was wine…and not grape juice.

Should we get drunk? Of course not. If someone has a problem with drinking to excess, they should not drink at all.

But lets not change history to suit our own agendas.

    Hal Stephens

    Amen.

    David R. Brumbelow

    Yes, those who hated Jesus and sought His death called Him a drunkard and a glutton. Some Christians even say since they accused Him of being a drunkard, that at least showed Jesus drank alcohol.

    Jesus’ enemies also accused Him of having a demon (John 10:20-21). Using this reasoning, would that mean Jesus was at least a little demon possessed? Of course not. All were false accusations.

    John Baptist did not socialize at all, Jesus did; therefore His enemies slandered him in this way.

    Steve, I have extensively studied the history of this issue. Despite the charge, perhaps it is others who are attempting to change history. Much historical evidence backs up my article.
    David R. Brumbelow

      volfan007

      Also, it says that Jesus made this wine AFTER everyone had already drank up the rest. So, you would have to be saying that Jesus was contributing to drunkeness to say that the wine He made was fermented wine. You’d have to be saying that Jesus saw that the guests had already drank everything up….were well lit and tipsy already…and that He made MORE fermented wine, so that the guests could get even more lit.

      I dont think that the Lord Jesus was a bartender, who was also a bad bartender, who wanted the crowd to be falling down drunk.

      Thanks, David B. for another great post on this subject.

      David

      Calvin S.

      Jesus himself said he drank alcohol.

      “18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.” (Matt. 11:18-19)

      But some people don’t like the truth. This is a good example that some in the SBC have “itching ears” and hear only what they want to hear. Pretty sad when our own Savior is not fit to pastor a church in the SBC because of his drinking wine and giving others at a wedding (who had already been drinking) more wine to drink.

        Norm Miller

        Jesus didn’t say he drank alcohol. You need to read that verse again. — Norm.

    Steve Martin

    We know that Jesus wasn’t a drunkard. But we also know that he drank wine. And made wine.

    Jesus NEVER got drunk. He never sinned. Having wine is not a sin. We have it every time we receive the Lord’s Supper. We also offer grape juice for those who cannot drink wine.

Chris Ellis

Gentry’s “God Gave Wine” is an excellent scholarly book on this subject and a book all SBC pastors should read.

Mahlon LeCroix

I am not convinced that alcohol is a sin, but I know causing one to stumble is. I abstain because I know that in reality I meet and pass by drug addicts and alcoholics daily. Many I never know or see, but they are there. Alcoholism and addiction is rampant. It is not just in the US. I went to a rural village in Peru on a mission trip and found numorus drunks. As a minister of the Gospel, I have been called to reach all that I can, and that includes those who need to know that one does not have to drink to be social in this alcohol and drug saturated culture we live in. I preach a Gospel where one seeks to be filled with the Holy Spirit to find peace, rest, and comfort not the neon sign spirits. If you must have alcohol to be social or relax, then you have missed out on something far better. We have been called to be in the world, but not of the world. Why not live different? Why not live set apart? What is so important about alcohol that one is willing to jeopardize causing another brother or sister to stumble?
I agree with the previous comment that one should not be dogmatic on debatable issues by twisting history and the Word to suit one point of view, even though the commenter seems to do the same thing by denying the existence of non-alcoholic wine, which in its self is denying history. I take the several warnings of how dangerous alcohol is in the Word serious. I take the dire warnings of causing others to stumble serious. I will not allow my liberty to drink alcohol to hinder my witness or my calling to be a minister to ALL. We must not be so dogmatic to say one should never, nor should some scream legalistic the moment some do.

    Shane Dodson

    How is drinking alcohol for the glory of God “causing someone to stumble?”

    What a great, Christ-honoring testimony to offer to a world that abuses alcohol as it abuses so many other of God’s gifts.

      John Wylie

      Shane,

      Has it occurred to you that a person can also abstain from drinking to the glory of God? What about John the Baptist? Mahlon was talking about having a holy concern for alcoholics.

        Shane Dodson

        “Has it occurred to you that a person can also abstain from drinking to the glory of God?”

        Of course. Has it occurred to you that a person can drink alcohol for the glory of God?

          John Wylie

          Of course. But in the context that Mahlon proposes abstinence is a biblical option.

            Shane Dodson

            To my knowledge, nobody has suggested otherwise.

            John Wylie

            Your initial comment to Mahlon suggested otherwise. He was talking about our relationship to alcoholics and you started asking about drinking to the glory of God. Shane, you can’t drink to the glory of God in the presence of a man who is tempted by alcohol.

      Norm Miller

      Really, Shane, really? If drinking diminishes your witness, how can the drinking bring God glory? You apparently assume that the world understands what the Bible says about alcohol. You seem to have the same mindset of my former pastor. His taste buds were more important to him than his testimony. Do you drink alcohol? Just curious, b/c it seems that those who defend it are those who use it. And the defense, then, is really based on a lust for the flavor, and maybe for the ‘light buzz’ that some imbibers say one or two servings induce. If true, how shameful it would be for a believer to hide behind liberty for lust’s sake. — Norm

Bob Cleveland

When Jesus turned the water into wine at Cana, the master of the banquet remarked that usually they served the good wine first, and then after the guests had “too much to drink”, they bring out the cheap stuff. But Jesus made the best wine. I doubt the master of the banquet was referring to their merely being really full of grape juice (at which point I’d think they’d just stop drinking it) so I’m forced to believe it was real fermented wine that Jesus made.

Perhaps it is that wine isn’t sinful and it’s just the Baptist tendency to rationalize what they’ve always held to, like 1/3 of our members actually coming to church being OK.

I will say this for alcoholic beverages, though. A lot of Baptists are affected by them, lose their sense of judgment and perspective, simply at their mention, without even drinking them. Maybe they’re making up for all the Baptists who drink a glass of wine at dinner without drunkenness or sin.

David R. Brumbelow

Why would Jesus made sweet, fresh, pure, new wine, then decompose it and make it a drug that takes away your good judgment? Jesus did the same thing He does every year in every vineyard in making fresh wine, He just speeded up the process.

The people said Jesus’ wine was the best. Wouldn’t anything made by Jesus be the best? Why does the best have to mean alcoholic?

Ever drank premium “wine grape” juice? Some is so sweet people add water to dilute it. People of Jesus’ day craved sweet things and could only get them from fruit or honey. Many craved sweet unfermented wine. Come to think of it, many today crave sweet nonalcoholic drinks.

Why would Jesus go against Scripture that describes alcoholic wine and then says to have nothing to do with it?

I agree with David W., Jesus was not a bartender or drug pusher. Could you imagine Him today making marijuana out of lawn bags of grass clippings (even where it is legal)?

