Alcohol and the Bible
Did Jesus Really Make Wine And 
Enable Drunkenness?
 
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"The saloon is a liar. It promises good cheer and sends sorrow. It
promises prosperity and sends adversity. It promises happiness and sends
misery.... It is God's worst enemy and the devil's best friend."
-Billy Sunday Ļ 

	When I was sixteen years old, I received the tragic news that a certain
member of my family, to whom I was very close, was dying of
alcohol-induced liver cancer. I vividly remember visiting him in the
hospital, not prepared for what I would see when I walked into the room.
What was once a big, robust man was now essentially a skeleton covered
with ghostly, pale skin, barely able to speak.
	I had only been a Christian for a few months. Even before I came to
Christ, I never was much of a drinker, mainly because I just didn't like
the way it tasted. However, when I saw what years of drinking had done to
my above mentioned relative, my decision never to touch alcohol was set
in stone. As I studied the Scriptures over the years, I learned that I
had made the right choice.
	The issue of alcohol has always been a controversial one within the
Christian community. Did Jesus make, or advocate the use of, intoxicating
wine? Is having an occasional drink really that big of a deal? These are
certainly valid questions that committed Christians have asked over the
years.
	In looking at the overall teaching of the Bible, as well as observations
made in my own life over the years,  I  firmly believe that total
abstinence is by far the best policy. I am not a prude, nor is this
message  intended to be legalistic or condemning. On the contrary, I want
to share a truth with you that is very liberating. God's Word has been
compared to a map showing us where the "land mines"  in life are.
Beverage alcohol is one of those land mines.

		BIBLICAL USE OF THE WORD "WINE";	

	It is important to remember that in Bible days, the word "juice" was not
widely used. It only occurs once in the entire Bible (Song of Solomon
8:2.) Wine was a general term for any grape juice product-even when it
was still in the grape clusters (Isaiah 65:8.) Even in pre-prohibition
America, nonalcoholic grape juice was often referred to as "grape wine."
Their are nine Hebrew, and four Greek words translated "wine" in the
Bible (to study this further,see William Patton's classic book "Bible
Wines or Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients.") Generally, it
is easy to see from the context of individual Scriptures which form of
wine is being referred to.
	For example, in the Book of Proverbs, alcoholic wine is referred to as a
mocker and a deceiver that leads to violence (20:1-2), poverty (23:21),
sorrow (23:29-30,) immorality(23:33,) insecurity (23:34,)  insensibility
(23:35,) and is even compared to a poisonous snake! (23:32)
	On the other hand, abstinence from wine and other intoxicants is
presented as a great virtue. God honored Daniel for refusing the King's
wine (Daniel 1:5, 8, 16; 10:3.) John the Baptist's greatness in the eyes
of God was directly linked to the fact that he drank no wine or strong
drink (Luke 1:15.) Even as He was dying, Jesus refused the wine that was
offered Him to deaden His pain (Mark 15: 23.)
	In Ephesians 5:18, we are told to "be not drunk with wine...but be
filled with the Spirit." Note the contrast: Being drunk with wine is in
total opposition to being filled with the Spirit.
	If we look at the most strictly literal translation of this verse, it
reads "Be not entering into the act of being drunk with wine, but be
continually entering into the process of being filled with the
Spirit."The context of the verse goes deeper than just "Don't get drunk."
It is telling us not to even enter into the act of drinking intoxicants.

			JESUS AND WINE
	What then, about the wine that Jesus made at the marriage feast? Was it
alcoholic?The Greek word used here is "oinos," a variation of the Hebrew
word "yayin."This word can refer to grape juice in any stage, either
fermented,or unfermented. 
	Regardless of your opinion of casual drinking, I'm sure most of you will
agree that drunkenness is definitely a sin. In light of this, would Jesus
contribute to drunkenness?
	At the time Jesus had arrived at the feast, the guests had "well
drunk"of whatever they were drinking (V.10.) Jesus knew well the solemn
warnings of Habakkuk 2:15,"Woe to him who gives his neighbor intoxicating
drink." (Note: If it is a sin to put alcohol to our neighbor's lips,
would it not also be a sin to put it to our own?) With this in mind, we
can be sure that the beverage Jesus made was a refreshing, nonalcoholic
grape drink. To do otherwise would have been totally incompatible with
His nature.

