WINE: Drink for your stomach’s sake?

Did you hear about the wedding groom who was charged with the death of his new bride due to driving while intoxicated? You can see the details in the article at this link.

Or what about General Mulholland? He oversaw U.S. commandos on international missions, but he’s now the fourth U.S. general in two years to lose his job or be cited for alcohol-related misbehavior. You can see the details in the article at this link.

Only Jesus Christ can free someone from the power of alcoholic drink.  My late grandfather was a great example of this truth.

wineJesus once said in John 3:8: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  In other words, you may not be able to see GOD, but you can see the effects of His Spirit upon people’s lives in changing them. I’ve seen GOD do this to people. His power is real in a very positive way. A person need only to cry out to Jesus and ask Him to be their LORD and Savior … to acknowledge that Jesus, the GOD of heaven, died for their sins, so that He can free them from their addictive pleasures and give them His Spirit to help them fight the good fight against vice.  In America, Christians were once so numerous that they were able to ban alcohol from the entire nation during the Prohibition period.  Today, they enjoy their alcohol alongside the non-Christians.  What does GOD say about this?

wine2The effects of alcohol on families is real and I have seen how that power has changed lives in a very negative way.

So what does the Bible say about alcohol?  Don’t some pastors teach that it’s okay to drink a little?

“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine (oinos) for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”  – 1 Timothy 5:23

Have you wondered why Paul told Timothy to use a “little wine” for his stomach’s sake when today’s wine causes brain damage?

“And be not drunk with wine (oinos), wherein is excess (asotia or riotous living); but be filled with the Spirit.”  – Ephesians 5:18

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” – Proverbs 20:1

Matthew 9:17  “Neither do men put new wine (oinos) into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine (oinos) runs out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”

1 Timothy 5-23

Also, the objection that the ancients were incapable of preserving grape juice is not only demeaning to the ancient people, but also intellectually dishonest, since they used more economical ways to preserve food and beverages than we use today as can be seen at this link and this link and this link and this link and this link and this link and this link and this link and this link.

Have you heard the old argument of some who say that the water of the ancient world was so undrinkable that people instead had to drink wine and these same people say that it was not possible to completely preserve the wine from fermentation. Does this not imply that people were drinking alcohol all day long, including the children? In other words, everyone lived and worked while they were drunk, Do many of those who hold such a theory fear such a theory lacks logic themselves and thus attempt to balance their statements by saying that the wine wasn’t as alcoholic as it is today? In other words, according to them the ancients were incapable of preserving anything, but somehow their alcohol was less fermented than ours. Is this logical? Others say that they combined the wine with the undrinkable water to make the water less undrinkable. How does that theory work? If that worked on a massive basis in the Middle East in the ancient times, then why don’t they do that today in our American cities? Why spend money on city water filtration systems and why add massive amounts of expensive chemicals in the water if your local city council could simply add slightly fermented wine to the water in order to neutralize the bacteria in it?

Another example of how the “preservation justification” doesn’t work:

  1. Alcohol = Leaven is added … sugar is converted to alcohol
  2. Vinegar = Leaven is added … sugar is converted to alcohol … acetobacter is added … alcohol is converted to vinegar

DIFFERENCE: One is medicinal. The other is a drug and top reason for homicides.

This is proof that vinegar would have been a better choice for all these medicinal and “water cleaning” methods, instead of alcohol and it’s fermentation is actually easier to control in many ways.

Did you know that even alcoholic wine has to be preserved and controlled in some way in order to keep it from souring and molding? Did you know that the optimal way to make vinegar is ‘unsealed’ and between the temperatures of 59 and 94°F, with an optimum range of 80 to 85°F for acetification? Did you know that the optimal way to make alcoholic wine is ‘sealed’ and between the temperatures of 55 to 59°F?   In other words, making wine would have been much more difficult for the ancient world than making vinegar if indeed preservation was a challenge for the ancient world.  However, as mentioned previously, preservation was not a challenge.

Did you know that “wine” is simply the word for “fruit of the vine” or grape juice in the original Greek and Hebrew? Biblical Greek and Hebrew both had several words for “grape juice”, but their meaning was always inferred from the context. Thus, “wine” in the Bible could mean anything from alcohol to grape juice to vinegar.

wine4Furthermore, those who say that only one word is used in the Greek for vinegar or that another word is used for only grape juice and yet another for only strong drink should first compare Scripture verses to see if their thoughts match Scripture.  While certain Greek or Hebrew words may have a singular meaning, other words may have more than one meaning. In fact, at the beginning of this article, I have shown how the word “oinos” alone can be used as fruit of the vine used for “strong drink” in Ephesians 5, but also as new fruit of the vine that is preserved in new skins in Matthew 9.  Thus, since “oinos” can be used for new fruit of the vine, I advocate that in I Timothy 5 it can also be used for vinegar which is merely alcohol with “acetobacter” added.

