Drugs And Drinking:
What Do The Scriptures Really Teach?
What About Alcohol?
Millions of people today believe anything short of TOTAL ABSTINENCE from any kind of beverage containing alcohol is a "Sin". Many other people believe there can never be enough alcohol in their wine cellars or at their parties.
What is right? What is wrong? Is it a sin to drink a little wine or strong drink? Since we are to live by every word of God as our Savior Jesus tells us to do in Matthew 4:4, just what do the Scriptures say concerning DRINKING, and/or DRUNKENNESS? Notice the following Scripture which is often skipped, or ignored, by many preachers today!
Deuteronomy 14:26 -
The word wine in this verse is translated from the Hebrew word yayin, which is listed as word #3196 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary and means fermented wine.
3196. yayin, yah'-yin' from the unused root mean.
to effervese; wine (as fermented); by impl.
intoxication: - banqueting, wine, wine [-bibber].
The words strong drink are translated from the Hebrew word shekar, listed as word #7941 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary and means: an intensely alcoholic liquor.
7941. shekar, shekawr'; from 7937; an in-
toxicant i.e. intensely alcoholic liquor: - strong drink,
+ drunkard, strong wine.
shikkor. See 7910.
If you will completely read the entire Chapter of Deuteronomy Fourteen you will see that God gives His People Three Feasts in His Year. God tells us to rejoice at His Feasts. God tells us to USE WINE OR STRONG DRINK at His Feast, if that is what we want.
Was the idea of drinking changed in the New Testament? Did the Savior or His Disciples teach the complete abstinence from wine or strong drink?
The first place the New Testament speaks of drinking is at the marriage attended by our Savior Jesus. Not only was He present, but evidently His mother was in some way helping in the marriage festivities. When the wine which was previously provided was completely consumed by the guests, Jesus' mother came to Him and asked Him what they should do. The complete story of JESUS' FIRST MIRACLE OF TURNING THE WATER INTO WINE is written in John 2:3-11.
The Wedding Feast had progressed so far that they were surprised that the host had saved the best wine to be served last. It was customary to serve the best wine first and to serve the poorest wine last. When our SAVIOR MADE WINE to serve at this Wedding Feast, He made the best!
The usual explantion from those who make their own interpretations of the Scriptures is that the wine our Savior made was "not alcoholic - there was no alcohol in it."
The Greek word for the "WINE" JESUS CREATED at His First Miracle is the same Greek word for "wine" in Ephesians 5:18, where it is definitely shown that if you drink too much, you will definitely get drunk!
The word translated wine in both John Chapter Two and Ephesians 5:18 is the Greek word oinos which is listed as word #3631 in Strong's Greek Dictionary.
3631. oinos, oy'nos; a prim. word (or perh.
of Heb. or. ), "wine" (lit. or fig.): - wine.
This word refers us to the Hebrew word yayin, which definitely shows wine to be a fermented, intoxicating beverage.
3196. yayin, yah'-yin' from the unused root mean.
to effervese; wine (as fermented); by impl.
intoxication: - banqueting, wine, wine [-bibber].
Any authority, as well as your own common sense, will tell you NO ONE WILL GET DRUNK ON UNFERMENTED GRAPE JUICE!
This shows us further proof that ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES are NOT CONDEMNED by Jesus. The Scriptures plainly tell us Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). If drinking alcohol was a sin, Jesus the Messiah would not have performed the act of making wine!
Drinking And Health
The Apostle Paul wrote these instructions to the Disciple Timothy in:
Our Creator Yahweh is concerned for our health. He gave us His Laws to guide us in His ways, which include His Ways to Health. Yahweh inspired the Apostle John to write in:
The instruction Paul first wrote to Timothy is righteous instruction for us today. Most Medical Doctors agree that WINE OR BEER, when used sparingly, is BENEFICIAL TO ONE'S HEALTH! In fact, many Medical Doctors prescribe beer or wine to their patients. But the key word in this "prescription" is SPARINGLY. The Scriptures say not to drink to the point of DRUNKENNESS! Our Creator God made the human body and He knows what is "healthy" for that human body!
From the book entitled The Wonder of Wine written by Edouard Kressmann and published by Hastings House Publishers, we find this information on page 197, concerning the Medicinal use of Wine.