		ALCOHOLISM AND ADDICTION

	We often hear the term "alcohol and drugs." This is a false distinction,
because alcohol IS a drug. It is one of the most abused narcotics in the
world. I have personally witnessed, and many of you have as well, how
strong the addictive bondage of alcohol can be. I have known a number of
people whose lives were shattered by alcoholism. I have often wondered
how much different their lives might have been if they had just said "no"
to that first drink. No "social drinker" thinks that they can become an
alcoholic, just like no one who casually experiments with cocaine,
heroine, or other drugs thinks about the possibility of becoming an
addict. The old adage about an ounce of prevention certainly holds true
here. It is far better to stop a problem before it starts, wouldn't you
say? God does not want us in bondage to ANYTHING, whether it be alcohol,
tobacco, drugs, or any other vice (1 Corinthians 3 :17; 9: 27; 1
Thessalonians 4:4.)  As a teenager, I heard a simple, but profound
statement that has always stuck with me: No one ever became an alcoholic,
who didn't take the first drink.

			THE IMPORTANCE OF EXAMPLE

	In my experience in doing personal evangelism, I have made the
observation  that the fact that there are Christians who drink is a major
excuse many alcoholics hide behind. God calls us to be salt and light to
the world that we live in (Matthew 5: 13-14) and  to avoid conduct that
could cause others to stumble (Romans 14:21.) I was once discussing this
with an elderly Chritian gentleman who brought up a very good point. He
said "One beer might not send me to hell, but it could lead ten people
there who saw me, and followed my example."
	To quote Gleason Archer; "If we really care about the souls of men, and
if we are really in business for Christ, rather than for ourselves, then
there seems to be no alternative to total abstinence-not as a matter of
legalism, but rather as a matter of love.≤"
	Friend, this issue is a very serious one. In light of Jesus' soon
return, we are called to live holy and sober lives (Luke 12:45-46; 1
Thessalonians 5: 7-8.) Those who indulge in drunkenness will not inherit
the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Corinthians 6: 10; Galatians 5: 21,) so in
sharing the Gospel with others, it is vitally important to warn them
against the dangers of alcohol.  God doesn't call us to abstain from
alcohol because He is trying to take away our enjoyment of life. Quite
the opposite is true. God loves us, and knows what it takes to truly make
us happy (see Jeremiah 29;11, John 10:10.) Alcohol is counterproductive
to the abundant life that Jesus came to bring us. He knows the
devastating impact alcohol has on countless people. He sees the jobs
lost, the families shattered, and the lives destroyed by alcohol, and He
wants to protect us from these things. He has a plan for your life that
is far greater than any bottle of alcohol could ever possibly give. If
you have never given your life to Jesus, why not do it now?

© 1999 JHB 

WORKS CITED:
 Ļ John R. Rice, ed, "The Best of Billy Sunday" (Murfreesboro, Tennessee,
Sword of the Lord Publishing, 1965, page 76. Quoted in Jack Van Impe's
"Alcohol: The Beloved Enemy" 1980, Jack Van Impe Crusades, Royal Oak,
Michigan, page 85

 ≤ Gleason Archer "Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, 1982, the
Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, page 149

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75 Bible References on Drinking Alcohol

Should Christians really totally abstain from alcoholic drinks? Or does God tell us we can drink moderately?

 

In the 1800ís and early 1900ís the church in America took a bold stand for total abstinence. People read research about the word "wine;" Bible studies showed the truth about alcohol. The result was Prohibition with its great benefits. But the prohibition amendment was repealed, and the church began to weaken its conviction against alcohol. Today some pastors say, "Whatís wrong with a six pack? Why get hung up on a little wine at a wedding?"

The Bible is the same "yesterday, today, and forever." What godly Bible teachers said in the past is true today. Dr. Robert Teachout, A Semitic scholar who, in 1979, wrote his doctorate on The Use of Wine in the Old Testament, stated, "Alcohol is never approved by God in any amount for the obedient Christian."

Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, author of Wine in the Bible, 1989, says, Drinking Alcohol is...a moral issue. It is...a transgression of Godís law."

