Archive for the ‘What the Bible says about Alcohol’ Category

I have been researching the Middle Eastern, Jewish practice for how they preserved their grapes, grape juice for several years. I have had an interest in this topic, primarily since I grew up in a home where beer and hard liquor was readily available in our home, at family gatherings, and many ceremonial celebrations.

Because of the easy accessibility to alcohol, I was getting drunk starting about the fifth or sixth grade at family and social functions. It was easy to sneak a beer or two more and drink down the alcoholic drink in a minute or two. I have spent a considerable amount of time reading books and even dissertation work by a Ph.D from Europe on what the Bible says about wine and alcohol and the preservation by the Jews.

If you do an internet search you will find that the ancient process for squeezing grapes or pressing grapes to get the juice is still practiced. The juice is called “must” or “dibbs”. The Jews would then cook down the juice grape much like maple syrup is cooked down into a syrup consistency.

Then the Jewish practice was to put the “new” or “young” wine into new or purified pots or what is referred to as “wine skins”. The Jews were continually experimenting how to purify pots that had contained juice previously due to old wine particles or traces of the old juice left in the reused pots. Their goal was to keep the “new” or “young” wine from fermenting in reused pots.

The reference that Jesus made about not putting “new wine” into old wine skins gives both a practical and spiritual application. For the practical application, acidity of the grape syrup would eventually cause the skin to become brittle and the skin would crack allowing air and light to cause the contents to ferment quicker and the old wine skin would expand and eventually bust spilling the contents on the ground; that is why Jesus recommended the use of new skins.

For the spiritual application, you don’t put a new system into an old system and expect it to fit. Jesus was introducing a new way to God. The former way was that Israel had to go through the Levitical priests and the chosen High priest to hear from God. Jesus, the final High Priest of God, was introducing the new way of any man, any individual to hear and know God by receiving God’s Spirit by faith in Jesus Christ alone. God was bringing to fulfillment the Law in Christ Jesus, Romans 10:4, “Christ is the end of the law, so that there may be righteousness for all who believe.”

I want to let God’s Word speak for itself on this topic and try to give clear explanation of the verses.

Text: Proverbs 20:1

Introduction: Jesus Christ said, “I am the Vine and My Father the Vine dresser.” John 15:1.  Jesus again said, “I am the Vine and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” John 16:5-6. How did Jesus describe Himself? The Vine, and not the Vat.

Ephesians 5:18, Contrast between allowing yourself to be controlled by intoxicating drink versus allowing yourself to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, you can’t do both.

1 Corinthians 5:11, “don’t associate with a drunkard”

1 Thess. 5:7, Qualifications of Elders/ deacons, “no one accused of dissipation. Root word “Sip” sipping from the cup. JOKE!

I Peter 4:3-4: V 3 “you once pursued this kind of lifestyle, but now since Jesus has saved you, the things you pursue are of God.  (No change, No Christ)

V 4, The friends you ran with, drinking buddies, are surprised that you have stopped excessive “dissipation” drinking with them. They might even make fun of you that you got religion. They might even take bets as to how long you will continue to live religious or be holier than thou!

God’s Word has much to say about consuming alcohol and the attitude to toward it, and the effects of it. Let’s dig deep to see what God’s Word has to say to us this morning.

I. Alcohol’s Deceptive Control Prov. 20:1; 23:19-21

A. What was King Solomon’s warning for his son?

  • Prov. 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink a brawler, who is intoxicated by it is not wise.”
  • It seems hard to believe that men of the greatest abilities, as well as the ignorant, should render themselves fools and madmen, merely for the taste or excitement produced by strong liquors” Matthew Henry
  • Ephesians 5:18 “Don’t even take the first drink which will lead to drunkenness or being under control of fermented drink, but instead keep allowing yourself to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.” (a literal translation from the Koione Greek, my work)


II. Prov.23:19-21 – (19) Listen, and be wise(21) or gluttonous eater

  1. (20) Do not be a heavy drinker
  • Don’t be out of control  Gal. 5:23 being under control is evidence of the fruit of the Spirit
  • Allow the Spirit to lead you!

III. Alcohol’s Damaging Force Prov. 23:29-30

  1. Vv 26-28-Solomon precedes drinking alcoholic drink with being with a harlot. They go hand in hand with each other.
  2. What questions does he ask in these verses? Who has:
  1. Woe? Sorrow? Contentions? Complaining?
  2. The writer tells us who this person is with all these problems in verse 30
  3. The person who lingers over wine or whatever alcoholic drink of your choice.
  • Mixed Wine: is old wine, more fermented higher alcohol content
  • Would not mix the grape syrup with correct water measurements, One part must or dibbs with two parts water of equal measurements

IV. Alcohol’s Addictive Control Prov. 23:31-35

  1. In these verses the writer explains why the person is having so many problems.
  • V31 Don’t look at it when it is RED. When it sparkles, with its “pearls” or bubbles or fermentation. Don’t let it entice to become its salve.
  • V 32 “a serpent” and a viper both the most venous snakes. Deadly
  • Most deadly snake in world is African Black Mamba, if bitten in artery or vein, venom will go to heart and kill in 2.5 minutes.
  • V33-35 “Hallucinate” strange things” Distorted vision and speech. Illustrate:  Pink Elephant
  • What did he say about a man lying down in the sea? Who in the right mind would do that?

V. Alcohol’s Confusing Force Prov. 31:4-5

  1. Drinking is not for kings. What does 1 Peter 2:9 say about those who are saved?
  2. “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION,”
  3. If a person drinks fermented drink they allow their cognitive decision making to be impaired. If you get drunk, you are living unholy in God’s eyes. Why? You are hindering the Holy Spirit in your life.

VI. Alcohol’s Medicinal Influence Prov. 31:6-7

  1. Who can have a strong drink?
  2. V 6 “Give strong drink to him who is perishing” Was strong drink the prescription drug of the Old Testament? YES
  3. Jesus was offered strong drink to ease his pain, but he refused it, because he wanted not to become insensible to the sorrow to pay for the sins of mankind. Mark 15:23 He wanted to be fully conscious of the penalty for sin.
  4. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul instructed Timothy to drink, to mix a little “grape syrup” must or dibbs to cure his stomach infirmity.
  5. Parasites, dysentery the acidity of the grape product would kill the parasites.
  6. “Give it to those in poverty”, used as a prescription for depression. Those who are out of work or severe poverty become depressed and today seek counseling and are sometimes given a sedative.