Should I as a Christian Drink Wine or Strong Drink? What Does the Bible Say? What Do We Holiness People Believe? Why? May the Holy Spirit of God help you find answers to your questions here.
First notice what God says in Holy Scripture. For the reader, I listed in no particular order just some of Bible verses on this subject:
And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, Deuteronomy 14:26
And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Judges 13:3-5
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. Isaiah 56:10-12
Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! Isaiah 5:11
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Proverbs 20:1
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Proverbs 31:4-6
Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; Leviticus 10:9-10
Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Isaiah 5:2
Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! Habakkuk 2:15
But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. Isaiah 28:7
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Titus 1:7-8
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. Luke 1:15Convincing evidence has been given that in the Bible times, fermented wine was used as a means to sanitize water. Just enough alcoholic wine was mixed with water to kill organisms which might cause stomach problems such as dysentery or parasites, but it was not enough alcohol to cause drunkenness. This resultant mixture would be called wine also. This would be similar to us adding chlorine or iodine to our water today. This by some is believed to be what Paul is referring to when He recommends that Timothy drink a little wine for his stomach’s sake. Timothy could have experienced chronic cramps or diarrhea caused by drinking unsanitary water. This still happens to missionaries today on some mission fields, due to bad water. This advice to Timothy also applies to other Christians as well. “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.” (1 Tim. 3:8)
To say that whenever the Jews drank wine or strong drink in the Old Testament, they were drinking this purified water, I cannot. I believe that God overlooked several things that the Jews did in the Old Testament of which the New Testament Christian ought not stoop to do, due to our higher spiritual standard of living though grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
But the wine then wasn't nearly as alcoholic then as it is now. Vic Reasoner stated in his commentary on Romans, “Until recent times the yeast used in making fermented beverages died off quickly at relatively low levels of alcohol – probably about 4%. Thus, the alcoholic content was low. Today wine has about 12% alcohol content. In addition, the wine was diluted with water in the ancient world. Only the uncivilized drank their wine unmixed.” [p. 554] This addition purified what might have otherwise been unhealthful water. Once diluted, it would have been nearly impossible to drink enough to make one drunk.
The following is from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia regarding “strong drink,”
“Its immoderate use is strongly condemned (Isaiah 5:11, Isaiah 5:12; Proverbs 20:1; see DRUNKENNESS). It was forbidden to ministering priests (Leviticus 10:9), and to Nazarites (Numbers 6:3; Judges 13:4, Judges 13:7, Judges 13:14; compare Luke 1:15), but was used in the sacrificial meal as drink offering (Numbers 28:7). It is commended to the weak and perishing as a means of deadening their pain; but not to princes, lest it might lead them to pervert justice (Proverbs 31:4-7).”
Proverbs 31 mentions that King Limuel’s mother told him that wine was only for the perishing or those with a heavy heart. Regarding this Adam Clarke said, “Inebriating drinks were mercifully given to condemned criminals, to render them less sensible of the torture they endured in dying. This is what was offered to our Lord; but he refused it.” “Of heavy heart” in the Hebrew means “bitter of soul” according to the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge. Today we have drugs, tranquilizers, anesthetic, and many other medicines to alleviate those who are dying or in agony or pain. In ancient days wine served this purpose. And as wine or strong drink can be abused in this purpose, today many abuse drugs likewise.
In Jeremiah 35 God gave us a powerful illustration of the blessings which come from very careful living. The Rachabites were commanded by their ancestor Jonadab son of Rachab genarations earlier to drink no wine them nor their sons forever. God tested them by having His prophet Jeremiah set wine before them and tell them to drink. They refused to drink. God pronounced judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem who later perished or were scattered due to not heeding His commands. But God commended the Rachabites for their carefulness in listening and obeying. Furthermore God pronounced a blessing upon them by proclaiming, “thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.” Oh, as for me and my house with all our future generations, let us fear God and obey Him in this and in the very smallest of God's precepts!
Points to Ponder:
- God says that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. I want to stay as far away from the line of getting drunk as possible. I will not drink to be “cheered” by a strong drink; the Lord is my joy.
- God says that those who are deceived by wine are “not wise.” I want to be as wise as possible. I will stay as far away from intoxicating drinks as possible. I won’t even put it to my lips.
- God says that it is not for kings. It is my hope to sit with Christ on His throne someday. And even now through prayer and obedience I must exercise dominion and subdue the earth for the glory of God.
- God says that it is not for ministering priests nor Nazarites. A Nazarite was a Jew who professed extraordinary purity of life and devotion. As a holy Christian, I am not only a New Testament priest before God, but I am a special priest before God and a modern day Nazarite – one separated unto God. I am one of the holy people, the careful, the earnest, the revivalists, a possessor of Perfect love, and I desire to be the most like the church of Pentecost. I am filled with the Spirit and I minister to others in the Spirit.
- God says that it is not for princes. We Christians are the sons of God; we are princes in the noblest sense of the word.
- We are not to do anything that could cause someone to fall. If were to yield to a sip of wine others would lower their resistance too. I want NOT ONE person to drink strong drink and fall.
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Romans 14:21
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?And I will drink NO intoxicating wine or intoxicating drinks while the world standeth.
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. 1 Corinthians 8:11-13
Some would say, “But what if you were offered such during communion. I have been offered such during communion, and I have quietly asked if it was alcoholic wine, and when affirmed such, I politely said in a kind and none judgmental attitude, “No thank you, this is no judgment against you all, but I cannot drink alcoholic beverages. Please don’t worry about me, I am okay.” Those who say that this will offend the brother, are wrong. This will not cause a brother to loose his soul. Yea, it might save a brother or cause a brother to live more carefully due to a courageous stand and a blameless testimony of his fellow brother.
Another might say, “What if you are offered such at a wedding, will you offend them by refusing to drink?” I have been served such at a wedding, and I have politely refused. But know that even among the world’s etiquette, it is completely proper to not taste the wine. If offered wine, you may politely say, “No, thank you.” And if there is already wine at your place setting you do not have to drink it. Those who do not drink, but feel that they must toast to the couple’s well being, may raise their glass in the air to health, long life, et cetera, and then set the glass back down at its place without drinking.
I repeat, I will drink NO intoxicating wine or strong drink while the world standeth, for…
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Romans 15:1Please follow my example in this. And in doing so you might have the honor of restoring a fallen brother as mentioned in James.
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;Lovingly,
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
Phillip Dave Dickinson