BY: Gregg PurcellTheme Verse -- "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31)
- We just examined the pitfalls of drunkenness and how God's Word deals with drunkenness. Heavily involving oneself with alcohol is called sinful by God! Today, though, that seems to be taken as a given by most who call themselves "religious." The real battle, instead, comes from the modern theory that "social drinking" is separate and apart from drunkenness and is not only not sinful but actually approved by God. Is this the case? Does God's Word permit and exhort us to intermingle with alcohol on a "social" basis? We will answer these questions with a thorough examination of the modern philosophy of "social drinking!"
1. Was social Drinking endorsed by Jesus at Cana?
- The man who endorses social drinking begins and ends his argument at John 2:11 -- The miracle at the wedding feast of Cana where Jesus turned water into wine. Just to look at the surface of the passage, one might be tempted to agree with that man. However, we must give some thought to the details of the passage, to understand the true, deep meanings in this passage.
- Read: John 2:1-11
- We must understand certain things about the Hebrew culture and language to understand this passage. There are 13 different words that are used to define a beverage that is always intoxicating. None of those thirteen are used in this passage. What is?
- oinos- oinos -- A Greek word signifying the grape or juice of a grape at any stage in its process
-- The meaning of this word must be determined solely by the context it is used in.
- In his book "Bible Wines", scholar William Patton asserts that we must judge the character of this wine by who made it!
- Re-examine the following Scriptures and remind yourself what God feels toward intoxicating wine:
- Prov 20:1 -- What is wine?
- Prov 23:29-35 -- What is the "sting of wine" compared to?
- Does it fit in with the character and teaching of Jesus to offer this substance to many who are gathered together?
- Further, examine Hab 2:15 -- What are the two sins mentioned in verse 15 that Judah had been guilty of?
- 1) -2)
- Read Heb 4:15 -- Did Jesus commit any sin during his lifetime? Would it have been sinful to offer intoxicating wine?
- Some try to argue around Habakkuk 2:15 by stating that the sin lay only in taking advantage of those that were made drunk.
- Others though, see it as two separate sins listed, among them are some Pulpit commentators, and Keil and Delitzsch.
- What does "oinos" mean in this situation? To me (as well as many others), it must be a non-fermented sweet wine. This is the only explanation that fits with God's attitude toward intoxicating wine and Jesus living according to God's attitude!
This we know, that Jesus did not sin. If it is sinful for us to offer intoxicating wine to our neighbors, it was for him too!!!
So, this "proof passage" of those who endorse social drinking proved to be anything but proof! Let's move on!!!!!
2. Timothy's use of wine
- Those who endorse social drinking may also turn to 1 Tim 5:22 and tell you that Paul approved it for Timothy in that verse.
- Read 1 Tim 5:22 -- What did Paul tell Timothy to use wine for?
- How does this compare with "loosening up". "celebrating", or "just having a good time?"
- Further, by considering what we know about Timothy, it becomes clear that this passage will not support the social drinker!
- Read 2 Tim 3:14-15 -- How would you characterize Timothy's knowledge of the Word?
- Knowing that Timothy had full knowledge of the Word, re-read 1 Tim 5:22
- Notice one thing. Paul had to exhort Timothy to use wine even for purposes of medicine. So,:
- What was Timothy's attitude toward wine? How can you tell?
- Again, wine for medicine is one thing, and is completely different from wine for celebrations, 'fun', or etc.
We must understand that Timothy's use of wine for stomach problems offers no "proof" to endorse social drinking!
3. Dangers of and warnings concerning alcohol, revisited
- While we have already read many of these passages, this is a pertinent time to remind ourselves of alcohol's dangers!
- Read Prov 23:29-35 , one more time!!
- v29 -- What should we not do concerning wine? Mixed wine?
- v31 -- What should we not do concerning wine here? Does that leave room for social drinking?
- Read the following Scriptures and write what alcohol does to God's child!
- Lev 10:9-10 --
- Hos 4:11 --
- Prov 23:33 (use KJ translation, 'eyes shall behold strange women.') --
- Examples of Noah (Gen 9) and Lot (Gen 19) from last section --
- Now, what is the purpose of all these warnings?
