Pastor David L. Brown,
©1989 & February 2002 David L. Brown
a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived
thereby is not wise."
My heart aches
for the family that lost their only two children in an auto accident
recently. A drunk driver crossed the median and plowed into their car. The
five month old and, their four year old were killed. Their children wiped
out. But, there is more. This tragic scene is repeated every 33 minutes.
Thatís right. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration a person dies every 33 minutes in an alcohol related
accident. And thatís not all. An estimated 310,000 persons were injured
in crashes each year where police reported that alcohol was present.
Thatís an average of one person injured approximately every 2 minutes.
Consider these additional statistics from the United
States Justice Department: Nearly 4 in 10 violent victimizations
involve use of alcohol. Also, victim reports show, on average each
year about 183,000 rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol use by
the offender, as do just over 197,000 robberies, about 661,000
aggravated assaults, and nearly 1.7 million simple assaults.
The Scripture is true! "Wine is a mocker, strong
drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
Proverbs 20:1. It is at
the root of all kinds of problems in our country today and it has been for
hundreds of years. Proverbs 23:31-32
is a powerful injunction against drinking alcoholic beverages. It says, .
31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his
colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At
the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
There is clear evidence in the Scriptures that
believers should not drink alcoholic beverages. In this report I list
7 Good Reasons Why Christians Should Not Drink Alcoholic Beverages.
However, before we do that, we are going to look at the words translated
wine, drink or drinking.
There are 637
references to wine, drink and drinking in the King James Version of the
Bible. Most people think in todayís terms, believing that when wine is
mentioned it refers to alcoholic wine. Actually, that is not necessarily
true. Thirteen different words are translated "wine" in the King James
Version of the Bible. The word wine has a wide range of meaning in the
Bible, covering everything from grape juice, to concentrated grape syrup
to alcoholic wine. To understand what the Bible has to say about drinking,
we need to look at several of these words.
- OLD TESTAMENT HEBREW WORDS FOR
-- It is a general term for grape beverages and includes all classes of
wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic; unfermented, in the process of
fermentation and fermented. (Proverbs 31:4) The context will show whether
it is alcoholic wine or not. Yayin, when used properly was
always diluted with water.
"shekar" -- It is the word
for strong drink, unmixed wine. The 1901 edition of THE JEWISH
ENCYCLOPEDIA says, "Yakin, wine, is to be distinguished from Shekar, or
strong drink. The former is diluted with water; the later is undiluted."
Shekar was not diluted with water." (see Numbers 28:7)
"Tirosh" -- This word
refers to fresh grape juice. It is referred to often as new wine or
sweet wine. (see Proverbs 3:10; Deuteronomy 7:13)
- NEW TESTAMENT GREEK WORDS FOR WINE
"oinos" is the counterpart
to the Old Testament word yayin. It is a general term for grape
beverages and includes all classes of wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic;
fermented or unfermented. The context has to be used to determine whether
the drink was intoxicating or not. (Luke 10:34; Ephesians 5:18).
Oinos, when used properly was always diluted with water.
"sikera" is the counterpart
to the Old Testament word shekar. It is the word for strong drink,
unmixed wine. (Luke 1:15)
"gleukos" is the
counterpart to the Old Testament word tirosh. Dr. Paul Dixon says
"It refers to fresh wine, a new wine" or freshly squeezed grape juice.
Now, why believers should abstain from drinking...
1. DRINKING LEADS TO DRUNKENNESS
In the April 24, 1965 issue of Christianity Today,
the article, on page 25 says, "People must be informed that the use of
alcohol is not unlike Russian roulette: every tenth person becomes
automatically hooked. the only solution is total abstinence." These
statistics are supported by the American Medical Association.
- DRUNKENNESS IS CONDEMNED IN
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!"
Proverbs 23:20-- "Be not
among winebibbers;" The word means to drink so much that you become tipsy
Romans 13:13 -- "Let us
walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting (drunken partying) and
drunkenness (general drunken-ness)..."
Galatians 5:19a & 21 --
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are
Ephesians 5:18 -- "And be
not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;"
- DRUNKARDS ARE AMONG THE LIST
OF THOSE WHO WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "Know
ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not
deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor
covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the
kingdom of God."