There is no indication of drunkenness at the wedding of Cana, even though they drank great amounts of wine. No one went home that day and beat his wife. No one had to be arrested for drunk camel riding.
David R. Brumbelow

Tim B

David,

I share your conclusions on the word “oinos” and appreciate you laying the facts out for all to see. I find it interesting that the yrr calvinists will stay up well past midnight arguing the meaning of the word “all” but won’t give the facts you lay on the word “wine” out the time of day. After all, they say, “wine” means “wine.”

bruce mercer

i believe you are bending scripture to fit a preconceived ideal. personally, i am a nondrinker but drinking wine is not a sin although drunkeness is. history and interpretation is on the side of the alcohol

Ron Hale

Thanks David for the article and I enjoyed reading your book: Ancient Wine & The Bible; your case of abstinence is very sound!

David R. Brumbelow

Thanks for the comments and the “Likes.” I will be indisposed for a day or two. Should there be any questions, I might be able to respond later. Of course, I deal with this issue in much greater detail in “Ancient Wine and the Bible.”

Thanks to SBCToday for posting my article.

As Tim B mentioned above, many contend that wine always means wine. Yet virtually every word in an English Dictionary has more than one meaning. Imagine the confusion if everyone insisted that the words “God/god,” Spirit/spirit,” “angel,” “faith,” etc. only have one meaning in the Bible.
David R. Brumbelow

holdon

You may be interested in an opposing argument from a godly man:

http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/kelly/7subjcts/wine.html

Shane Dodson

Are you saying that nobody can drink alcohol for the glory of God?

Answer carefully.

Shane Dodson

Beware of those who create extra-Biblical laws and then hold men accountable to them.

We know Scripture condemns drunkenness. Wine is a mocker and strong drink is a brawler to those who are lead astray by them (Prov 20:1–the entire verse).

So the Scripture tells us not to even LOOK at wine? So merely laying your eyes on a glass of wine is sinful? Seriously?

Scripture does not condemn the drinking of alcohol. Abstain if you wish according to your conscience.

Do not hold others accountable to your conscience. That is Pharasaical.

    Calvin S.

    AMEN Shane!!!!! This whole debate has become Pharasaical. They are calling something sin which God has not. Wine too has a God-given place, just as sex in marriage, eating food, etc. This is exactly the sort of thing Jesus rebuked: “in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9)

    This is a doctrine of men, not of God.

florin

I find this to be a great issue with American christianity: Rather than rely on scripture alone for interpretation, historical context is always brought in to define biblical meaning. Regardless of the conclusion drawn in respect to the nature of wine, using history to prove/disprove bible is of grevious consequence. This I believe, is one of the reasons that the visible church in the States has weakened so much in the past 100 years.

The practice diminishes and shifts authority from God to man and from ordinary believers to bible experts. It also causes generations of believers to resort to conveniently secondary aids in their walk with God rather than go first and mostly to prayerful and thoughtful bible study.

Scripture interprets scripture so that any generation and any level of (un)/education will find scripture sufficient in all matters of life. God wrote the Book. He knows how much context was needed.

Todd Burus

David,
I have not read your book. That said, I hope the arguments you use in that book are not as obviously fallacious as the ones in your above post:

“Why would Jesus made sweet, fresh, pure, new wine, then decompose it and make it a drug that takes away your good judgment?”

The whole discussion is introduced by the begging the question fallacy. You have already assumed that if Jesus were to produce (alcoholic) wine then that is a bad thing. You assume the conclusion and then set out to prove it.

“I agree with David W., Jesus was not a bartender or drug pusher. Could you imagine Him today making marijuana out of lawn bags of grass clippings (even where it is legal)?”

This is either an association fallacy or an appeal to emotion fallacy. It is a long road from a wine maker to a drug pusher.

“There is no indication of drunkenness at the wedding of Cana, even though they drank great amounts of wine. No one went home that day and beat his wife. No one had to be arrested for drunk camel riding.”

This is an argument from silence as well as a false dichotomy. There is no discussion on this either way, nor is it necessary to conclude that wife beating or impaired driving would occur had there been drunkenness.

More could be said, but I don’t think needs to be.

    Calvin S.

    It is an article with no real substance in truth but has great appeal to itching ears who already know what they want to hear.

    But you all are dangerously close to calling our Lord Jesus a sinner because of his drinking and giving others to drink!

      Norm Miller

      You are welcome to your opinion, Cal. However, to level a charge that some are calling Jesus a sinner assumes that you know what sort of wine Jesus drank. This is the crux of the posted article, really. Just because you may believe the wine was alcoholic doesn’t mean that others who disagree with you are “close to calling our Lord Jesus a sinner because of his drinking and giving others to drink.” If your near-accusation is to be true, then it must also be irrefutably true that the wine in question was fermented. Can you say circular argument? — Norm

      volfan007

      Calvin,

      I’d say that you are dangerously close to calling our Lord a foolish man, because the book of Proverbs talks about how foolish it is to drink fermented wine.

      So, are you calling Jesus “foolish?’ Also, are you saying that the Lord Jesus contributed to the drunkeness of the people, who were at the wedding feast?

      David

        Calvin S.

        No. The text (esp. v. 10) is clear that it is fermented: The good wine that usually was given to people until they got drunk is the wine that Jesus gave them. It’s fermented. Your bias is the only thing standing in the way of seeing this. And therefore, you–not me–are leveling a charge against Jesus for sinning for giving fermented wine. I see no sin in what He has done, no more than seeing Paul as sinning for making tents that people may have fornicated in. Paul is not guilty for what people might have done with his tents. And Jesus is not guilty of what people might have done with his fermented wine.

        But what you may learn from this passage is that giving wine to others is okay, perhaps even if it makes them tipsy. Otherwise, you will still come with the charge that Jesus sinned (since He indeed gave more alcohol to people who were drinking alcohol)

Steve Martin

People can and do over eat, as well. It too is every bit as sinful as drunkeness.

I’d hate to have this talk with any believer who is overweight and who consistently ignores God’s word on gluttony.

But, I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be any of the ‘any alcohol is bad’ folks.

    Dean

    Steve, I would like for you to clarify your comment please. Which is sinful being overweight or overeating? You have confused me on that. I am sure that there are thousands of overweight people who eat half what you do everyday. Are they gluttons? What body mass index is the inspired one? I can assure you that not many people overweight or not are interested in talking to a pompous jerk.

      Steve Martin

      Overeating is sinful.

      I know a LOT of Christians, including myself, who do it…regularly.

      Not to mention the other hundred sins of commission and omission that we regularly engage in.