wine3I realize that high-powered Biblical theologians with an agenda may play the “language game” in order to ensure the peasant populace trusts their scholarship, but I have included all the Greek and Hebrew words for “wine” at the end of this article, so you can compare each Greek or Hebrew word to see how one word may have a variety of contextual uses in Scripture (instead of only one meaning per word).  I submit to you that you can determine meaning based upon context in Scripture rather than having to decide which lexicon is more trustworthy.  In other words, if Ephesians 5 uses “oinos” in the context of strong drink, but Matthew 9 uses “oinos” in the context of new fruit of the vine (and this is just one tiny example – do the study yourself), then regardless of what the shading of meaning given by a lexicon, you can know for yourself that a certain word had multiple meanings since GOD would never say “don’t drink oinos” in one passage and “do drink oinos” in another passage.  This is basic syllogistic logic.

Knowing that, do you really think that Paul would tell young Timothy to drink alcohol which destroys your liver in order to help his stomach? Isn’t that the same drink that doctors tell pregnant women not to drink? Is that what Paul wanted to Timothy to experience? Or would vinegar which is world-renowned for its medicinal benefits, and especially its benefits to the stomach, be a much more logical suggestion?

Wine is a mocker

Vinegar, like alcohol, is also fermented grapes, but it doesn’t get you drunk.  In fact, you can’t get drunk on it and a little bit is all a person can stand to drink (or they will feel the burning in more ways than one).  Doesn’t that also make sense when you realize that Paul said a “little wine” for the stomach?

Grape vinegar is recommended today for medicinal purposes, while alcohol still destroys lives (i.e. M.A.D.D., Alcoholics Anonymous, etc).  Even the government recommends vinegar for its medicinal uses.  When is the last time you heard them recommend alcohol?  Ever heard of D.U.I. charges?

Woe unto him that gives his neighbor drink, that puts your bottle to him, and makes him drunken also, that you may look on their nakedness!”  – Habakkuk 2:15

The United Kingdom’s “MailOnline” had a health article that stated that wine is worse for the brain than beer.   Ironically, Paul was recommending a healthy choice to young Timothy for his stomach. Would he have recommended one that caused brain damage?   In fact, do you think Paul recommended the potions of Dionysus, Bacchus, and other witches brews in small amounts to Timothy?  Or the “spells in liquid forms” as Wikipedia’s article on magical potions words it.

WINE - The Great Robber

The true people of GOD didn’t engage historically in a lot of beer-making, while the Roman Catholic empire was well-known for their monks producing beer.

“In contrast to the Egyptians and Sumerians, “beer never played an important role among the drinking customs of the land of Israel.” This is the current state of archaeology pronounced by the Jewish Museum, New York and Jerusalem, relating to the practices of Ancient Israelites.”

Did you know that vinegar can be used internally for such ailments as stomach problems, as well as used topically on one’s stomach via a rag for nausea and vomiting? How about this for context?  You can use vinegar to soothe one’s stomach after they are vomiting from having ingested too much alcohol.

“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it gives his color in the cup, when it moves itself aright. At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lies down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lies upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.”  – Proverbs 23:29-35

WINE - The Great Robber5Which type of wine fits the context of the above forbidden “wine”?  Vinegar?  Grape juice? or alcohol?  Grape juice and vinegar have both been used for medicinal benefits.  Don’t some doctors recommend alcohol too?  Yes, but I don’t recommend you see that type of doctor, because I know of a doctor who recommended alcohol to his patient for medicinal purposes and his patient, a conservative Bible-believing pastor, became victim to the alcohol, was arrested for a D.U.I. and lost his job.

“It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.”  – Romans 14:21

WINE - The Great Robber8

Now, it’s up to you to choose the logical, the intelligent, the obvious, and the Biblical uses for your own life.

If you have the Holy Spirit leading you, instead of your appetites, and the good Word of GOD, you have all you need to make the right decision.  If people spent more time memorizing Scripture, reading their Bibles, praying, and staying busy as the Bible says, do you think they would have time to get into trouble with alcohol?

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!  Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!” – Isaiah 5:20-23

WINE - The Great Robber12

Seems like a lot of risk for someone to take just to enjoy a beverage, in my opinion.

There’s even some evidence that beer can make men into more effeminate “girly men” as seen in the article at this link.

Finally, what does GOD say about alcoholic “vine” or wine?

British physicist C. V. Boys brings clear insight to this question and to a particular Scripture verse. It’s hard to consume a beverage when you’re not even allowed to look at the beverage.

