Christians and Strong Drink - Part 3
Prepared by Rev. Robert G. Campbell
The New Testament and Strong Drink
Jesus and Wine
There are a number of references in the Gospels concerning Jesus and wine. Let us consider them: -
There are those about putting new wine into old wineskins: Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22 and Luke 5:36-39.
The truth is that literally old wineskin may be breached by new wine, because of the carbon dioxide produced as a part of the process of
fermentation putting pressure on the weakened old wineskin. Is the focus of the parable though about the process of fermentation? Is
not this parable about what Christ brings being completely different from that offered by Judaism? It is not new wine in old wineskin.
There are those about Jesus eating and drinking: Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:33-34.
This accusation of Jesus being a glutton and drunkard were serious but unfounded. The Pharisees seemed to have had an issue with
those who did not see and do things their way, and were quick to unreasonably accuse them
There is one about the Miracle at Cana: John 2:3-10.
The argument here is mostly related to whether Jesus turned water into grape juice or wine? And whether or not verse 10 suggests that
the guests were already drunk when Jesus did so? Is what is called the best wine aged fermented wine or grape juice?
There are those about the last Supper: Matthew 26:27-29; Mark 14:23-25; Luke 23:17-20.
The debate is about whether Jesus meant unfermented grape juice by the fruit of the vine, or it is a term that may also be about that
which is fermented?
There are those about wine offered to Jesus at the crucifixion: Matthew 27:32-55; Mark 25:23.
It is said that he refused the mixture that was to be a painkiller, but drank the one that was meant to be thirst quencher.
Despite these references, whether or not Jesus teaches abstinence from wine (a fermented drink) remains debatable
The practice of the New Testament Church and wine
Let us consider the references to wine in Acts and the Epistles: -
The accusation of drunkenness at Pentecost: Acts 2:13. There is the question of why Peter would have taken the accusation seriousl
Abuse of wine at Corinth: 1 Corinthians 11:20-21. There is the question of the real concern being wrong attitude and not abuse of wine?
Wine in moderation permissible: 1 Timothy 5:23; 1 Timothy 3:2-3 and 8. There is always the question of how much is too much
The New Testament teaches temperance and moderation: Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:18; Philippians 4:5; Titus 1:7-8 and 2:2-3.
Temperance and moderation must be observed both in eating and drinking as excess may be unwise and dangerous in both cases. One may find it difficult to take a stance against the use of strong drink based on scripture, but that it must not be abused may be strongly defended.