        Dean

        Steve, you said, “Id hate to talk to an overweight believer on this subject.” Those are your words. Is being overweight sinful? What Bible teaches that? No question gluttony is sinful, but you mentioned weight. It is true that most people who overeat are overweight but that is not an absolute. My wife can eat anything she wants and weighs lest than 115 pounds. She has same figure as she had in high school. It is also true that it is not a guarantee that a person who is overweight overeats. I have pastored people who have eaten nothing but crumbs for years and can’t get the extra weight off. I’m very sensitive for them. It is wrong for someone to assume that a large person overeats or is guilty of gluttony. You struck a nerve with me. You can have a keg party at the parsonage if you want but don’t call a person a glutton just because they are overweight. You do not know what you speak!

          Steve Martin

          OK…I mispoke.

          I should have said, ‘A believer who overeats’.

          There are plenty of those out there. And lack of exercise is sinful also, if it cause us to be poor stewards of the gifts that God has given us.

          Focusing on our ‘sins’ is a dubious exercise and will only result is despair, or pride.

          We have a ‘sin’ problem. It is our condition.

          Treating it like so much doggie-stuff that we either step into, or avoid, does not address the main problem, and can even make it worse.

            volfan007

            Steve,

            Being overweight is sinful? Dude… c’mon. Gluttony is a hedonistic lifestyle, where gorging yourself on food is part of it…drunkeness is also a part of gluttony, and sexual sins, as well. But, eating a double, Baconator at Wendy’s is not gluttony. Also, being overweight is not a sin…..

            Also, Man, you said that not exercising is sinful!!! Seriously??? Where is that in the Bible?

            David

            David R. Brumbelow

            Gluttony is more than eating a double bacon cheeseburger.

            The Holman Bible Dictionary says:
            “Glutton – One habitually given to greedy and voracious eating; associated with stubbornness, rebellion, disobedience, drunkenness, and wastefulness (Deuteronomy 21:20). A more general meaning for the Hebrew term as a ‘good-for-nothing’ (Proverbs 28:7, TEV) is reflected in some translations: ‘wastrel’ (Deuteronomy 21:20 REB); ‘profligate’ (Deuteronomy 21:20 NIV; Proverbs 28:7 REB); ‘riotous’ (Proverbs 28:7, KJV.”
            David R. Brumbelow

          Steve Martin

          Maybe you have never been a glutton in your life, but I have.

          And I know for a fact that most believers have been, also. Many still are.

          This examining our ‘sins’ game is a bad thing to do. Unless it reveals to us that” ALL mouths will be stopped.”

            Calvin S.

            Amen Steve. Romans 3:8 when Paul says “we” he is clearly refering to believers. Than immediately in v. 9 he says “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.”

            We Christians are not an better than the immoral homosexual idol worshipper in Romans 1 or the moral and Jew of Romans 2. All are under condemnation. And we too are no better than that. None of us seek God either. Thankfully though He changed our hearts and turned us from our good-for-nothingness.

Steve Martin

This is one of those posts where one would wish that the previous post on ‘sins’ vs. ‘sin’, was really much better understood.

Steve Martin

volfanoo7,

Everything done apart from faith, is sin. We are NOT good stewards of the gifts that God has given us. That is just the way it is.

The Sermon on the Mount should make that clear. “Be perfect…”

And read Romans 7. St. Paul fully understood this. And if we are really honest with ourselves…we will see it there (in the way we live), also.

Norm Miller

What about considering whether believers ought to drink any amount of alcohol, and not on the basis of what we may believe about scriptural prohibitions and admonitions. Let’s consider the question of whether we should imbibe and not whether we are allowed.

I contend that we get bogged down in what the ancient words mean and how we will apply them. IMHO, the better question is as stated above. More succinctly: not “can” we, but “should” we.

For those of you who read my post from several days ago, you’ll note that I played pool in an amateur league, and every venue served alcohol. Some matches were held in establishments my dad would call a “dive” or a “beer joint.” Put yourself in that situation. What would have happened to your witness had you imbibed, even in moderation. Would you be willing to sacrifice your witness?

The issue at this point isn’t what the Greek word “oinos” really means. The issue is how lost people would perceive your actions. How could you talk an alcohol abuser about his need for Jesus with a beer in your hand?

I pitched this scenario to my former pastor — who said that there was nothing like a Sam Adams beer to cure a headache — and he actually blamed the lost person in this instance. He tried to convince me it would be okay for me to have a beer in that setting. And if other bar patrons had a problem with that, then it was a “demonstration of their ignorance regarding what the Bible says about alcohol,” he said. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Consider the logic of my former pastor. His beer was more important to him than his witness. The ignorance among unbelievers about the Bible is overshadowed by my former pastor’s ignorance regarding a Christian’s witness. What he was not seeing in that moment is that lost people are ignorant of far more important Scriptures than those pertaining to alcohol consumption. But how can you tell lost people about hell, e.g., or the Lord’s atoning death while Sam Adams is your friend?

We see the exercise of what some see as liberty taken to a dangerous extreme when some churches offer ‘Beer & Bible Study’ gatherings. I know of at least one in the Northwest that offers beer brewing classes. So, let us suppose that what some say is true regarding a genetic predisposition to addictive behaviors, and such a person has their first taste of alcohol at a Bible study — and that person is plunged into alcoholism. Too hypothetical you say? Maybe. I rather think such a matter is probable. But what church leader wants to discover if it could happen? Isn’t it far better to err on the side of caution and not liberty?

As much as I appreciate the above post and the ensuing comments, I think we are discussing the lesser question. While we have such a discussion, and some on one side of the matter continue to imbibe, let us all remember that the world is watching. — Norm

    Steve Martin

    Exactly.

    “The strong should bear with the failings of the weak.”

    “All things in Christ are lawful…but not all things are profitable.”

    Calvin S.

    Norm wrote:

    “What about considering whether believers ought to drink any amount of alcohol, and not on the basis of what we may believe about scriptural prohibitions and admonitions.”

    Norm, why don’t we rather consider whether Jesus drank, was public about it and gave others to drink. Jesus’ life is the standard. Nothing else.

      Norm Miller

      Posing that question would revert to what sort of wine Jesus drank — fermented or not. I posit that that discussion, while important, is the lesser discussion. Again, not “can” we, but “should” we.
      And the standard would be what the Word says about our witness, and the responsibility not to live in such a way that misleads others and could result in millstones around our necks.
      I agree, Jesus is the standard, But so is the Bible, and the two are hardly mutually exclusive as your comment apparently implies. — Norm

Casey

If you ever go fishing with a Baptist friend, make sure you take at least two. If you only take one, he’ll drink all your beer.

David R. Brumbelow

Norm,
I believe the Bible directly prohibits alcohol. I believe the biblical words for wine refer to both fermented and unfermented wine. Unfermented wine (grape juice) was common and easily preserved.

