There are many topics of the Bible that people try to make fit their lives. One of the sins that people try to justify is social drinking. When it comes to the topic of social drinking, those attempting to justify the sin will invariably say, “well Jesus turned water into wine, so there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol since Jesus provided it in the Bible.” The saddest thing about that statement, is that people use Jesus as a way to justify their sin. There is so much debate on this topic. So many opinions. Many people see the word “wine” in the Bible and automatically associate the word with its modern usage denoting an alcoholic beverage. So let’s examine some scripture and some original Hebrew & Greek to address and understand this topic.
“Yayin”and “tirosh” from the Hebrew and “oinos”and “gleukos” from the Greek mean wine, whether fermented or not fermented. At present, the term “wine” is almost used exclusively of alcoholic wine, but let us never be guilty of an interpretation based solely upon modern day definitions. This is very important as we also need to look at the context of the different verses. One example is Jeremiah 48:33. It says “And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.” The wine of fresh squeezed grapes coming out of the winepress is grape juice and could not be fermented. In Genesis 9:21, we read about Noah and it says, “And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.” We know here it talks about fermented wine. Reading the context and understanding the proper definitions are so important.
Furthermore, in Matthew 26:29, it was “the fruit of the vine” they drank. This is also in Mark 14 and Luke 22. The “fruit of the vine” would be grapes, and when the grapes are crushed they do not make alcoholic wine. You do know that God calls it wine while the juice is still in the grape don’t you? Unfermented wine was the most common wine in biblical times. Something else to think about is why would Jesus make alcoholic wine when the Bible condemns drunkenness? Galatians 5:21 says, “envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Scripture is pretty plain here.
Another part of scripture says that people interpret wrong are the words “well drunk”. The Greek Word for well drunk is “methuo” which means to be filled or full, not intoxicated. An example is in John 2:10, “And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guest have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!’ These people are filled up or full, but are not drunk.
Another topic that causes people to justify drinking alcohol “well they used it for medicinal purposes in the Bible.” Let’s look at that for a moment. The verse in question is 1 Timothy 5:23, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your often infirmities.” But what’s odd to me is that regardless of how much one intends to drink, he or she attempts to justify it by quoting what Paul told Timothy. Remember wine in biblical times was not like the wine today. Some years ago doctors began telling patients to drink a glass of wine with their evening meal. I remember seeing reports on the evening news regarding the benefits of drinking a glass of wine each evening. At that time, it was mentioned by a brother in Christ that his doctor give him that advice. When he told his doctor that he did not drink alcohol, his doctor quickly replied, “Just drink a glass of grape juice. It will do the same thing for you.” The medicinal properties in “wine” are not in the alcohol. They are in the grape juice.
The writer of Proverbs 20:1 warned, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Alcohol is an addictive and destructive drug that no sincere Christian should use to any degree. The Bible is consistent in condemning drunkenness. Paul also said that a drunkard cannot inherit the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10). In another letter, Paul said that carousing and drunkenness are improper behaviors (Romans 13:13). So there are many verses, where being a drunkard is a sin. Remember there is not one positive statement about alcohol in the Bible.
Christ was sinless, and He is the perfect example for us to follow. He would not have made something that He calls sin, and He certainly would not perform His miracle in scripture, by making something the Bible condemns. So, one who wishes to please God will not drink any alcoholic drink, in any amount, for any purpose, at any time! Remember, the process of becoming drunk begins with the first drink.
So many people have a problem with alcohol today. There is a way to overcome them. Jesus is the way! In 1 Corinthians 6:11, it states, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” This verse means, when you used to drink and when you used to have a problem, you were washed and you were sanctified. You were cleansed of that sin and you do not do it anymore. What a feeling to know your sins have been washed away. Alcohol is not worth your life and most importantly it is not worth your soul.