The Appearance of Evil

Recently I have been asked about my beliefs on alcohol and whether it is OK for Christians to drink. Of course this is a topic that can be quite volatile and frequently draws disparate views by people who would normally agree about nearly everything else. The question also encompasses the idea of whether or not Christians should even go into a bar, drinking or not...

There are a lot of layers to this, there are many ramifications and there is much at stake. In a nutshell, I would say that the answer is, "Yes and No". I'll explain more in a moment but I want to say that, in my opinion, you cannot make a blanket argument for or against alcohol consumption based on Scripture. The Bible simply doesn't clearly say one way or the other. We can only make our decisions based on various principles that may apply to our situation. I believe that where the Scripture is vague, we are expected to apply the principles that are found in it combined with the wisdom that God gave us, together with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to come to a decision for our lives. Whatever is not denied outright is conditionally allowed. Some would say that whatever isn't specifically allowed is forbidden: Where Scripture is unclear, we should assume prohibition. That is a big topic that I might tackle later, but personally, I would rather (within reasonable limits) err on the side of freedom than on the side of preclusion. Jesus, ironically, seemed to be much more forgiving of people who were a little "too free" than He did for those who were too restrictive.

The strongest argument that people give me regarding alcohol is from 1 Thessalonians 5:22. It is widely remembered from the King James Version as "abstain from all appearance of evil". That is a compelling command. What does it mean? Is it really what Scripture demands?

Here is the verse in the original:

It is the third word there that is the tricky one. Transliterating english for greek we get "eidous".

Now eidous in the original Greek has three basic interrelated meanings.

  1. The shape, form, or outward appearance of some external thing
  2. A type, kind, or variety of some specific thing
  3. Sight, or the act of seeing

We see the root in the English word "kaleidoscope" which literally means "beautiful shape".

It is important to understand that anytime you translate from one language to another, subtleties and nuances of words can become very significant. This is even more pronounced when the translation involves languages with entirely different family groups. The more unrelated the languages, the less likely that there is a direct correlation between any two words. Greek and English are good examples. This is why it is essential that translators consider the connotations and context as well as compare the words with similar usage in other contemporary literature. In the case of the Bible, we are also needing to take into account the changes in word meanings that can occur over hundreds and thousands of years.

Taking all of this into account, it can be a rather daunting task to translate the New Testament into English. It's a bit ironic that when we Americans encounter language or wording that doesn't make sense to us, we say that it is "all Greek to me"!

Anyway, "eidous" is found in the New Testament a total of 5 times. (The other four appearances are: Luke 3:22, Luke 9:29, John 5:37, 2 Corinthians 5:7.)

Based on the context of the passage, "appearance" simply doesn't seem to be the best translation for "eidous". It is entirely possible that the word had a different connotation from 1611 through 1769, but what the word implies today makes it inadequate and misleading for use in this verse in modern English.

To "abstain from all appearance of evil" in today's language implies that if it even "seems" or "looks like" or "resembles" evil, we must avoid it. That is not what the original passage is saying. Paul is dealing with very concrete expressions of good and evil. He is demanding that the Thessalonians avoid that which is "clearly" evil, not that which just "seems" to be evil. Earlier in the letter, Paul says to "abstain from fornication" which is a concrete expression of evil and he uses the same word translated as "abstain" in both passages. Paul is comparing and contrasting very clear examples of good and evil actions in his attempt to call the Thessalonians to a life of holiness. He is not treating good or evil as abstract ideas. He is facing the realities of life in community and calling the Thessalonians to live a life that reflects the good and the holy.