- Do the Scriptures seem to warn us not to use intoxicating drink excessively, or NOT TO EVEN TAKE ONE DRINK?!?
Alcohol is a pitfall of spiritual danger. Why would God give us the spiritual right to get as
close to that edge as possible?
4. Our example if we partake in social drinking
- We are told to be imitators of God and Christ (1 Cor 11:1, Eph 5:1, 1 Th 1:6)!
- How can we imitate God if we are taking part in drinking of alcohol, said to be part of "the night" (Rom 13:13)
- Read the following passages and write the details of how a Christian should influence those of the world:
- Matt 7:12-14 --
- 1 Cor 10:31 --
- Phil 2:15 --
- Col 4:5 --
- 1 Pet 2:12 --
- How can you convince another in the world that drunkenness is wrong if you have a can of beer in your hand? Will that man accept that your drinking is "social" and therefore, righteous, while his is drunkenness, and, therefore, sinful?!? How can you even ensure that your drinking hasn't crossed a line from "social" into drunkenness. Is it impossible to get drunk socially, or, if you do, is that not sinful because it was for "social" reasons? DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEMS?!?!?
Brethren, let us use some sense here! If someone hands you a can of poison, would it be wise to drink 1/4 of it?
1/8? 1/16? 1%? Who knows how much is too much? The only safe thing to do is stay away from it entirely!!
5. Finally, a scripture that speaks against social drinking
- For all that we have done in defeating the claims of those who advocate social drinking and Bible authority for it, we can do still more. This is made possible not only by all that we have discussed before, but by a clear teaching that Peter gave to us!!
- Read 1 Pet 4:3 --
- There are two words in this verse that we need to spend some time deliberating over!
- komos or komos -- Translated as revellings in KJ, carousals in NAS!
- Komos is defined as: the 'concomitant and consequence (beginning and end,(GRP)) of drunkenness -- Vine's
- a village festival, connected with drunkenness and the behavior that follows -- Lockman
- Carousals and revellings, then, are the after-effects of alcohol consumption. These include the wild behavior, yelling and screaming, stumbling around, and etc. that many "social drinkers" end up being part of?
- So, does this include that guy who has 4 beers "socially", hits on the waitress, and stumbles home to his wife?
- Does it include those Holiday office parties which are "social" and yet notoriously get out of hand?
- Still not convinced? There is an even more powerful word to examine from 1 Pet 4:3!!
- potos or potos -- Translated as banquetings in KJ, drinking parties in NAS!
- Potos is defined as : "a drinking, not simply a banquet, but a drinking bout . . . " -- Vine's
"a drinking bout" -- Lockman
- Drinking parties, or banquetings then, are bouts, or parties, that have as their purpose the drinking of alcohol.
- What comes to mind particularly today are the many parties (cocktail, office, etc.) where the purpose to go is the drinking "socially" of alcohol. The very essence of "social" drinking, then, is condemned, as Christians are told not to partake in such a 'bout' or 'party.'
So, we see that God speaks out against alcohol even in the sense of "social" drinking, in 1 Pet
6. Putting everything together
- Others will point to Scriptures that list the qualifications of elders, where they are not to be "addicted to wine," and say that this means moderate use is acceptable in the home. Some points concerning that:
- Once more, in Prov 23:29-35 -- we are told to not even look at the wine sparkling in the cup.
- Once more, in Phil 2:15 -- we are told to be blameless and innocent, and above reproach.
- Usually, those who make this argument will try to make it include beer or mixed drinks!
- These beverages are completely outlawed by the Bible (Remember, "Strong drink!)
- To apply these verses to anything more than wine with less than 5% alcohol cannot be done!
- If, after, this study, you still do not see all these Scriptures, re-read and let God remind you once more of alcohol's dangers!
A Christian who studies all of these verses should see that alcohol is truly dangerous, even in
the seemingly benign form of wine, the Scriptures say this! Don't fall for the world's
philosophies. Don't let your soul fall into the hands of Satan through dangerous modern
teachings (Col 2:8)! Shun alcohol and its dangers completely!
God has spoken clearly about what alcohol will do to a person and to a soul.
The question today, is, will we listen?