But whether or not one agrees with the above, I also agree with the wisdom principle that would lead Christians today to abstain and to not harm their witness. My book would affirm both of these views. So either way, we are both on the same side.
David R. Brumbelow

    Norm Miller

    David: Thx for you insightful article. As I’m sure you know, I wasn’t attempting to necessarily distract from your position. I guess if I were to state mine more tersely, it would be like this: Those who would argue for the freedom to imbibe value their tastebuds over their testimony, and their liberty of conscience over the love of Christ expressed to others spotlessly. If believers could agree that Christians ought not to imbibe for the sake of their testimonies, then the discussion over word meanings, though important, would be moot. Again, thx for your input. — Norm

      David R. Brumbelow

      Norm,
      Thanks, and I agree.
      David R. Brumbelow

      Calvin S.

      Norm writes: “I guess if I were to state mine more tersely, it would be like this: Those who would argue for the freedom to imbibe value their tastebuds over their testimony, and their liberty of conscience over the love of Christ expressed to others spotlessly.”

      Norm, how can anything you said above be true if Jesus drank wine and publically admitted to drinking wine? If drinking would put spots on our testimony than it would also put spots on Christ’s testimony who drank. If by drinking we were putting our love of liberty over the love of Christ, than that also bears on Jesus, since He drank. You accusation is against Jesus Christ since He drank wine–unless you can show that He did not.

      “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.” (Matt. 11:19)

      Accusation made against Christians who drink in moderation is an insult to Jesus Christ, since He also drank. Therefore, this post, and a large precentage of the comments in it is an insult to Jesus Christ.

        Norm Miller

        And how is it, Cal, that you know these are insults to Jesus? PROVE to me what Jesus drank was fermented, and I would concede your point. Fact is, however, you cannot. So, your accusations and beliefs on the matter are baseless. Further, in my Christian life experience, it is those who WANT to drink wine and beer who attempt to defend this desire by citing certain Bible verses. “But Paul would tell Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach” some would say to me. Yes, but he would have told him to take Pepto-Bismol if it had existed then, as it does now. — Norm

          Calvin S.

          As I mentioned above. The proof that Jesus gave fermented wine to drink to those who had already been drinking fermented wine is in John 2:10.

          Again, the fact that Jesus compares John the Baptist who did not drink with him who did drink is an indicator that He drank fermented wine. You don’t want to see it, but that text is evidence of it. The Baptist preconceived ideas in you is the problem in all this. Not the text of Scripture.

            volfan007

            Calvin,

            The verse you keep saying proves fermented wine does not prove that, at all. And, just because you keep repeating that it does will not make it so.

            David

            Norm Miller

            I asked for your proof that Jesus DRANK fermented wine, not made it. And given the debate over what the NT words mean, you are still SANS PROOF that what Jesus made held any alcohol. — Norm

abclay

I am curious how Deuteronomy 14:22-26 would be interpreted by those who say, “I believe the Bible directly prohibits alcohol” as Brother Brumbelow has.

    David R. Brumbelow

    abclay,
    I’ve replied. It is awaiting moderation, perhaps because I put a link in it.

    My blog has an article on Deuteronomy 14:26; it can be found in the lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).
    David R. Brumbelow

      abclay

      David,
      Thanks for the info. I looked the blog up and read the post.

      What standard do you use to determine whether scripture is speaking of your ‘non alcoholic’ or the ‘alcoholic’ wine? Is the context the sole determiner? Negative context = alcoholic, Positive context = non-alcoholic?

      In the comment section of your blog post referenced, J.C. Thibodaux has listed several concerns with your methodology. I am certain you are a busy man but can you answer his concerns?

        David R. Brumbelow

        abclay,
        You say, “What standard do you use to determine whether scripture is speaking of your ‘non alcoholic’ or the ‘alcoholic’ wine? Is the context the sole determiner? Negative context = alcoholic, Positive context = non-alcoholic?”

        My answer is yes. The words for wine were used like we use the words drink and cider today. Sometimes they mean alcohol, sometimes not.

        We have no trouble figuring out that a highway sign saying “Don’t Drink and Drive” refers to alcoholic drinks, not nonalcoholic drinks. It doesn’t have to say, “Don’t Drink Alcoholic Beverages and Drive.” We figure that out by the context.

        Also, a preacher tells his congregation, “Don’t drink.” He later says, “The church will provide the drinks at our ‘Dinner-on-the-Grounds.’” By context we can easily understand the difference. The Bible does the same in it’s use of the word wine.

        Proverbs 23:29-35 describes not all wine, but alcoholic wine, then says not to look at it. Proverbs 20:1 says wine is a mocker. Not all wine is a mocker, but alcoholic wine certainly is.

        Dr. Moses Stuart said, “My final conclusion is this, namely, that, whenever the Scriptures speak of wine as a comfort, a blessing, or a libation to God, and rank it with such articles as corn and oil, they mean, they can mean, only such wine as contained no alcohol that could have a mischievous tendency; that, whenever they denounce it, prohibit it, and connect it with drunkenness and reveling, they can mean only alcoholic or intoxicating wine.”

        At your encouragement, I have answered J. C.’s comments at my blog. They will not satisfy everyone, little does. But I give my views.
        David R. Brumbelow

David R. Brumbelow

abclay,
Good question about Deuteronomy 14:26.

Shekar (strong drink) was a similar drink to wine, just made from fruit other than grapes. It could be either fermented or unfermented just like wine. A number of authorities support this view. The NKJV translates shekar here as “similar drink,” rather than strong drink. Wycliffe translated shekar / sikera as “cider” also a drink that can be either alcoholic or nonalcoholic.

It is interesting that moderate drinkers magnify this passage that is only speaking of wine and shekar in passing, while virtually ignoring Proverbs 23:29-35 which is directly speaking of alcohol.

I speak of this in more detail at:
http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2011/08/deuteronomy-1426-does-it-commend.html

Ancient Wine and the Bible has about 10 pages devoted to shekar and Deuteronomy 14:26.
David R. Brumbelow

Calvin S.

David R. Brumbelow says: “I believe the Bible directly prohibits alcohol.”

You would be wrong then, David.

“The son of man came eating and drinking” and thus your contention makes Him out to be a sinner. Others praise you for your article, but I saw the outcome of your article and the comments of many here is to condemn Jesus Christ as a sinner.

“And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or strong drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.” (Deut. 14:26)

    David R. Brumbelow

    Calvin S.,
    You quote, “The son of man came eating and drinking,” as though that proves Jesus drank alcohol. It does not.

    I’ve been eating and drinking all week long, yet I’ve not consumed any alcohol. If someone said he saw the pastor at a local restaurant eating and drinking, would that mean he was drinking alcohol? Of course not.

    As stated in the original post, Scripture says Jesus made wine, it does not say He made alcohol. Scripture never says Jesus drank alcohol. You are giving the Bible your own inferences, then claiming them as just taking Scripture for what it says. Again, as stated and demonstrated in the original article, the biblical words for wine were used of both fermented and unfermented wine.

