A Little Wine (12/18)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from 1 Timothy 1-6.

Many professed Christians see no problem with the casual use of alcohol (often referred to as “social drinking”) provided that one does not become drunk. Yet the New Testament does not sanction this kind of drinking for the Christian. Paul’s instructions to Timothy about the use of wine are helpful in understanding this point.

No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23).

In this passage, Paul encouraged Timothy to drink wine. Does this mean that we as Christians may drink alcohol, provided that we do not become drunk? Certainly not! Notice the lessons we can learn from this verse:

  1. Drinking alcohol is not a standard practice for Christians. This is why Timothy had to be told to use it.
  2. The drinking here was not for the purpose of having a good time, unwinding after a long day, or even to quench thirst. The purpose for Paul prescribing Timothy to drink wine was for his stomach and his frequent ailments.
  3. Even though Paul’s instructions to Timothy authorize the medicinal use of wine, he also told Timothy to use little wine. It was not to be used in excess, even for the prescribed purpose.

Paul did not grant Timothy, or anyone else, permission to engage in what we call “social drinking.” He told Timothy that a little wine was allowable for medicinal purposes. When Peter condemned “drunkenness, carousing, [and] drinking parties” (1 Peter 4:3), he forbade Christians from the destructive and casual uses of alcohol. We must not conform to the world (Romans 12:2), but instead we must follow the instructions contained in God’s word and avoid the sins related to the use of alcohol.

Tomorrow’s reading: Titus 1-3

[I’m using the Chronological reading plan on the Bible Gateway website if you’d like to follow along, too.]

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