Besides the context of Paul's writing, the other problem that arises with this translation of "eidous" is that it is jarringly antithetical to much of Christ's life and work. Jesus' harshest words were always for the Pharisees and religious leaders who had put up boundaries and built up legalistic practices in the interest of avoiding the very appearance of evil. The idea of avoiding the "appearance of evil" only fuels discord and suspicion and judgementalism and does nothing to foster community, fellowship, and trust. Can we forget that those people that perfected the art of avoiding the appearance of evil were very accurate in pointing out that Jesus failed at avoiding that selfsame principle? This is the principle that says that evil equals guilt by association. Jesus hung out with the dregs, the tax collectors, the prostitutes. He spent time with a married woman at a well without a chaperone. This was tantamount to adultery by the standards of "appearance".

Finally, not only does the word "appearance" not work in this passage based on Paul's writing and Jesus' life, it also doesn't work simply because linguistically it implies things that the original word does not imply. In modern English, "appearance" in a sentence like this implies "semblance" and that is not what "eidous" implies in the original Greek. In other words, we are talking about a dog or a kind of dog but we are not talking about a cat that looks like a dog. This is a subtle but key difference. Welcome to the Greek language!

Fortunately most modern translations of the Bible recognise this difference and translate "eidous" as "form" which fits much better. Unfortunately we have to deal with 400 years of damage done by the KJV which has permeated the fabric of Christian culture and mindset.

Amazingly, this is not the only instance of a translational error affecting Church culture and our understanding of Scripture. In 1530, William Tyndale struggled with Leviticus 16:8 while working on his own translation of the Bible. He encountered an unfamiliar word 'azazel which is the personal name of a Canaanite demon. Being a word he didn't know, perhaps it was only natural for him to choose 'ez ozel as an alternative, given the context of the passage. His substitution, which literally means "the goat that departs", gave us the word "scapegoat". (Which is one powerful way to add a word to the English language!) The King James Version followed suit and used scapegoat as well which further propagated the damage. Interestingly, the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), the Vulgate (a Latin translation), and Coverdale's 1535 Bible all make the same mistake and use some variation on the goat theme. It wasn't until the modern translations that the original Azazel was reintroduced but by that time, hundreds of years of tradition had done its damage.

So now that we can recognise that 1 Thessalonians 5:22 should be read, "abstain from every form of evil", what does that mean in relation to the consumption of alcohol? Well, first of all we must establish whether God's Word categorically classifies drinking alcohol as evil. If it does, then we must abstain. If it doesn't, then we must consider the principle of the stumbling block.

First of all, what is alcohol? Well, alcohol, when referring to a drink, is simply something that contains ethanol (or ethyl alcohol) as the active ingredient. There is a larger definition in terms of the science of chemistry, but that doesn't really have any application here.

There are two theories about the origin of the word alcohol. Both suggest that it is derived from Arabic, the only question is which Arabic word is the true root. The two words "al-kuhul" and "al-ghawl" were likely mistransliterated in medieval times from writings of Islamic alchemists to give us our modern form of "alcohol". "ALKHL" or "al-kuhul" spcifically refers to very finely powdered antimony sulfide used as an antiseptic or an eyeliner. It is derived by distillation and the idea is that the word grew from meaning this one specific product to encompassing all distilled products and then referring only to ethanol. The second word, "ALGhWL" or "al-ghawl" is more likely the truer root. It is the root of "ALKHWL" which is the current Arabic word for alcohol and means "spirit" or "spiritual being". This makes perfect sense since English also uses the word "spirits" to refer to a group of alcoholic drinks. As a sidenote, "al-ghawl" is also the root of the word "ghoul" and where we get the name of a well known star, Algol.

There are two basic forms of creating alcoholic beverages: fermentation and distillation. Wines and beers come from fermentation while liquors and spirits are derived from distillation. Since the still was invented by Islamic alchemists in the 8th or 9th century after Christ, only fermented beverages were known in biblical times. Therefore, in dealing with the question of alcohol and the Christian, we will have to extrapolate the principles related to wine and apply them to the broader question since wine is the only alcoholic beverage mentioned in Scripture.