PART FIVE: WINE IN LIFE
Wine does not fatigue the stomach any more than
the head. On the contrary, it promotes digestion.
Many scientists have shown the beneficial effect
of fine wines on the human body, especially when
they are drunk at table, thanks to their countless
constituents, in particular their tannins, mineral
salts, vitamins B, etc. That is why light Bordeaux
red wines are particularly recommended by the
medical profession, both to those in fine health and
active people who wish to prolong their days, as
well as to convalescents and old people whose
strength needs to be built up again.
The Apostle Paul knew the benefits that wine mixed with water had on the human body. From antiquity people have MIXED A SMALL AMOUNT OF WINE WITH UNFAMILIAR WATER when they traveled to places they were unaccustomed to. Wines have many BENEFICIAL ASPECTS for many different ailments.
Wines are used externally as an ANTISEPTIC in wounds, and also for soaking foods to kill harmful bacteria on the skin of fruits and vegetables. It was used as a BLOOD BUILDER and to STRENGTHEN THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM.
In the book entitled Wine Appreciation, by Richard P. Vine, Facts on File, 1988, we read this information in Chapter Two on page 77.
Nutritional aspects of wine. Studies have shown
the presence of minerals and vitamins in wine. Wine
is an effective iron supplement, and 80 percent of
the iron in wine is present in the ferrous form that
is readily available for use in the human body.
In this same book, on pages 80-81, is this information:
WINE AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
There is no evidence to support the notion that
moderate amounts of alcohol produce increased
levels of cholesterol. Recent articles published in
the Journal of the American Association
have shown that coronary artery disease was less
likely to develop in men who drank alcoholic bev-
erages in moderation than those who abstained or
were heavy drinkers.
WINE AND DIABETES. Dry wines with low-sugar
content can be an excellent and regular energy
source for those on diabetic diets. If one suffers
from diabetes, consult with a physician before
making wine a regular part of the diet.
In recent years, the United States Government conducted a study on the effects of alcohol on pregnant women and their unborn children. They came to a conclusion, and subsequently issued a warning that even the slightest amount of alcohol is harmful to a fetus. However, as the following excerpt from the book Wine Appreciation, by Richard P. Vine, 1988, Facts on File, pages 81-83, shows us, both the governments study and its conclusion are flawed.
WINE AND PREGNANCY. . .In the 1970's the term
"FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME" was coined to
describe a group of congenital defects seen in the
children of alcoholic mothers.
The bulletin of the FEDERAL DRUG AD-
MINISTRATION in July 1981 stated that even
the smallest amount of alcohol might be danger-
ous to the fetuses of pregnant women. The full blown
amount of alcohol syndrome has, to this date, been
reported only in women suffering from chronic al-
coholism who in one study drank as much as one
and one-half gallons of liquor per day.
. . .It is important to relate that only approxi-
mately 500 cases of fetal alcohol syndrome to date
have been described in medical literature.
. . .We should also note that it is somewhat mis-
leading to attribute all the effects of the fetal syn-
drome solely to the amount of alcohol consumed,
since many of these women were also heavy smokers,
some used hard drugs, and many had poor diets.
As we have read previously, using alcohol SPARINGLY, as God commands, will bring harm to no one.
Wine At Jesus' Memorial
Wine is one of the PUREST substances known to mankind! Since leavening represents sin and grape juice definitely contains leavening (yeasts), then grape juice could not have represented the blood of Christ at Jesus' first Memorial Service with His Disciples
Unadulterated wine contains no yeasts or impurities at all. Unadulterated wine contains no leavening. Therefore unadulterated wine, and ONLY UNADULTERATED WINE, can represent the Blood of Jesus at His Memorial.
The Sin of Drunkenness
It should be obvious by now that God does allow His people to DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. However, God does not say, "drink while you drive to the feast". God does not say, "drink until the alcohol inflames you." God does not say, "go to drinking parties, drink a lot, make a fool of yourself, bring dishonor on the name of God. God does not say these things! Now, read:
What brought on this sorrow spoken of here? This sorrow was not brought on by Obeying God! It was brought on by DRINKING TOO MUCH! It is not the drinking of alcohol which God CONDEMNS, rather it is DRUNKENNESS, drinking to the point of INTOXICATION.