    You mention Deuteronomy 14:26. That is also mentioned in above comments. My blog has an article on it; you might ought to consider the other side. “Ancient Wine and the Bible” has about 10 pages on this verse and the Hebrew word shekar.
    David R. Brumbelow

      Calvin S.

      David B. writes:

      “You mention Deuteronomy 14:26. That is also mentioned in above comments. My blog has an article on it; you might ought to consider the other side. “Ancient Wine and the Bible” has about 10 pages on this verse”

      Wow! It takes 10 pages to make this verse which is very clear not be clear any longer?

Calvin S.

volfan007 writes:

“Also, it says that Jesus made this wine AFTER everyone had already drank up the rest. So, you would have to be saying that Jesus was contributing to drunkeness to say that the wine He made was fermented wine. You’d have to be saying that Jesus saw that the guests had already drank everything up….were well lit and tipsy already…and that He made MORE fermented wine, so that the guests could get even more lit.”

So in other words, 077 is basing his beliefs on this subject, not on the text of Scripture, but on his own 21st century, Southern Baptist understanding of drunkenness. He has already settled in his mind that the wine could not possibly be fermented. This is NOT the way to interpret Scripture.

077 and the other tea drinkers: Perhaps your understanding of drunkenness needs to be redefined based on what Jesus did. Perhaps being “tipsy” is not sin. Perhaps giving fermented wine to others is not sin. You have made your conclusions based on what your heart tells you and based on baptist teaching and not on the text itself. You come to the text and say “this can’t possibly be fermented wine”, with such predefined understand, how can you possibly see anything other than what you tell yourself what you want to see. 077: You need to set your Baptist baggage aside and read the text of Scripture.

    volfan007

    Calvin,

    The passage says that the guest were “well drunk.” They had already drank a lot of wine. The Bible is very, very clear that drunkenness is a sin against God. Ephesians 5.

    So, are you saying that the Lord Jesus would make more fermented wine for a party, where all the attenders had already drank a lot? To do so would be saying that Jesus contributed to their drunken condition, which would be encouraging them to sin.

    Personally, I dont think Jesus ever sinned…nor do I think that He would contribute to others sinning. Do you?

    David

      holdon

      “The passage says that the guest were “well drunk.” They had already drank a lot of wine.”

      We don’t know whether they already had drunk a lot of wine in Jn 2. We do know that they were out of wine: therefore may not have been drunk.
      So, we don’t know whether they were drunk, only that “every man” would do the reverse of what Jesus did: “every man” would bust out the inferior wine when they would be drunk already.
      Jesus changed the legalistic purification rite of the old covenant into a source of joy. That’s the principle (the first sign) of all His dealings with the Jews.

      Of course as a practical matter, everyone should know how much he can drink. Let’s not blame the Giver for the abuse.

        volfan007

        holdon,

        The very conversation between the Master of the feast and the bridgegroom was all about how most people keep the inferior wine until the end…only breaking it out if needed…after everyone had already drank a lot. It implies that the bridegroom did the opposite….after every one had drank a whole lot…then, he brought out the best quality.

        So, everyone had already drank a lot, and it was all gone…..

        Thus, if this was fermented wine…the people would’ve been tipsy, in the least….and probably well on thier way to being drunk. Therefore, Jesus would’ve been contributing more fermented wine, so that the crowd could get drunk, or drunker.

        I do not believe for one instance that Jesus would be a bartender for a crowd of drunks.

        David

          holdon

          “So, everyone had already drank a lot”

          Not to extend the “lesser discussion” too much here, but I don’t think you can infer from the passage that they were already “tipsy”. Maybe; maybe not.

          Weddings in those days lasted several days or up to a week. Intoxication happens when you drink too much in a short time. Yes, “every man” would take advantage of intoxication, by serving the inferior wine after the good one. (this illustrates that intoxication leads to a weakened capacity of judgment as we all know). But here they already had run out: therefore maybe not intoxicated anymore.

          Jesus is not the bartender here, but the producer. When He makes wine and He makes a very good one. I do think that it was definitely wine: a drink containing alcohol.

          If ye have died with Christ from the elements of the world, why as if alive in the world do ye subject yourselves to ordinances? Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, (things which are all for destruction in the using of them:) according to the injunctions and teachings of men, (which have indeed an appearance of wisdom in voluntary worship, and humility, and harsh treatment of the body, not in a certain honour,) to the satisfaction of the flesh. (Colossians 2)

          See also 1 Tim 4.

            David R. Brumbelow

            Colossians 2 (and maybe to a lesser extent 1 Timothy) out of context do seem to say drink all you want. A closer look, however, shows this is not the case.

            Colossians 2 is speaking of Judaizers, Jewish dietary laws, obsolete Jewish holy days.

            Dr. Donald Guthrie said, “Paul is here referring to any system which makes salvation dependent on the observance of certain food taboos or rigid adherence to the observance of certain days as sacred.” He is not endorsing alcohol.

            Speaking against those who say do not touch, taste, or handle, is not a blanket endorsement of everything in general. After all, Paul also said not to touch what is unclean (2 Corinthians 6:17).

            Foods which God created (1 Timothy 4) certainly does not apply to alcohol and other dangerous drugs, poison mushrooms, arsenic, etc.

            Taken in context, these verses in no way give license to drink alcohol.
            David R. Brumbelow

            holdon

            “Speaking against those who say do not touch, taste, or handle, is not a blanket endorsement of everything in general.”

            Of course not.

            But the sting is in the prescription of ordinances or what we call “legalism”, that is prescribing things in a legalistic way to others under the pretext that it is “spiritual” or also “God honoring”. Of course that is what the flesh wants: looking better than it is.

            volfan007

            Holdon,

            Obeying the Lord is not legalism. God tells us to not commit sexual sins. Is it legalism to say that we should not commit sexual sins? Of course not.

            So, when the Bible teaches in the book of Proverbs that it’s foolish to drink fermented wine, and a sin to be drunk on wine….it’s not legalistic to say the same thing to people of faith.

            David

            David R. Brumbelow

            Amen to what David W. has just said.

            Some might be interested in the following quote on legalism:

            “More precisely, legalism is the false belief that keeping certain laws – whether biblical or not – can be used as a condition for meriting God’s grace, whether for justification or sanctification (see Galatians 3:3). But one can legislate wise laws about human behavior without being legalistic in the biblical sense of the concept. Otherwise, laws against drunk driving and illegal immigration – and a host of other things beneficial to society – would be legalistic and, thereby, wrong.” -Dr. Norman L. Geisler

            Legalism is way overused by some today.
            David R. Brumbelow

            holdon

            “So, when the Bible teaches in the book of Proverbs that it’s foolish to drink fermented wine, and a sin to be drunk on wine….it’s not legalistic to say the same thing to people of faith.”