You canít get around it, and in fact, all godly men
agree that the Bible condemns drunkenness. Drunkenness is a serious
2. THE BIBLE CONDEMNS STRONG DRINK
Proverbs 20:1 "Wine is a
mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby
is not wise."
NOTE again, 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!"
Proverbs 23:29-31 -- "Who
hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who
hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? (30) They that tarry
long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.(a mixture of wine and
spices) (31) Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth
his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright."
- WHAT WAS "STRONG DRINK" IN
Distillation was not discovered until about 1500 A.D.
Strong drink and unmixed wine in Bible times was from 3% to 11% alcohol.
Dr. John MacArthur says "...since anybody in biblical times who drank
unmixed wine (9-11% alcohol) was definitely considered a barbarian, then
we donít even need to discuss whether a Christian should drink hard
liquor--that is apparent!"
- CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT DRINK
Since wine has 9 to 11% alcohol and one brand 20%
alcohol, you should not drink that. Brandy contains 15 to 20%
alcohol, so thatís out! Hard liquor has 40 to 50% alcohol (80 to 100
proof), and that is obviously excluded!
Someone will say, "since beer is only 4% alcohol, ITíS
OK FOR A BELIEVER TO DRINK BEER, RIGHT?" The answer is NO! Hereís why...
3. IN BIBLE TIMES WHAT CHRISTIANS
DRANK WS SUB-ALCOHOLIC, BASICALLY PURIFIED WATER
Remember the Hebrew word "yayin" and the
Greek word "oinos" that we looked at earlier? These were the
companion words for wine whether fermented or unfermented. In fact,
whether fermented or not, it was MIXED WITH WATER.
former Dean of Liberty Center for Christian Scholarship, Liberty
University, has written: "Many wine drinking Christians today mistakenly
assume that what the New Testament meant by wine is identical to wine used
today. This, however, is false. In fact, todayís wine is by Biblical
definition strong drink, and hence forbidden by the Bible. What the
Bible frequently meant by wine was basically purified water,"
purified by adding some alcoholic wine. The Holman Bible dictionary
says, wine was also used as a medicine and disinfectant.
Geisler goes on to say, "Therefore, Christians ought
not to drink wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages for they are
actually strong drink forbidden in Scripture. Even ancient pagans did
not drink what some Christians drink today."
All alcoholic beverages used in our culture fall under
the biblical classification of STRONG DRINK and are therefore
forbidden. The least ratio of water to wine mixture used in Bible times
was 3 parts water to 1 wine. That produced a sub-alcoholic drink
that was 2.5% to 2.75% alcohol. Normally, the ratio was even higher, up
to 20 to 1. Their is NO BIBLICAL SUPPORT FOR CHRISTIANS DRINKING THE
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES OF OUR DAY! What early believers drank was
sub-alcoholic by todayís standards. Pastors and deacons were cautioned to
steer around even the sub-alcoholic stuff (I Timothy 3:3 & 8).
The right choice is to abstain! What is your choice?
4. IT WILL CAUSE OTHERS TO STUMBLE
Romans 14:21 says "It is
good neither to eat flesh, nor to "to drink wine, nor anything
whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."
Innumerable Christians claim their "Christian Liberty"
when it comes to social drinking. In order to do that, they must turn
their backs on this passage of Scripture. "Sipping Saints" have given
multitudes of people an excuse to drink. More than once, I have heard a
believer say "there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. Pastor
so and so even says it is OK."
The problem is, drinking often sets off a chain reaction
of influences that are like tipping over the first domino. Drinking causes
some to stumble, others to be offended, and many to be weakened. Studies
support my statement.
According to a survey done by the Daily Journal
newspaper, October 26, 1988, one of the top five reasons teenagers
drink is because their parents drink. This has proven true time and
Let me take it one step further. Parents, you must
remember that whatever you do in moderation your
child will likely do in excess.
The Bible clearly defines drinking as an activity that
is to be foregone because it causes others to stumble and makes them weak
(fall into sin).
There is yet another reason believers should not
5. IT HARMS OUR BODIES WHICH ARE THE
I Corinthians 6:19-20
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is
in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought
with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit,
which are God's."
