Christians who faithfully oppose the consumption of alcohol are sometimes asked how one can harmonize the argument of total abstinence with the fact that the Bible allows for the use of wine for medicinal purposes. This instruction is found in First Timothy 5:23 – “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” The argument posed by some is that since the Bible allows wine for one’s stomach, then no one can say that the Bible condemns the moderate consumption of alcohol.
The Bible does not condemn the practice or use of medicine. The inspired penman of two books of the New Testament (Luke and Acts) was a physician (Col. 4:14). The Bible also mentions a number of natural products that can be used for medicinal purposes: aloe, anise, balm of Gilead, cumin, figs, fitches, gall, mandrake, myrrh, ointment, olive oil, rue, saffron, and wine.
It cannot be denied that wine was used, and even prescribed, for medicinal purposes in the Bible. However, this fact is in no way an allowance for the social or recreational use of alcohol, which is the unfortunate application that some desire to make of First Timothy 5:23. Continue reading » The Medicinal Use of Wine
The word “teetotaler” means someone who abstains completely from alcoholic beverages. The Bible calls on Christians to be teetotalers. Continue reading » Teetotalers
Where do you draw the line?
That is the question that confronts many people as they think themselves wandering somewhere in between righteousness and iniquity. How much is too much? When do we go too far?
So many believe that the answers to those questions will always be a matter of personal conviction and that each person’s answer is as valid as the next. Yet in many cases, God has drawn lines for us and inching closer and closer to iniquity is like the moth flitting nearer to the flame. While it is imperative that we resist any urge to draw our own artificial, arbitrary lines and impose them on others, it is equally vital that we learn to respect the lines that God has drawn in his word.
When God Has Drawn A Line
In creation, God enacted certain lines, limits and boundaries for this planet on which we live, and in all the years since, it has not added an ocean or a continent (Proverbs 8:25-31). In Proverbs 8, personified wisdom respects the authority of the Lord to set limits and draw boundaries, and when those limits are pressed, as they are in storms and floods and droughts, there is great conflict and injury that follows.
Continue reading » Walking Worthy: Drawing Lines
There is no question but that alcohol is one of the foremost factors in the destruction of the society, the family, human lives, and many other precious things. Alcohol kills, maims, and destroys the lives of millions of people yearly around the world. It is odd, then, that so many people, including those whose lives have been ruined by alcohol, still work hard to support alcohol. The Bible has much to say about alcohol, and Christians should be familiar with God’s truth on drinking.
II. The Facts at Hand
1. A clear reference to fermented beverages (not just the assumption that they are fermented!).
2. The clear consumption of fermented beverages by humans.
3. The clear approval of God.
A. Just about every professing Christian would agree that abject, total drunkenness is immoral and condemned in the Bible. It is not difficult to see that a staggering, smelly, unkempt drunk yelling out obscenities is sinning.
B. Yet, there are many Christians who argue that mild drinking, or social drinking, is not forbidden by God. Many brethren make a distinction between social drinking, and abject drunkenness. The question must be asked: “What does the Bible teach about alcohol?”
C. It is the contention of this sermon that the intake of fermented beverages in any amount is forbidden by the Bible, both in precept and in principle. This shall be accomplished with five basic arguments. First, it shall be demonstrated that the wine of the Bible is not the same as modern wine. Secondly, it shall be demonstrated that the Bible contains two distinct evaluations of the word wine. Thirdly, specific passages which condemn the intake of fermented beverages will be examined. Fourthly, some biblical principles which forbid the intake of fermented beverages will be examined. Finally, the most common arguments in support of social drinking shall be critically examined.
D. In order for the consumption of alcoholic beverages by Christians to be approved, one would have to find the a passage of scripture with the following characteristics:
Continue reading » Alcohol and the Christian
The last of the specified works of the flesh is “revellings” (ASV and KJV), “revelries” (NKJ), “orgies” (NIV) or “carousing” (NASV and NRSV). These are all translations of the Greek word komos. In order to understand the definition and connotation of this word, it is good to consult several authorities regarding the meaning of New Testament words. The following references are included for that purpose:
- Arndt & Gingrich, in discussing the use of the word, stated, “originally a festal procession in honor of Dionysus, then a joyous meal of banquet, in the NT… only in the bad sense excessive feasting” (461).
- Thayer commented on the meaning and use of the word as referring to “a nocturnal and riotous procession of half-drunken and frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honor of Bacchus or some other deity, and sing and play before houses of their male and female friends; hence used generally, of feasts and drinking-parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry” (367).
- Vine said it had reference to “a revel, carousal, the concomitant and consequence of drunkenness” (Vol. 3, p. 293).