            Yes it is for the first part of your sentence: to prohibit drinking an alcoholic beverage. That is legalism.
            The second part is not legalism, because we have the express command of God not to be drunk.

            Drinking wine (with alcohol) is not the same as being drunk.

            INTOXICATION:

            Not having normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of:
            Alcohol;
            controlled substance; or
            combination.
            Having a BAC of 0.08 or more.
            Texas Penal Code §49.01

            volfan007

            Holdon,

            Proverbs teaches that it’s foolish to drink fermented wine. It will make a fool out of a person. It’ll cause them to do and say things they normally wouldnt do.

            It’s not legalism to say that drinking fermented wine is foolish, because the bible says that it’s foolish.

            David

            holdon

            “It’s not legalism to say that drinking fermented wine is foolish, because the bible says that it’s foolish.”

            I have not found that verse. Care to reference it?

            The bible NEVER says that drinking wine is bad. But drinking too much wine is. That’s what I tried to convey in order to rescue your statement from further harm.
            Because if you keep this line of reasoning of even prohibiting a small amount of wine, you will confirm my fears of legalism. It may have an air of “wisdom” and “voluntary worship”, but it subverts Christianity that has done away with attempts to improve the flesh and is based entirely upon grace and redemption. It is fundamentally worldly and a “feel good” trick by the enemy of our souls.

            volfan007

            Holdon,

            I think you’ve gone waaaaay too far in your comment. I totally disagree with it.

            And, here’s a few of the verses in Proverbs, which teach the foolishness of drinking fermented wine.

            Proverbs 20:1; 21:17; 23:20; 23:29-35

            David

            Calvin S.

            Amen Holdon! Very true comment.

Calvin S.

My contention has long been and still is that to say drinking alcohol is sin is to accuse Jesus of sinning.

    David R. Brumbelow

    Calvin S.,
    You have a good day.
    David R. Brumbelow

      volfan007

      It sounds to me like Calvin drinks alcohol, and he feels guilty about it.

      David

    Norm Miller

    Candidly, Cal, how does it feel to have been wrong so long? — Norm

      Calvin S.

      Norm–none of you have proven me wrong yet, so I wouldn’t know.

      What offends me is this attitude against something that like everything else (such as sex, food), has a good purpose meant from God, and you make it out to be only evil, and the end result is you accuse Jesus of sinning.

        volfan007

        Calvin,

        We think that YOU are the one accusing Jesus of being foolish, maybe even sinful.

        David

Stephen Jones

It’s amazing and quite disturbing that Christians (Baptists or otherwise) will argue so vehemently FOR the use of a mind-altering, addictive, physically damaging, life-destroying, and completely unnecessary substance. Thank you, David Brumbelow, for your biblical exposition.

    David R. Brumbelow

    Stephen Jones,
    It is amazing isn’t it. Thanks for the encouragement.
    David R. Brumbelow

    Calvin S.

    Stephen: Completely unnecessary?? On the contrary. Paul believed that wine had a healing effect for the stomach and commanded Timothy to shun his “Baptist” ways and have a little wine for the sake of his stomach ailment. (1Tim. 5:23)

    Deacons are not to drink too much wine. Which means they can drink wine in moderation. (1Tim. 3:8)

    In fact, Scripture commands us to forsake such silly “Baptist” errors. “So let no one judge you in food or in drink.” (Col. 2:16) This has nothing to do with guilt. I do drink in moderation, just as my Lord did. And that’s why I don’t have guilt about it. But Scripture commands me to stand against people who would judge me for drinking, to stand against their “Baptist” traditions (Col 2:8), their traditions of men and not of God.

    Actually, what it shows is a weakness in faith on your part. Those who have the command and think something is sin which is not are “the weaker brother”, according to Paul. And that speaks to this issue. Those who call drinking sin, scripture calls the weaker brother.

      volfan007

      Calvin,

      You keep calling this a “Baptist tradition.” What are you?

      Also, I dont believe that this is just a Baptist thing….lol.

      David

        Calvin S.

        I am Baptist. But it does not mean I will hold to their nonsensical manmade traditions (such as against drinking, which would even forbid our Lord from holding a place of leadership in the SBC) nor hold to positions that have scant biblical support (such as age of accountablity.

        I’m Baptist which means I accept Baptist doctrine based on the Word of God, but it doesn’t mean I have to swallow the sour milk and rancid meat of “doctrines of men” among the Baptists.

        Some are unwilling to drink grapes that have fermented through a process God allows, but are willing to swollow “doctrines of men” which Jesus considers rancid and will not swollow Himself.

      Stephen Jones

      Calvin – I notice you could not dispute my claim that alcohol is a “mind-altering, addictive, physically damaging, & life-destroying” substance. And your comment about “weakness in faith” and “weaker brother” – I’ve heard that often applied (and rightly so) to a believer who used booze and was not strong enough to resist it. This is the first time I’ve heard it applied to someone who doesn’t need that drug and has the sense not to use it!

volfan007

Calvin and others,

If marijuana was legal, do yall think that Jesus would make more mary jane for people at a party? Do you think that Jeus would increase the stash for them to get more high? so the party could keep going?

And, do yall think that the Lord Jesus would smoke weed with them?

David

    Calvin S.

    I think if it was legal and Timothy had cancer, Paul would tell Timothy to smoke a little pot for your chemo therapy. The pain medicine my Dad on, while legal, is much worse for the body than “Mary Jane”. BTW: I haven’t touched that stuff in nearly three decades, so don’t accuse me of that. The reason I haven’t touched it, though, is because you don’t have control with it. You either are high or not. Drinking is not like that. You can drink a glass of wine and feel no effects at all.

    volfan007

    chirp…chirp…chirp

      Calvin S.

      No. I don’t think Jesus would have made them more “Mary Jane” (not any more than He had already made as the Creator). And I definitely don’t believe He would have smoked any because it does make you high (or like immediately to drunkenness with no in between). I too believe that drunkenness is sin and that Jesus would not get drunk.

        volfan007

        Calvin,

        I have no objection in alcohol and marijuana being used as a drug…..because that’s what they are…drugs.

        I do think it’s foolish to use drugs(alcohol) as a purely recreational or therapeutic thing…or, to just fit in with the crowd.

        Also, Calvin, you are talking to someone, who sadly used to smoke weed and drink alcohol, back before I got saved. I know what smoking weed does to a person, and I know what drinking alcohol will do to a person. You might think that having a couple of beers is not affecting you that much…but you’d be wrong. They may be affecting the way you think and act more than you realize.

        Also, I know that I used to get just as high on a couple of beers, as I would on a couple of tokes of weed.

        High is high, Brother.

        David

          Calvin S.

          I appreciate your concern, brother. But to outlaw drinking, merely because it can ruin lives, is like outlawing sex because it can ruin lives.