 

FACTS TO KNOW

1) The Bible does teach total abstinence from alcohol. Both the main Hebrew word for wine and the Greek word for wine can mean either fermented grape juice or intoxicating wine. The English word wine originally had two meanings also - unfermented juice or alcoholic drink.

2) In the Bible, verses to show God approves of wine are speaking about unfermented juice. Verses that expose the evils of wine are speaking about intoxicating wine.

3) The Bible says alcoholic drink is evil. It is not just the amount one drinks that makes drinking a sin. God condemns the drink itself. (Prov 20:1 KJV) Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

4) God does not lead us into evil; He delivers us from it. He does not teach us to practice evil in moderation. Jesus did not make, use, approve, commend, or tell us to use intoxicating wine.

5) God made man to have fellowship with Him. Alcohol goes directly to the brain, the communication center of the body. It interferes with Godís purpose for mankind.

 

75 WARNINGS

There is more Scripture condemning the use of alcoholic beverages than will be found on the subjects of lying, adultery, swearing, cheating, hypocrisy, pride, or even blasphemy.

 

1) Genesis 9:20-26 - Noah became drunk; the result was immorality and family trouble.

2) Genesis 19:30-38 - Lot was so drunk he did not know what he was doing; this led to immorality

3) Leviticus 10:9-11 - God commanded priests not to drink so that they could tell the difference between the holy and the unholy.

4) Numbers 6:3 - The Nazarites were told to eat or drink nothing from the grape vine.

5) Deuteronomy 21:20 - A drunken son was stubborn and rebellious.

6) Deuteronomy 29:5-6 - God gave no grape juice to Israel nor did they have intoxicating drink in the wilderness.

7) Deuteronomy 32:33 - Intoxicating wine is like the poison of serpents, the cruel venom of asps.

8) Judges 13:4, 7, 14 - Samson was to be a Nazarite for life. His mother was told not to drink wine or strong drink.

9) 1 Samuel 1:14-15 - Accused, Hannah said she drank no wine.

10) 1 Samuel 25:32-38 - Nabal died after a drunken spree.

11) 2 Samuel 11:13 - By getting Uriah drunk, David hoped to cover his sin.

12) 2 Samuel 13:28-29 - Amnon was drunk when he was killed.

13) 1 Kings 16:8-10 - The king was drinking himself into drunkenness when he was assassinated

14) 1 Kings 20:12-21 - Ben-Hadad and 32 other kings were drinking when they were attacked and defeated by the Israelites.

15) Esther 1:5-12 - The king gave each one all the drink he wanted. The king was intoxicated when he commanded the queen to come.

16) Psalm 75:8 - The Lordís anger is pictured as mixed wine poured out and drunk by the wicked.

17) Proverbs 4:17 - Alcoholic drink is called the wine of violence.

18) Proverbs 20:1 - Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.

19) Proverbs 23:19-20 - A wise person will not be among the drinkers of alcoholic beverages.

20) Proverbs 23:21 - Drunkenness causes poverty.

21) Proverbs 23:29-30 - Drinking causes woe, sorrow, fighting, babbling, wounds without cause and red eyes.

22) Proverbs 23:31 - God instructs not to look at intoxicating drinks.

23) Proverbs 23:32 - Alcoholic drinks bite like a serpent, sting like an adder.

24) Proverbs 23:33 - Alcohol causes the drinker to have strange and adulterous thoughts, produces willfulness, and prevents reformation.

25) Proverbs 23:34 - Alcohol makes the drinker unstable

26) Proverbs 23:35 - Alcohol makes the drinker insensitive to pain so he does not perceive it as a warning. Alcohol is habit forming.

27) Proverb 31:4-5 - Kings, Princes, and others who rule and judge must not drink alcohol. Alcohol perverts good judgment.

28) Proverbs 31:6-7 - Strong drink could be given to those about to perish or those in pain. Better anesthetics are available today.

29) Ecclesiastes 2:3 - The king tried everything, including intoxicating drink, to see if it satisfied. It did not. (Ecclesiastes 12:8)

30) Ecclesiastes 10:17 - A land is blessed when its leaders do not drink.