- Wuest said of the word that it at first referred to “a village merrymaking.” He further noted, “Then it came to mean ‘a carousal’ such as a party of revellers parading the streets, or revels held in religious ceremonies, wild, furious, and ecstatic” (Vol. 2, p. 112).
- R.C. Trench in Synonyms of the New Testament said that the Greek word komos combines the notions “of riot and of revelry.” He further commented, “At the same time komos is often used of the company of revellers themselves; always a festal company, but not of necessity riotous or drunken…. Still the word generally implies as much, being applied in a special sense to the troop of drunken revellers… who at the late close of a revel, with garlands on their heads, and torches in their hands, with shout and song, …pass to the harlots’ house, or otherwise wander through the streets, with insult and wanton outrage for every one whom they meet….” (226-227).
In modern terms, the above definitions bring to our mind the participants in modern Mardi Gras festivals or the party-goer with a lampshade on his head. It describes the person who has not lost control to the extent of methe (the previous word in Galatians 5:21) or oinophlugia (which komos follows in 1 Peter 4:3). Instead, komos is descriptive of the state of one who retains control, but is merrily intoxicated due to the effects of alcohol. In the vernacular of drinkers, this is the person that has “a buzz,” is “mellow” or “high.” The effects of inebriation are present with such a person, though he may feel he is still in full control. This is the person, when pulled over for drunken driving, claims to be unaffected by “just two or three drinks.” The komos man believes he is still in control, yet in reality alcohol has diminished his degree of alertness and has altered his mental state. Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Revelries (Revellings)
If you were to look out your window and see your neighbor run full speed and smash his head against a tree, you probably would be shocked. If he knocked himself unconscious against the tree periodically, your shock would probably escalate to questioning the neighbor’s sanity. What is wrong with this guy? Why does he harm himself repeatedly? He is acting like a fool! This is the same reaction that God has when commenting on those who get drunk. “They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not hurt; They have beaten me, and I felt it not: When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again” (Proverbs 23:35). From the more serious spiritual viewpoint, God also reveals that becoming drunk will cause one to forfeit his or her inheritance in the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21).
The Greek noun, methe, is akin to methu– wine, and is translated “drunkenness” in the list of the works of the flesh. The Greek word ties together strong drink and its effect of intoxication. The noun, methe, occurs two other times in our New Testament, besides Galatians 5:21. Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Drunkenness
[The Gospel Guardian, Vol. 18 No. 13, August 4, 1966]
When a person has been led to believe a thing to be true when it is not, the person has been deceived. God warned people in the Old Testament against being deceived. “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them” (Deut. 11:16). The New Testament contains warnings against being deceived. “Let no man deceive himself… “ (1 Cor. 3:18). “Be not deceived,” are the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33. Paul warned the Galatians, “Be not deceived.. ” (Gal. 6:7). The Hebrew letter contains a warning about deceit. “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13).
People Are Deceived by False Teachers
When a teacher can persuade a person to believe a false doctrine the person has been deceived. Solomon said, “He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit”
(Prov. 12:17). The Bible warns us against false teachers. John said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”
(1 John 4:1). In describing such false teachers, Paul said, “For such are false apostles deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works”
(2 Cor. 11:13-15). Continue reading » Voices from the Past: The Danger of Being Deceived (Johnie Edwards)
In 1 Corinthians, chapter one, Paul greets these brethren, stating that he thanked God for them. Since Chloe let Paul know of their division over names (v. 11-12), he told them they were to be united (v. 10). He also stated that he was glad he baptized none but the few mentioned in verses 14 and 16 for fear that some might think he had baptized them in his own name (v. 15).
Paul then turns his attention to the “preaching of the cross” (v. 18). In so doing, he makes several interesting contrasts. In the last half of 1 Corinthians one, Paul contrasts the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God. Paul said God used what appeared foolish to the world, what appeared weak, that which was considered base, despised, and things that are not “to bring to nought things that are.” Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 really brings out the contrast. There, we read, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Paul makes it clear that God chose what the world calls foolish to save lost souls. And truly, those who are lost consider the things of God foolish. In fact, “the fool hath said in his heart there is no God” (Ps. 14:1). Therefore, it pleased God to use what men consider foolish (preaching the gospel) to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). Understanding passages like this makes me appreciate passages like Romans 1:16 all the more. Remember that Paul said he was “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Though it was considered foolishness by men, he told the Romans it was “the power of God unto salvation” to save those who believe. Knowing the saving power of God is revealed in the gospel, it is imperative that men and women do all they can to spread the gospel (2 Tim. 2:2). Only through teaching and spreading the gospel will men be presented with the opportunity to hear and obey the saving gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Continue reading » The Foolishness of Preaching Morality