          I have two big concerns that I think outweight all the others:

          1. Since anyone can open the Bible and see that Jesus drank wine, by you calling drinking sin (though the extrabiblical “evidence” you have uncovered), you are opening the door for people to call Jesus a sinner. In fact, you went as far as to say that if Jesus gave fermented wine in John 2, he has contributed to the drunkenness of others. This is a VERY dangerous positiont to take.

          2. Jesus hates it when we add commandments of men to the commandments of God. The “support” you have for the position you are taking is so weak, so shallow; I fear you have taken a foolish position akin to that of the Pharisees.

          And for me personally. The reason I am so impassioned about this issue is not because I love to drink but because I love my Lord and I doubt appreciate when doubts to His own holiness are brought into question. And that is exactly what this post has done. Jesus drank wine and He gave others to drink wine and one day at the marriage supper of the Lamb He will give YOU wine to drink. There is no shame in any of this.

Calvin S.

David R. Brumbelow,

Perhaps you do not want to interact with me, but I do with you, if you will permit:

I would like to know your position on these two texts of Scripture:

“Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.” (1Tim. 3:8-9)

AND:

“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.” (Titus 2:3)

I am confident that you interpret these passages to be talking about “fermented” wine, correct? After all, the alternative would be silly: Paul would be warning them not to drink too much grape juice.

So I am confident that we agree Paul is talking about fermented wine in both these passages. And yet he has clearly not outlawed wine drinking. Rather, he is telling them to be careful, that they should not drink too much. But this is giving them (both leaders in the church who are deacons and women) premission to drink fermented wine in moderation.

So, then, why do you and many others here label those who drink fermented wine in moderation “foolish”? By doing so you are lableling the Apostle Paul foolish and sinful for permitting drinking in moderation when the Bible forbids it, and you are labeling any deacon or older woman who chooses to drink small amounts occasionally by Paul’s permission “foolish”.

In fact, how can you say as you did “I believe the Bible directly prohibits alcohol.” When Paul has given permission for moderate alcohol consumption?

I need your help understanding. I only see 3 possible positions you can take:

1. Paul was talking about unfermented wine in 1Timothy 3:8-9 and Titus 2:3 (which in my opinion would be ludicrous and cannot be supported by the text).
2. Paul reluctantly gave permission to drink in moderation when the Bible forbids it (calling into question whether Paul’s word can be trusted at all)
3. Paul did not give permission. Don’t take “much wine” somehow means don’t take any wine. (which cannot be maintained without twisting the text)

So what is your position, one of the 3 above or something else I haven’t thought of?

Thanks.
Cal

    David R. Brumbelow

    Calvin S.,
    Yesterday you did not seem serious. Today, maybe a little more so.

    Not given to much wine means “to turn one’s mind to,” “to occupy oneself with.” A. T. Robertson translates, “Not holding the mind on much wine”
    God also commands them to be sober (nepho), literally wineless. It was multiple ways of saying the same thing. Scripture often used repetition.

    To say don’t get drunk, or don’t get high, is not an endorsement to drink right up to the point of legal drunkenness, or even to drink at all.
    Notice these verses:
    Do not be overly wicked -Ecclesiastes 7:17.
    Is this a command or permission to be moderately wicked?
    Despise not your mother when she is old -Proverbs 23:22.
    Does this mean you can despise her until she reaches 55, 65? With this mentality, picture young preachers debating how old is old, and how long they can despise their mothers.

    God’s standard for pastors, deacons, older women in no way endorses the use of beverage alcohol. When God says don’t get drunk, that is not to be interpreted as God’s saying drink all you want as long as you don’t get drunk. That is an example of the Pharisees’ interpretation of the commandments. Pharisees saw, “you shall not murder” as permitting anything and everything up to the point of physically taking a life. They saw “you shall not commit adultery” as making lust perfectly acceptable. Jesus disagreed (Matthew 5:21-28).
    David R. Brumbelow

      volfan007

      David B,

      Amen. You explained it about as good as I’ve ever heard.

      David

holdon

“God also commands them to be sober (nepho), literally wineless. It was multiple ways of saying the same thing. Scripture often used repetition.”
“God’s standard for pastors, deacons, older women in no way endorses the use of beverage alcohol. When God says don’t get drunk, that is not to be interpreted as God’s saying drink all you want as long as you don’t get drunk.”

Here we have the legislator at work. Claiming God’s standard and what not to promote the Teetotal system. Will you also promote vegetarianism with an appeal to Rom 14:21?

Nepho doesn’t mean “wineless”, but just “sober”. It’s always used figuratively, says A.T. Robertson.

Apparently you want to make the bible speak your opinion instead of the other way around.
In the same epistle where the elderly women are told not to be enslaved to much wine, the servant of God is told have a little for his stomach problems. Saying it’s no alcohol, is twisting the plain meaning of what wine is and contradicts the warnings of Paul of being enslaved to it or being around it all the time in the case of the overseer. Total abstinence was not in the mind of Paul apparently.

It’s perfectly fine if you don’t drink any alcohol. But it’s wrong to impose such on others with claims to “God’s standards”. That is legalism.

    Calvin S.

    Amen holdon. I totally agree with you that what David B. is teaching here is the promotion of legalism. Further, it is calling something sin, which God did not call sin. And it raises into question the very holiness of Jesus Christ.

    Well, me and David B. will obviously never agree on this issue. I have my freedom in Christ to do just as Christ did and Paul permitted. So I think all this has encouraged me to have a tipple of 12-year old single malt scotch to the glory of God tonight. I prefer that. It doesn’t give one a stomach like beer can, or a headache like wine.

    Cheers to you my brothers!
    Cal

    Tim B

    Hold one here. You are entitled to your opinion but not your own facts. According to the Theological Dictionary of New Testament Theology the Greek word “nepho” carries with it the idea of sobriety as opposed to intoxication. In classical Greek usage the word can carry a meaning of a state of abstinence from wine.

      holdon

      “You are entitled to your opinion but not your own facts.”

      These were not my facts, but A.T. Robertson’s, as you can well see if you read. (I cited him because it seemed his opinion was recognized as fact)

      Nepho means sober. Sober is not drunk. Simple as that.

      Here is another’s “fact”:

      Barclay says that the Greek word nepho like the English, can have two meanings. It can mean that they must refrain from drunkenness in the literal sense of the term; and it can also mean that they must be steady in their minds. They must become intoxicated neither with intoxicating liquor nor with intoxicating thoughts; they must preserve a balanced judgment. It is easy for the Christian to be carried away with this, that, or the next sudden enthusiasm and to become readily intoxicated with the latest fashion and the newest craze.

      I think the Teetotallers are intoxicated with the idea that total abstinence of wine is God’s command.

