“Minus any argumentation to the contrary or any quibbling by way of countering plain truth, the consuming of alcoholic beverages is one of the greatest, gravest evils of our era. It is a rampaging evil of iniquitous proportions. Its victims are now numbered among multiplied millions. More and more it is extended socializing grace and entertaining approval. To offer a person an alcoholic beverage upon entering one’s house or at a planned party is now considered by the masses to be ‘thoughtful hospitality’, More and more alcoholic consumption is being accepted as a way of life.” From: Social Drinking: Unjustified, Unsocial, Unwise, Unscriptural by Garland Elkins and Robert R. Taylor Jr. (Tract)
The words quoted above from these Gospel preachers are as true today as when they were penned in 1986. Many today accept social drinking of alcoholic beverages as a normal part of everyday life. Religious people, and even some in the Lord’s church, have accepted this idea and even joined in the practice. In this article, let us examine a few passages from the Bible regarding social drinking.
Many people see the word “wine” in the Bible and automatically associate the word with its modern usage denoting an alcoholic beverage. While wine is used specifically today, originally it was a generic term used to refer to either fermented or unfermented juice of the grape. The word “wine” is used in the Bible generically as well and the context must determine whether fermented or unfermented is being referred to. For example, Jeremiah 48:33, “And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.” Wine does not come from winepresses, so the “wine” referred to here is clearly unfermented (nonalcoholic).
Some would say “Drunkenness is what is condemned, not the moderate use of alcoholic beverages.” Notice a couple passages of Scripture:
- Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Most would agree this passage speaks of intoxicating beverages. Note: mocker…raging (a brawler – ASV) …unwise. Question: Where is reference made in this passage to excessive drinking? God’s indictment here is not on excessive drinking, but on the beverages itself. Regardless of the quantity used alcoholic wine is a “mocker”.
- 1 Peter 4:3-4, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” This “excess of riot” (flood of reprehensible behavior) of their past life included 1) “excess of wine” – drunkenness, 2) “revellings” – a nocturnal and riotous procession of half drunken and frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honour of Bacchus (Roman god of wine) or some other deity, and 3) “banquetings” – this is defined as “a drinking bout” or a drinking party, the same as what today is called “happy hour”. So, this verse refers to the sinful practices of drunkenness, being half drunk, as well as social drinking.
Clearly, social drinking is unjustified, unsocial, unwise, and unscriptural. Alcohol destroys internally, externally and eternally.
-Jerry D. Sturgill