When I type the word “wine” into my bible search engine (courtesy of biblegateway.com), I get 233 results (using the KJV search). Everything from the proverbial - “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” - Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 21:17 - “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich”, to the very sweet: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.” (Song of Solomon 1:2) There is also the miraculous (John 2), to the practical suggestion that Paul gave to young Timothy, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.” (I Tim 5:23). From health tips to unspeakable sins, wine is mentioned throughout the Bible. The question is simply this: is it wrong to partake?
Where I work, there are many people who do not feel it is wrong to drink. Even at my church, I know there are some who do not feel it is wrong to drink. I am specifically thinking of one person who says there is not a problem, provided you do not become drunk. Where does one draw the line on a controversial issue in modern Christianity?
I really don’t like topical issues, because I think there is more to life and more to Christianity than trying to nail down specific topics. I do think, though, it is very important to set down some points in advance.
1. Does the activity bring me closer to God, and bring Him glory?
2. Does the activity encourage my friends/family and reflect God in my life for them to see?
3. Does the Bible specifically prohibit the activity?
Once we set the points down, then we can look at the activity, which in this case, is the consumption of alcohol.
1. Does the activity bring me closer to God, and bring Him glory? If we were to look at this question, the answer would probably be… I don’t know. Is it possible for two Christians to have a glass of wine with dinner and have God-honoring conversation? Sure. We’ll come back to this later.
2. Does the activity encourage my friends/family and reflect God in my life for them to see? Again, the best answer is I don’t know. I don’t drink, so my life experience is limited. We’ll come back to this later as well.
3. Does the Bible specifically prohibit the activity? Now we’re getting somewhere. If we are treating the information in the Bible fairly and accurately, the answer is no. Wine is mentioned in the Bible, and people (including Jesus) drank some variation or form of wine. Paul recommended it to Timothy. So, if the people in the Bible did it, it must be okay for Bible-believing Christians, right? RIGHT?
Maybe not. Let’s reexamine questions 1 and 2 with some modern context, and let’s add one more question: What is the purpose of drinking alcohol today?
I think if we were all absolutely honest, the main purpose of alcohol today is to get people drunk. There are such high contents of alcohol in beer, wine, spirits, etc., that one cannot make any other conclusion. Wanna forget about a tough day? Have a couple of drinks; you’ll forget the day. Wanna celebrate? Have a couple of glasses. The advertising, the whole gearing of alcohol sales is to have a good time partying, and generally doing things that wouldn’t honor the Lord Jesus Christ. I haven’t seen any beer commercials in churches recently. : )
So, let’s go back and answer 1 and 2 with the context.
Does the activity bring me closer to God and bring him glory? Probably not.
Does the activity encourage my friends/family and reflect God in my life for them to see? Probably not.
It is my opinion that it is not prudent for Christians to drink. Is it wrong? That is for that Christian to decide – each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5) Would I separate or not fellowship? Absolutely not! It is not that big to me in light of eternity.
There is a message that has been very helpful from my pastor in this regard – I’ll link to it so that you can hear it; it’s called “The Beverage Use of Alcohol”.
It is sad that some people make too big of a deal out of this, but at the same time, as Christians, we should be showing Christ in all that we do, even in this.