        Tim B

        History disagrees with both Barclay and Robertson then. It won’t be the first time that they have been wrong.

          holdon

          You’re entitled to your opinion of course. :)

          God bless!

          (funny that for this post I am asked to type in the word “toast” to prove that this is not spam)

David R. Brumbelow

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. -1 Timothy 5:23

1. I wonder why Timothy did not drink in the first place? He was not drinking any wine, even for medicinal purposes. Apparently he was a pastor who took seriously the command to be sober.
2. Paul prescribed a “little” wine.
3. We are not told what kind of wine; it could have been either one. Unfermented wine, however, has more nutritional and health benefits, without the bad side effects, than fermented wine or alcohol. Very likely Paul was speaking of nonalcoholic wine or grape juice. Fruits and vegetables, and their juice, are very healthy. Back then grape juice would have been somewhat like a multivitamin. I occasionally take un-pasteurized cider vinegar and unfermented wine – it does my stomach a lot of good.
4. The little wine was only for medicinal purposes. That is why Baptists condemn “beverage alcohol.” They accept the possibility of using it strictly for medicinal purposes.
So even if the wine in this verse is alcoholic, Paul is not endorsing or prescribing alcohol as a beverage. He is only speaking of it’s medicinal use in small amounts.
David R. Brumbelow

    holdon

    “Paul is not endorsing or prescribing alcohol as a beverage. ”

    But he implicitly is: “not too much”; “not enslaved to” are meanings that clearly indicate an alcoholic beverage on the one hand and allow for moderate use on the other.
    All the talk about “medicinal use” is a convenient evasion, but the Word says nothing about it. We don’t know what Timothy’s condition was.

    There is no command to abstain in Scripture.

    Calvin S.

    David B. writes: “The little wine was only for medicinal purposes. That is why Baptists condemn ‘beverage alcohol'”

    Wow! “Condemn is a harsh word. Baptists condemn Jesus Christ if they condemn beverage alcohol. Baptists are guilty of being Pharasees if they condemn beverage alcohol, which God did not condemn. And our Lord’s words apply to Baptists who “condemn” beverage alcohol:

    “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

    ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
    And honor Me with their lips,
    But their heart is far from Me.
    And in vain they worship Me,
    Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
    (Matt. 15:7-9)

      volfan007

      Calvin,

      Do you not see how over the top and out of line you’re comment is? I mean, you’re saying that our hearts are from God…. seriously? just because we believe the Bible teaches to abstain from strong drink?

      I mean, you’re calling us, Pharisees….lost people, who were truly legalistic. You’re calling us, Hypocrites. C’mon, Dude. Why all the name calling? Do you see how across the line your name calling, and false accusations are?

      Brother, and notice I’m calling you Brother, I think you’re wrong about drinking alcohol for purely beverage purposes. I think it’s foolish, according to the book of Proverbs. I think you’re playing with fire. And, I hope you dont get burned really, really bad, one day. But, you notice we’re not in here calling you a drunk, or a hypocrite, or an antinomian, or a knothead, or anything else.

      Check your attitude.

      David

        Calvin S.

        No. I’m not judging your hearts brother. Sorry if it came out that way. This is merely how Jesus judged those who made doctrines of man in to commandments of God. That is what you are doing here (making a manmade teaching into a commandment of God) and I am merely showing you what the Bible says when you do that. My comment is not about anyone here personally. My comment is about how Jesus responds to manmade commands. He hates them. And your new teaching, trying to make drinking a sin, Jesus hates it. He hates when anything is added to his work and He hates when anything is added to God’s command. That is what you are guilty of: Adding manmade rules to God’s commands and Jesus hates it.

          volfan007

          Calvin,

          I guess we’ll just have to disagree. I absolutely do not think I’m adding man made doctrines to the commands of Christ. And, Southern Baptists have agreed with my position for years and years and years. I guess all of those Southern Baptists for all of those years were just wrong? lol.

          David

            Calvin S.

            David,

            Of course, I do believe that the Southern Baptists have been wrong all along to make a rule that would forbid Jesus Christ from being a pastor or missionary in the SBC. I love the Southern Baptist Church because they hold so strongly to Scripture and because of their devotion to missions–making it certainly one of the best churches out there. But there is no such thing as a perfect church and the legalism in the SBC on this issue, as well as on divorce and other issues is evidence that the SBC also has major faults as well. It’s not perfect but no church is.

            Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way brother. That is not my intent. Drinking is a small issue compared to the fundamentals. I certainly don’t think it should divide anyone. You are my brother in Christ and I really don’t want to argue about this issue any longer.

            Warmly,
            Cal

Johnathan Pritchett

Luke 7:33 “For John the Baptist did not come eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’”

(Luke 1:15 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb.”)

Luke 7:34 “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”

While it does not say what Jesus drank, Jesus himself seems to juxtapose what John did NOT do and what Jesus DID do, and pointed out that no matter what they do or not do, they will be slandered. It is way too much of a stretch to think the “drinking” here does not refer to alcohol given the immediate context and reference to John.

The “it wasn’t fermented” kind of arguments may be more historical revisionism than anything else. Sure there was grape juice around…but the likelihood that “wine” was not fermented in many of the references in Scripture, especially in relation to the OT and Jesus Himself, is too much eisegesis and historical revisionism, and speculation, in my opinion.

In any case, I don’t like wine at all myself. So while I would say the Biblical and historical evidence is against the view presented here in the original post, despite a valiant effort, and a good theological argument can even be made that alcoholic wine SHOULD be used for communion; I personally thank God for freedom in this area and the use of grape juice in communion in Southern Baptist churches since I personally can’t stand the taste of wine.

I think the principle of Romans 14 should carry the day for people on all sides of this issue.

For those of you who do drink alcohol in moderation, I think you should do so in private company and never flaunt or strut this freedom because America is a country where abuse is too rampant. I agree that Jesus drank alcohol publicly and openly while He was here, but the Ancient Near East culture is a far cry from modern American culture, and God is a God of providence, and He did not intent to baptize ANE culture for all times and places any more than you think Baptists should baptize their abstinence tradition and impose it on Scripture (and remember I say this as a Baptist who doesn’t drink wine but agrees with the position that Jesus drank alcohol). Given our culture and the potential for easy abuse and the plethora of evidence that abuse occurs and is extremely harmful, one who does drink moderately should do so discretely in my opinion. Norm Miller makes the most important point of the discussion, the distinction between “can” and “should”. I stated my view above, which is while individuals should decide for themselves, for those who decide to drink moderately, it should never be flaunted or done openly in our cultural climate.

For those of you who don’t drink alcohol, accusing those who do and defend it in a Biblical and theological context here of doing it simply for wanting to justify sin, or are feeling guilty and trying to deceive themselves, etc. is in extremely poor taste and just as damaging to your witness and character as you think them drinking in a bar damages their witness.

Just my $0.02

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