“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it gives his color in the cup, when it moves itself aright.” – Proverbs 23:31

To read about this phenomenon addressed by scientists, including British physicist C.V. Boys, concerning how grape juice can move itself aright as its level of toxicity or alcoholic content increases, read the encyclopedia article at this link to learn about the phenomenon known as “tears of wine”.

Statistics don’t lie.

  • In Scotland, the NHS estimate that in 2003 one in every 20 deaths could be attributed to alcohol.
  • One study claims that “excessive alcohol consumption in Russia, particularly by men, has in recent years caused more than half of all the deaths at ages 15-54 years.”
  • A study links alcohol to 1 in every 25 deaths worldwide and that 5% of years lived with disability are attributable to alcohol consumption. Countries collect statistics on alcohol-related deaths. While some categories relate to short-term effects, such as accidents, many relate to long-term effects of alcohol.
  • Over-consumption of alcohol is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide.
  • Estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse, collected by the World Health Organization, vary from one to six percent of a country’s GDP. One Australian estimate pegged alcohol’s social costs at 24% of all drug abuse costs; a similar Canadian study concluded alcohol’s share was 41%. One study quantified the cost to the UK of all forms of alcohol misuse in 2001 as £18.5–20 billion.”

WINE - The Great shares the following stats as well:

  • Twenty-five to forty percent of all patients in U.S. general hospital beds (not in maternity or intensive care) are being treated for complications of alcohol-related problems. 1
  • Annual health care expenditures for alcohol-related problems amount to $22.5 billion. The total cost of alcohol problems is $175.9 billion a year (compared to $114.2 billion for other drug problems and $137 billion for smoking).2
  • In comparison to moderate and non-drinkers, individuals with a history of heavy drinking have higher health care costs. 3
  • Untreated alcohol problems waste an estimated $184.6 billion dollars per year in health care, business and criminal justice costs, and cause more than 100,000 deaths. 4
  • Health care costs related to alcohol abuse are not limited to the user. Children of alcoholics who are admitted to the hospital average 62 percent more hospital days and 29 percent longer stays. 5
  • Alcohol use by underage drinkers results in $3.7 billion a year in medical care costs due to traffic crashes, violent crime, suicide attempts and other related consequences. The total annual cost of alcohol use by underage youth is $52.8 billion. 6
  • Alcohol-related car crashes are the number one killer of teens. Alcohol use is also associated with homicides, suicides, and drownings-the next three leading causes of death among youth. 7
  • Alcohol is the drug most frequently used by 12 to 17 year-olds-and the one that causes the most negative health consequences. More than 4 million adolescents under the legal drinking age consume alcohol in any given month. 8
  • For an estimate of the costs that alcohol problems may be causing your workplace, and suggestions on what a company can do to identify and treat costly alcohol problems, go to the Alcohol Cost Calculator: http://www.alcoholcostcalculator.org9

More Scripture verses on alcohol:

  • wine5Genesis 19:35 “And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.”
  • Isaiah 5:11 “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!”
  • Jeremiah 35:6 “But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:”
  • Jeremiah 35:14 “The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.”
  • Ezekiel 44:21 “Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.
  • Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
  • Daniel 5:4 “They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.”
  • Daniel 5:23 “But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:”
  • Joel 3:3 “And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.
  • Hosea 3:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.”
  • Micah 2:11 “If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.”
  • Habakkuk 2:5 “Yea also, because he transgresses by wine, he is a proud man, neither keeps at home, who enlarges his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathers unto him all nations, and heaps unto him all people:”
  • Luke 1:15 “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.”
  • Mark 15:23 “And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.”

Some further information to examine is the etymological renditions of the word “wine” in other ancient languages and families of languages.  For example, “vinegar” has the prefix “vin” which is a Romantic language use of “wine”.  In Italian, wine is “vini”.  English words typically are based in Germanic roots, so that our word “wine” is akin to the German word “wein” (pronounced “vine” in German).  Thus, the more you study the origin of words, the more you will realize that “wine” has always meant “vine” or the product of grapes and that context has always been the determining factor as to whether the grapes were used for strong drink, vinegar, or fresh grape juice (aka “must“).

In most dishes that use alcohol, the wine is “cooked out”.  However, there are two matters of concern with using alcohol in cooking.  The first would be the obvious dishes or desserts in which the dessert is not “cooked out”.  The second is that of avoiding the appearance of being a hypocrite to others who might see you purchasing the alcohol for cooking and who might then think you partake in alcoholic consumption.  If the other individual is a teen who is struggling with peer pressure and alcohol themselves or an adult to whom you have shared Christ who is looking for an excuse to disregard your testimony or another “weaker” individual, you might become a stumbling block to others. Therefore, if you are a “foodie” like me and enjoy gourmet food, you might wish to use non-alcoholic substitutes in your cooking as seen in the article at this link.