I Corinthians 3:16-17 "Know
ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth
in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for
the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
effect of alcohol on the brain is to dull the capacity for self-criticism
and the sense of caution. A lessening of care and anxiety follows this.
The checks on irresponsibility and unreasonable behavior are also
curtailed. Actions follow the impulses, which is dangerous. Reaction time
become slower; coordination is disturbed; drowsiness follows.
Proverbs 23:29-33 gives
clear testimony to the above description of alcohol on the brain. "Who
hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who
hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30 They that
tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31 Look
not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the
cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it
biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33 Thine eyes
shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things."
How many of you reading this report had high school or
college biology? I did, and it was great. There were several girls in my
high school biology class and I must say that I especially enjoyed the fit
some of girls had when we dissected frogs. But what was really disgusting,
even for me, was the day we had to walk up to the big barrel filled with
formaldehyde and reach in and pull out a cat to work on. That day there
were several of the girls that left class and as I recall a guy or two. To
this day, I remember the disgusting aroma of the formaldehyde used to
pickle frogs and cats.
So, what does that have to do with alcohol? Dr. Robert
Haas, M.D. will fill you in. He is a former president of the American
College of Sports Nutrition. He said, "Beer, wine and hard liquor form
toxic substances called aldehydes that can destroy the liver, kidney and
brain cells. Aldehydes serve a useful function in preserving or
Ďpicklingí dead animal tissue, but they serve no beneficial purpose in
people. Alcohol dehydrates (robs) your body of its precious water supply,
and along with the water go vital nutrients such as B Vitamins, calcium,
magnesium and potassium."
According to Good Housekeeping "Even in moderate amounts
alcohol has noticeable effects on the body. Because it enters the blood
stream it touches almost every organ, and its effects on feelings and
behavior are well known."
Alcohol has adverse affects on your esophagus, stomach &
intestines, bloodstream, pancreas, liver, heart, bladder, kidneys, glands
and your brain.
"The most drastic and noticed effect of alcohol is the
brain. It depresses brain centers, progressively produces uncoordination,
confusion, disorientation, stupor, anesthesia, coma, death. Alcohol kills
brain cells, and brain damage is permanent" (From-Office of Highway
Safety, Madison, WI)
As believers, our body belongs to the Lord. We should
not knowingly do anything that would harm it. Alcohol harms the body,
therefore we should not drink alcohol.
There is a further reason you should not drink...
6. ALCOHOL IS ADDICTIVE
I Corinthians 6:12 tells us
that we are not to "be brought under the power" or to be controlled by
anything. The only exception is the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
Alcohol is clearly a powerful substance (Proverbs
23:35). Because alcohol is addictive, we should choose not to drink
The final reason we will consider for not drinking
alcoholic beverages is...
7. BELIEVERS ARE KINGS AND PRIESTS
SEPARATED UNTO GOD
"The prophets, the kings, the Nazarites, the leaders --
those who were special in the plan of God were total abstainers" says Dr.
Paul Dixon, and he is correct. Kings and public officials were not to
drink (Proverbs 31:4-5). Further Dr. Dixon says "the priests of the Old
Testament were to abstain totally." The Aaronic priests were not to drink
because they ministered in the tabernacle before the Lord (Leviticus 10:9)
The application: Believers
are a "royal" or kingly priesthood (I Peter 2:9). We are the temple of God
(I Peter 2:5). We are Godís special children and should choose total
social drinking, cannot be legitimately supported by the Bible. Every
drink that is available today, even beer, falls into the category of
unmixed or strong drink. Clearly, Christians should not drink alcoholic
beverages. Drinking socially is a worldly activity and in light of the
fact that believers are neither to be conformed to the world
(Romans 12:2) nor love the world(I John 2:15) our choice should be
clear. We ARE to be SEPARATE FROM the world (II Corinthians 6:17)
and LIGHT TO the world (Ephesians 5:8; Phillipians 2:15). Perhaps
social drinking has enhanced the acceptability of Christians in society,
but it has not advanced the cause of Christ, and it does not glorify God!
Social drinking is simply a means which the devil uses to blunt our
testimony for Christ and squeeze us into his mold. There are at least
SEVEN GOOD REASONS A BELIEVER SHOULD NOT DRINK. One should be enough.
What are your thoughts on this article?