31) Isaiah 5:11-12 - Woe to those who get up early to drink and stay up late at night to get drunk.

32) Isaiah 5:22 - Woe to "champion" drinkers and "experts" at mixing drinks.

33) Isaiah 19:14 - Drunken men stagger in their vomit.

34) Isaiah 22:12-13 - The Israelites choose to drink; their future looks hopeless to them.

35) Isaiah 24:9 - Drinkers cannot escape the consequences when God judges.

36) Isaiah 28:1 - God pronounces woe on the drunkards of Ephraim.

37) Isaiah 28:3 - Proud drunkards shall be trodden down.

38) Isaiah 28:7 - Priests and prophets stagger and reel from beer and wine, err in vision, and stumble in judgment.

39) Isaiah 28:8 - Drinkersí tables are covered with vomit and filth.

40) Isaiah 56:9-12 - Drinkers seek their own gain and expect tomorrow to be just like today.

41) Jeremiah 35:2-14 - The Rechabites drank no grape juice or intoxicating wine and were blessed.

42) Ezekiel 44:21 - Again God instructed the priests not to drink wine.

43) Daniel 1:5-17 - Daniel refused the kingís intoxicating wine and was blessed for it along with his abstaining friends.

44) Daniel 5:1 - Belshazzar, ruler of Babylon; led his people in drinking.

45) Daniel 5:2-3 - The king, along with his nobles, wives, and concubines, drank from the goblets which had been taken from Godís temple.

46) Daniel 5:4 - Drinking wine was combined with praising false gods.

47) Daniel 5:23 - God sent word to Belshazzar that punishment would be swift for the evil he had committed.

48) Hosea 4:11 - Intoxicating wine takes away intelligence.

49) Hosea 7:5 - God reproves princes for drinking.

50) Joel 1:5 - Drunkards awake to see Godís judgment.

51) Joel 3:3 - The enemy is judged for selling girls for wine.

52) Amos 2:8 - Unrighteous acts of Israel included the drinking of wine which had been taken for the payment of fines.

53) Amos 2:12 - Israel is condemned for forcing Nazarites to drink wine.

54) Micah 2:11 - Israelites are eager to follow false teachers who prophesy plenty of intoxicating drinks.

55) Nahum 1:10 - The drunkards of Nineveh will be destroyed by God.

56) Habakkuk 2:5 - A man is betrayed by wine.

57) Habakkuk 2:15 - Woe to him that gives his neighbor drink.

58) Habakkuk 2:16 - Drinking leads to shame.

59) Matthew 24:48-51 - A drinking servant is unprepared for his Lordís return.

60) Luke 1:15 - John the Baptist drank neither grape juice nor wine.

61) Luke 12:45 - Christ warned against drunkenness.

62) Luke 21:34 - Drunkenness will cause a person not to be ready for the Lordís return.

63) Romans 13:13 - Do not walk in drunkenness or immorality.

64) Romans 14:21 - Do not do anything that will hurt your testimony as a believer.

65) 1 Corinthians 5:11 - If a Christian brother is a drinker, do not associate with him.

66) 1 Corinthians 6:10 - Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God

67) Galatians 5:21 - Acts of the sinful nature, such as drunkenness, will prohibit a person from inheriting the kingdom of God.

68) Ephesians 5:18 - In contrast to being drunk with wine, the believer is to be filled with the Spirit.

69) 1 Thessalonians 5:6-7 - Christians are to be alert and self-controlled, belonging to the day. Drunkards belong to the night and darkness.

70) 1 Timothy 3:2-3 - Bishops (elders) are to be temperate, sober, and not near any wine.

71) 1 Timothy 3:8 - Deacons are to be worthy of respect and not drinkers.

72) 1 Timothy 3:11 - Deaconsí wives are to be temperate and sober.

73) Titus 1:7-8 - An overseer is to be disciplined.

74) Titus 2:2-3 - The older men and older women of the church are to be temperate and not addicted to wine.

75) 1 Peter 4:3-4 - The past life of drunkenness and carousing has no place in the Christianís life.

This was a tract given to me and I did not see any copyright on it but may still be available from Signal Press in Evanston, Illinois.

http://www.signalpress.org/