Outline on Alcohol and Drunkenness

The Bible teaches that drunkenness is sinful, but drinking wine, in and of itself, is not sinful; otherwise, Jesus would have sinned.  There is also the incorrect belief among many Baptists that wine in the first century was so watered-down that it could only make a person drunk if he or she consumed a ridiculous amount of it or that it was unfermented grape juice.  A brief study of Scripture shows that this was not the case.  I myself do not drink alcohol.

New Testament:

Matthew 27:48/Mark 15:36/Luke 23:36/John 19:29-30 – Jesus drank sour wine on the cross before he died.

Mark 14:23-25 – Jesus drank wine at the Last Supper.

Luke 1:15 – John the Baptist is commanded not to drink wine or strong drink (unlike Jesus).

Luke 7:33-34 – Jesus drank wine (how else could they wrongly accuse him of being a drunkard?).

John 2:1-11 – Jesus turned water into wine.

John 2:10 – Jesus’ wine was “the good wine” (which is contrasted with the cheaper watered-down wine which was normally served last after people became drunk).

Acts 2:13-15 – The Christians were accused of being filled with new wine, but Peter responded by saying, “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.”  How could unfermented grape juice make one drunk?

Romans 14:21 – Those who are offended by others drinking wine are among the “weak brethren” in contrast to the “strong” who do drink wine and eat meat (why would the “weak” be offended by others drinking unfermented grape juice?)  This is similar to Colossians 2:16 where Paul says, “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink.”  Wine was a common drink in the first century.

1 Corinthians 11:21 – “One person gets drunk” wine at Lord’s Supper was alcoholic (how could unfermented grape juice make one drunk?).

Ephesians 5:18 – do not get drunk with wine (how could unfermented grape juice make one drunk?).  This verse does not forbid drinking wine, only getting drunk with wine.

1 Timothy 3:8/Titus 2:3 – Deacons and older women are not to be addicted to “much” wine (Paul does not say they are not to drink wine, but only “much” wine).

1 Timothy 5:23 – Paul instructs Timothy to drink a little wine for medicinal use.

Old Testament:

Gen 9:21, 24 – Noah became drunk by drinking wine (not unfermented grape juice).

Gen 14:18 – Melchizedek (a type of Christ and priest of God Most High) brought out wine to drink for himself and Abraham (prefiguring the Lord’s Supper).

Gen 19:32-35 – Lot was made drunk with wine (not unfermented grape juice).

Deut 7:13 – Giving wine to the people of Israel is a blessing of the covenant.

Deut 14:26 – The Israelites were allowed to buy and drink strong drink and wine.

Deut 28:39 – Not being able to drink the wine of the vineyard is a curse of the covenant.

1 Samuel 1:14-15 – Hannah was accused of being drunk through drinking wine (not unfermented grape juice).

Psalm 104:14-15 – Wine is for making man’s heart glad.

Prov 3:10 – Having vats bursting with wine is a blessing from God.

Prov 9:1-5 – Lady Wisdom makes wine.

Prov 31:6 – Strong drink and wine are to be given to those in distress (which is an ironic way of discouraging those who are rulers from drinking it since they are not in distress).

Ecclesiastes 9:7 – “Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.” God approves of drinking wine.

Hosea 2:8 – God gave Israel her wine to drink.

Joel 2:24 – Vats overflowing with wine is a blessing from God.

Amos 9:14 – Planting vineyards and drinking their wine is part of the restoration of Israel and blessings of the covenant described by Amos.

Zech 9:17 – Wine makes the young women flourish.


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