Drinking and the Glory of God
Our stating point as we continue this study on Christians and alcohol is Paul’s command. Ephesians 5:18, “Be not drunk with wine but full of God’s Spirit.”
Wine comes up in the context of Spirit filled living.
Now – the Bible is clear on this topic.
#1 – Drunkenness is always condemned
Noah – Gen. 9
Nabal – 1 Sam. 25
Elah – 1 Kings 16
Corinthians – 1 Cor. 11:21-34
#2 – Drunkenness disqualifies from spiritual service
In fact, Paul goes so far as to note two aspects about an elder:
1. 1 Tim. 3:2 – Nephalion – temperate or “unaffected by, not using”
2. 1 Tim. 3:3 – Paroinon – not drunken or “not beside wine, staying near”
3. Titus 1:7 – Paroinon – not drunken or “not beside wine, staying near”
Note the standard is higher for elders because deacons are 1 Tim. 3:8, “not addicted to too much wine.”
#3 – A life characterized by drunkenness does not equal a citizen of heaven.
OK – It is condemned by God
It disqualifies from service
It leads to hell
Now you may ask – is it a disease? No, God describes it as a chosen sin (1 Cor. 6:9). Just as sodomy is not a result of poor family life, it’s a choice.
So – drunkenness is a chosen sin that leads to physical deterioration and dependence.
Does God hate that sin? Yes. But He loves the sinner.
Ezk. 36:26 – wants to give new heart and enabling
Ps. 103 – wants to forgive, forget, and remove sin
Is. 48:18 – O had hearkened, Peace as river, Righteousness as waves
But so many (20 million) in USA take this dreadful imitation of peace, following a false road to happiness and forsaking God’s offer of casting all cares on Him to be cared for (1 Pet. 5:7).
OK – Bible and church stand with God in condemnation of drunkenness.
What about drinking?
Well, the answer comes as we ask some key questions! Let’s do that.
#1 – What was it they drank in Bible times?
In Bible time, there were two kinds of wine available:
On the first type, this was
- fresh grape juice
- boiled grape paste
Prof. Samuel Lee of
But, the presence of intoxicating wine is everywhere in the scriptures. That’s why it is referred to 256 times. 199 times positive, 57 times negative
Now, a recent survey showed:
81 % of Roman Catholics drink
64 % of Protestants drink
We know drunkenness “anytime that the alcohol takes over the faculties of a person.”
The point is wine today is not necessarily the same as wine consumed in Bible times. Let’s look at fermented wine.
1. Usually diluted with water
Christianity Today, (6/20/75) Robert Stein
The liquid wine which was used on a daily basis would be stored in large jugs called amphorae. From the amphora, they would draw out the pure unmixed wine and pour it into large bowls called kraters, where it was mixed with water. From these kraters, it would be then poured into the kylix, or cups. They never served wine directly from the amphora to the kylix without first being mixed with water in the krater. In otherwords, they didn’t serve unmixed wine. And according to history, the mixture could be anywhere from 20:1 to 3:1.
2. Only uncivilized people drank it straight –
Unmixed was barbaric – Drinking unmixed wine was looked upon, even by unsaved people, as barbarian. Robert Stein in his article quotes Mnesitheus of Athens as quoted by Athenaeus: “The gods have revealed wine to mortals, to be the greatest blessing for those who use it aright, but for those who use it without measure, the reverse. For it gives food to them that take it and strength in mind and body. In medicine it is most beneficial; it can be mixed with liquid and drugs and it brings aid to the wounded. In daily intercourse, to those who mix and drink it moderately, it gives good cheer; but if you overstep the bounds, it brings violence. Mix it half and half, and you get madness; unmixed, bodily collapse.”
Now quoting Mac – “walking in the Spirit”
So, as a beverage, wine was always thought of as a mixed drink. The ratio of water might vary, but only barbarians drank it unmixed. Even a 1:1 mixture was considered to be “strong drink” and was frowned upon. The point is this: unmixed wine was unacceptable to that culture.
Even as we move away from the New Testament church period and into early church period we find, in a volume called the Apostolic Tradition, the fact that they also followed the custom of serving only mixed wine – either from a syrup or a liquid base.
So what is the answer to “What was it they drank in Bible times?”
1. Sometimes, unfermented grape juice
2. Often, diluted wine
3. Barbarians or those acting like it, only full strength wine
How does our alcohol today compare with wine back then?
According to the
The answer to question #1 – Are we thinking about the same thing today as what they drank?
So, just to drink wine, beer and stronger because they did is not valid
We will continue looking at this issue tomorrow September 7th as we look at “Drinking, Alcohol and Believers”.
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