Reading from the Encyclopedia Judaica, pages 237-238, we find this information concerning drinking and drunkenness.
DRUNKENNESS (Heb. shikkaron).
In the Bible. Biblical, apocryphal, and ancient Near
Eastern references make it clear that, far from being
condemned, the use of alcoholic beverages was re-
garded by Jews and others as a necessary (Ecclus.
39:26; Pritchard, Texts, 598, line 89;602, line 32)
and distinctive (Ps. 104:15; Pritchard, Texts, 77c,
line 12ff.) feature of human life. A feast was in
conceivable without wine, and Proverbs 9:1 ff. speaks
of Wisdom personified offering food and wine. Indeed,
complete abstinence was associated with a turn-
ing away from civilization (Jer 35:see *Rechabites).
*Wine was valued for bringing joy and banishing
sorrow (Judg. 9:13; Ps. 104:15; cf. Pritchard, loc.
cit., line 21: Prov. 31:6-7; Eccles. 10:19; Ecclus. 31:27-
28; 40:20) and was used cultically in libations (Ex.
30:40-41) and the festive sacral meal (Deut. 14:26).
Intoxication, however, was deprecated (cf. Ecclus.
31:25-31; 39:27), both in the cult - in keeping with
the biblical rejestion of the Dionysiac element of
other ancient religions (Lev. 10:8-11; I Sam. 1:13-
16; Ezek. 44:21) - and in daily life. Wisdom literature
warns that drunkenness brings poverty, woes,
quarrels, wounds, strange visions, etc. (Prov. 20:1;
21:17; 23:19-21;29-35; 31:4-4; cf. I Esd. 3:19-24)
and causes kings to err in judgment (Prov. 31:4-
5; cf. Lev. 10:8-11 (priests); Isa. 28:7 (priest and
prophet). Several narratives depict the disgrace
and sometimes death of drunkards (Noah, Gen. 9:20-
27; Lot, Gen. 19:31-38; Nabal, I sam. 25:36; Amnon,
II Sam. 13:28029; Elah, I Kings 16:9; Ben-Hadad,
I Kings 20:16; Ahasuerus, Esth. 1:10; cf. Holofernes,
Judith 13:2). The prophets frequently condemn
drunkenness, particularly among the wealthy and
the leaders (Isa. 28:1 ff.; 56:11-12; cf. Prov. 31:4-
5), associating it with moral insensitivity (Isa. 5:11-
12, 22-23; Amos 2:8), licentiousness (Hos. 4:11-12,
18), and forgetting God (Hos. 4:11-12; cf. Job
1:4-5). Drunkenness and gluttony are among the
charges against the insubordinate son (Deut. 21:20).
The Interpreter's Bible Dictionary, on page 872, says this about drinking and drunkenness.
DRUNKENNESS. Wine was not banned in Israel.
It was not only valued for giving pleasure and ban-
ishing sorrow (Judg. 9:13; Ps. 104:15; Prov. 31:6-
7); it had a place in the sacrificial meal (Deut. 14:26;
cf. I sam. 1:9, 12-16; Amos 2:8). Drinking to in-
toxication ([only figuratively]; Jer. 13:13; Ezek.
23:33), however, was a disgrace, and the exemplary
stories of the drunkenness of Noah (Gen. 9:20-27)
and Lot (19:31-38) serve to show to what immoral
uses the drunkard exposes himself. Drunk-
enness is associated with licentiousness in Hos.
4:11, 18 (cf. II Sam. 11:13). Drunkenness is related
of wealthy Nabal (I Sam. 25:36), and of the kings
Elah (I Kings 16:9), Ben-hadad (20:16), and
Ahasuerus (Esth. 1:10). The wisdom writers dis-
approve of it on utilitarian grounds (Prov. 20:1;
21:17; 23:20-21, 29-35); the prophets condemn it
in the leaders of the people for causing moral blind-
ness (Isa. 5:11-12, 28:7 ff; 56:11-12; Amos 6:6; cf.
