[bibletalk] Social Drinking

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From: Steve Preston <prstn496@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2006 05:36:12 -0400
Social Drinking

A common problem people have in Bible study is not being
thorough enough. By that I mean that most Christians and prospective
Christians do not take the time to read everything the Bible has to
say on a particular subject. A case in point is drinking alcoholic
beverages or social drinking. People who want to justify the practice
of social drinking point to a particular passage, for instance
John 2:1-11, and think that settles the matter. It doesn’t at all.
Let us take a close look at what the Bible has to say on the subject
of drinking alcoholic beverages.
In John 2:1-11, we read about a marriage feast that Jesus
attended. The people had been drinking for some time before Jesus
performed the miracle of turning water into wine. Some people will
use this to show that Jesus therefore approved of drinking wine
(the kind containing alcohol). However, this could not be true.
You might ask how I know that. I know that because woe is pronounced
on him (under the old law - that law that Jesus lived under) who gives
someone something that would cause them to be drunk (Habakkuk 2:15).
I know this because it was unlawful for priests to drink anything
alcoholic (Leviticus 10:8-9). Since Jesus serves as our High Priest
continually (Hebrews 6:20, 10:21) there would never be a time for Him
to have alcoholic wine. So did Jesus approve the use of alcoholic
beverages? No, He did not. It should also be noted that the word
“wine” does not always refer to an alcoholic beverage. Proof of this
is shown by Isaiah 65:8: “Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found
in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it:
so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all”.
Sometimes wine simply refers to the juice of the grape.
Another passage people will use to justify social drinking
is 1 Timothy 5:23 in which Paul talking to Timothy: “Drink no longer
water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often
infirmities”. However, this does not affirm social drinking but the
use of alcohol for medicinal purposes. There are too many scriptures
against regular use of alcoholic beverages (covered a little bit later)
for this passage to mean anything else.
In 1 Timothy 3, qualifications for elders and deacons are given.
In verse 3, elders are charged not to be given to wine. In verse 8,
deacons are charged not to be given to “much” wine. The attempt is then
made to show that some drinking is okay. Given that clear passages on
the dangers of drinking and getting drunk, the previous passages would
not justify social drinking. In Proverbs 23:20 we are told to not be
“among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh…” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
warns that drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Previously,
we saw that under the old law, priests were forbidden to drink wine. The
very next verse in that chapter (Lev. 10:10) gives the reason: “And that
ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and
clean…” God said that in drinking strong drink (alcoholic beverages)
would cause one to be unholy. Since Christians are priests in the New
Testament (1 Peter 2:9), can Christians then partake of something that
would make them unholy? In taking just one drink, a person starts to
become drunk.
Consider also the following passages that admonish us not to be
drunk: Proverbs 23:21, 31-35, 31:4-5; Isaiah 5:11-12; Romans 13:13;
Galatians 5:21; and Ephesians 5:19. All of these passages speak of
drunkenness in as being dangerous and sinful. There is never a passage
in all of the New Testament that puts drinking in a positive light. Why
do something that God is so clearly against?

In Christ, Steve Preston

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