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The word “teetotaler” means someone who abstains completely from alcoholic beverages.  The Bible calls on Christians to be teetotalers. Continue reading » Teetotalers

Works of the Flesh: Revelries (Revellings)

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)