The charge brought against the insubordinate son
by his parents epitomizes his corruption in the
phrase: "He is a glutton and a drunkard"
(Deut. 21:20). Priests must not take any strong drink
while on duty in the sanctuary (Lev. 10:8-9).
In the NT, too, drunkenness (Rom. 13:13;
I Pet. 4:3) is associated with debauchery
and Gentile depravity. a bishop may not be intem-
perate; (I Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7). Drunkards
will not inherit the kingdom of God
(I Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21), nor are they to be toler-
ated among the called out ones (I Cor. 5:11-13).
As the following Scriptures show, God CONDEMNS drinking until the alcohol INFLAMES and effects one's thinking. We are plainly told in the Scriptures to be MODERATE in our drinking and above all NOT TO BE DRUNK!
Romans 13:13 -
Proverbs 20:1 -
Philippians 4:5 -
The Scriptures are plain. we must always strive to be in CONTROL OF OUR MINDS. Jesus' own words tell us to never allow our minds to become clouded, so that we do not think clearly, whether with RECREATIONAL DRUGS OR THE DRUG OF DRUNKENNESS.
Luke 21:34 -
The word clouded in this verse is translated from the Greek word bareo, which comes from the Hebrew word kabad.
Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, page 781, shows us that kabad means dull, hindered in the use of the senses.
Kabad (Jud. 20:34)
(1) TO BE HEAVY
From heavy things not being easily
moved, this verb is applied. . .
(5) to indolence, dullness, and to any
hindrance of the use of the senses; hence to be dull,
sluggish, of the eyes, Gen. 48:10; of the ears, Isa. 59:1;
also of the mind not easily moved, and
therefore ondurate, Exod. 9:7. In like
manner verbs of fatness are aplied to indolence;
We find these further instructions when we read:
[I would like to take the time here to tell you that I am unable to give you the info from the Greek because I do not have enough Greek special characters in this program. Therefore I will continue on with the Hebrew.]
The word drunk in this verse comes from the Hebrew word shakar. The meanings of the Hebrew word shakar, as shown in Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon, page 823, show us that being drunk means BEING OUT OF CONTROL OF ONE'S MIND AND ACTIONS.
I, (1) TO DRINK TO THE FULL
Hagg. 1:6; to drink to hilarity,
Cant. 5:1; Gen. 43:34. It is very often -
(a) to make oneself drunken, Gen. 9:21; fol-
lowed by an soc. of the drink, Isaiah 29:9; 49:26;
followed by Isa. 51:21. Metaph. in the prophets
the wicked are said to be drunken, since they rush
by a kind of madness, upon their own destruction,
Isa. 29:9; 51:21; Lam. 4:21; Nah. 3:11.
According to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, the word drunk means having the faculties impaired by alcohol.
drunk \drank \ adj [ME drunke alter. of drunken] (14c) 1 : having
the faculties impaired by alcohol 2 : dominated by an intense feeling
(~ with power) 3 : of. relating to, or caused by intoxication
This is exactly the condition of a person who uses alcohol to the POINT OF DRUNKENNESS or who uses RECREATIONAL DRUGS TO ESCAPE REALITY. One's sense of righteousness and judgment is affected when one cannot think clearly, whether it is through recreational drugs or the drug of drunkenness.
Amos 6:12 -
Deuteronomy 29:18-19 -
*Footnote Deuteronomy 29:19 - Hebrew clause lamon saphut haruh at hatzmah. Traditionally translated that the intoxication sweep away the thirst or so that the watered will be swept away with the dry. Dr. Solomon ben Yitzhak, in his Commentary in the Chumash, with Targum Onkelos, Haphtaroth, and Rashi's Commentary, Volume Devarim, Pages 146 and 228, shows that this phrase is correctly translated Yahweh will hold all of his sins against him; he has acted; sinned, presumptuously. He is as a drunkard totally out of control.
The whole world is deceived, as Revelation 12:9 says. We must not follow this Deceived World if we choose Eternal Life. We must follow the inspired Scriptures which were written for our correction. God tells us through:
Luke 7:33-35 -
Understand the Word of God. He DOES NOT CONDEMN the use of little WINE, as Paul told Timothy. God does CONDEMN DRUNKENNESS, the drinking of too much alcohol, wherein is excess, as Ephesians 5:18 says.
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