The word for wine in Hebrew is "yayin" and in Greek it is "oinos". Before we look at their appearances in Scripture, it is important to recognise that traditionally both words were used to refer to any drink made from the fruit of the vine - fermented or unfermented. This is also true of the Latin "vinum" and English "wine" even though our modern usage has largely lost that denotation. (Similarly, "meat" used to be a general word synonymous with "food". It wasn't until around 1300 that its meaning was narrowed to just animal flesh as food.) This fact complicates matters because we will have to figure out from context whether the word is referring to what we know as wine or whether it is merely talking about grape juice.

Fermented alcoholic drinks such as beers or wines contain a much lower alcoholic content than distilled drinks. It is likely, as well, that such drinks in biblical times generally contained less alcohol than even today. However, Scripture does specifically use a word other than that which we translate as wine. The Hebrew word "shekar" is translated as "strong drink" about 22 times in the Old Testament. It likely refers to alcoholic drinks made from the fermentation of non-grape items such as dates or other fruit. Those references combined with the 228 times that wine is mentioned should give us a good basis for making some sort of conclusion. Lets go over them...

  1. Genesis 9:21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.
    Here we see Noah drinking wine from the vineyard that he planted and getting drunk. Nowhere is he condemned for drinking the obviously alcoholic beverage - if only he had controlled himself and been a bit more moderate in his intake.
  2. Genesis 9:24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him,
    We are still dealing with the undeniable negative effects of drunkenness.
  3. Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)
    Here we have one of the most highly considered persons in all of Scripture providing wine although from the context it is difficult to say whether it is alcoholic or not. We will have to say that this is an undeniably positive use but at the same time classify it as inconclusive.
  4. Genesis 19:32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father."
    Here we have a case of two women getting their father drunk for the purpose of an incestual relationship. Obviously this is an abuse of alcohol but I think that it is significant that Lot, who God rescued from Sodom and Gomorrah because he was righteous, thought nothing of drinking alcohol. This was normal to him and it is the abuse that is condemned, not the use.
  5. Genesis 19:33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
    More of the same...
  6. Genesis 19:34 The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, "Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father."
    The story keeps getting better...
  7. Genesis 19:35 So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
    God may have considered Lot to be righteous, but he certainly doesn't seem to be the brightest guy on the planet. This story is obviously condemning the abuse of alcohol but I still believe that it can't be used as a blanket argument against any consumption of alcoholic beverages. We will have to look elsewhere.
  8. Genesis 27:25 Then he said, "Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son's game and bless you." So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank.
    Isaac drinks wine although we don't know whether it was alcoholic.
  9. Genesis 27:28 May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine.
    Isaac blesses Jacob with a reference to wine. Hmm... Well perhaps it was just grape juice.
  10. Genesis 27:37 Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?"
    Another reference to wine and the blessing...
  11. Genesis 49:11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
    Jacob passes the legacy down by blessing his sons with a reference to wine.
  12. Genesis 49:12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
    The rest of the blessing reference...
  13. Exodus 29:40 And with the first lamb a tenth seah of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering.
    Once again wine is used in a positive setting (God's directions for consecrating the priests) but we can't rule out that it may be a reference to grape juice rather than what we know as wine.
  14. Leviticus 10:9 "Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.
    Now this is very interesting. Here we have a situation where God is establishing parameters of holiness for the priests. He is specifically banning alcohol. In the next verse God delineates between the holy and the common, the clean and the unclean. I find this interesting in light of the New Testament where God tears down those walls and through redemption makes the unclean, clean. There is now no longer a distinction. Anyway, this command is for the old Levitic priesthood which has been abolished as we can see in Hebrews.
  15. Leviticus 23:13 And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to the Lord with a pleasing aroma, and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin.
    Another positive use of wine although perhaps a reference to grape juice.
  16. Numbers 6:3 he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried.
