IT’S TOUGH TO ARGUE from the Bible that Christians shouldn’t drink alcohol, many insist.
After all, Jesus’ first miracle on record was to whip up enough wine to get a thousand people too drunk to drive a donkey cart—at least by today’s measure of blood alcohol. He turned no less than 120 gallons (454 liters) of water into wine at a wedding celebration in the village of Cana (John 2).
Some argue it was grape juice.
They should visit Israel in August and September, when grapes are harvested. It’s hot. Grapes start to ferment right away.
- “The Son of Man appeared—He didn’t fast, as John [the Baptist] had, but ate with sinners and drank wine. And the people said, ‘This man is a glutton! He’s a drunk!” (Matthew 11:19, The Voice).
- “He [Jesus] took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it” (Mark 14:23). This was at the Last Supper, in the springtime—six months or more after the grape harvest.
Paul told Timothy to drink
- “Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often” (1 Timothy 5:23).
Kids drank wine
Wine was the preferred drink during Roman times, served at nearly every meal.
Even children drank at least a watered-down version. Wine, many speculate, was safer than some of the water. Alcohol killed bacteria and parasites in the water.
Why some Christians today don’t drink
In some local churches, all it takes is a strong-willed preacher telling his flock that if they drink, they’ll burn in hell. Some would call that brainwashing by intimidation.
But many Christians have what they consider solid, well-reasoned arguments against drinking.
Family addicts. Some Christians avoid alcohol because they have alcoholics in their family, they’ve seen the damage it caused, and they fear they might have a genetic predisposition toward alcoholism.
Health risks. There are health risks to drinking wine, perhaps outweighing the benefits, some researchers say.
Benefits of a glass of red wine every day or two: lowers bad cholesterol, prevents heart damage, reduces risk of blood clots and strokes.
Risks: high blood pressure, diseased livers, injury caused by drowsiness.
The Mayo Clinic reports that grape juice produces the same affects as wine, without the risks. For those who choose wine, Mayo recommends no more than one glass a day for women and two for men.
Drunk drivers. Most people who drink and drive drunk genuinely believe they’re driving safely. Christians don’t want to be counted among those believers.
Excerpt from Stephen M. Miller’s Bible Snapshots.