    Here we have God establishing the Nazarite vow (Nazarite means "separated") for those people who are to be specially set apart in dedication to God. Samson was a Nazarite. There is now no need for this vow as we all as Christians are consecrated and set apart. What is interesting to me is that God specifically lists the avoidance of wine and alcohol and any other product of the grapevine. The implication is that for the average person, alcohol was OK. If it was banned for everybody, there would be no point in saying that it was banned for Nazarites. You cannot use this vow as an argument for abstaining from alcohol today unless you use the entire vow as well. That means every form of grape product. That means never cutting your hair. That means never going near a dead body. The idea is ridiculous.
  17. Numbers 6:20 and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. They are a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed. And after that the Nazirite may drink wine.
    Here we have the conclusion of the vow stipulations. If there is any application of the Nazarite order to us today it is with this statement. Here the Nazarite is consecrated and it is the one time that he can drink wine. We as Christians, as people with Christ dwelling within us, are consecrated and holy. If the analogy is applicable at all it is to establish that it is now OK for us to drink wine...
  18. Numbers 15:5 and you shall offer with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, a quarter of a hin of wine for the drink offering for each lamb.
    More use of wine in the sacrificial process...
  19. Numbers 15:7 And for the drink offering you shall offer a third of a hin of wine, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
    And yet another reference to wine related to sacrifice...
  20. Numbers 15:10 And you shall offer for the drink offering half a hin of wine, as a food offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
    And another reference...
  21. Numbers 18:12 All the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the firstfruits of what they give to the Lord, I give to you.
    God tells the Levites that the best of the land is theirs - including wine... But maybe it just means grape juice...
  22. Numbers 28:7 Its drink offering shall be a quarter of a hin for each lamb. In the Holy Place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the Lord.
    Here is a specific reference to alcohol used as an offering in the Holy Place. If alcohol was inherently representative of evil, it would be inappropriate here... Clearly it is not.
  23. Numbers 28:14 Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, a third of a hin for a ram, and a quarter of a hin for a lamb. This is the burnt offering of each month throughout the months of the year.
    Yet another reference to wine in the sacrificial process...
  24. Deuteronomy 7:13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.
    Here we have a blessing that includes wine as a positive thing - perhaps it just means grape juice...
  25. Deuteronomy 11:14 he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil.
    Another reference to the people producing wine or grape juice...
  26. Deuteronomy 12:17 You may not eat within your towns the tithe of your grain or of your wine or of your oil, or the firstborn of your herd or of your flock, or any of your vow offerings that you vow, or your freewill offerings or the contribution that you present,
    Here we have God giving the people stipulations on the sacrificial offering process. Wine is mentioned.
  27. Deuteronomy 14:23 And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.
    More of the same...
  28. Deuteronomy 14:26 and spend the money for whatever you desire - oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.
    Here we specifically have God tell the people that it is OK for them to consume alcoholic beverages.
  29. Deuteronomy 16:13 "You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress.
    Another reference to wine or grape juice...
  30. Deuteronomy 18:4 The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.
    More references to wine or grape juice in relation to the Levites...
  31. Deuteronomy 28:39 You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall eat them.
    Here the product of the vine is named as an object of a curse if the people turn away from God.
  32. Deuteronomy 28:51 It shall eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; it also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish.
    More of the same...
  33. Deuteronomy 29:6 You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.
    Here we have God renewing His covenant with Israel and pointing out to them that during the time that they wandered through the wilderness they didn't drink any alcoholic beverages. (Because God provided manna and water...)The implication is that this is a special case and now that they are about to enter the Promised Land, they will once again be able to eat bread and drink alcohol.
  34. Deuteronomy 32:33 their wine is the poison of serpents and the cruel venom of asps.
    Here we have Moses warning the people of the consequences if they turn away from God. He is speaking from God's perspective.
  35. Deuteronomy 32:38 who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you; let them be your protection!
    More of the same speach...
  36. Deuteronomy 33:28 So Israel lived in safety, Jacob lived alone, in a land of grain and wine, whose heavens drop down dew.
    And this is Moses final blessing on the people before he died...
  37. Joshua 9:4 they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended,
    This is a neutral reference to wineskins.
  38. Joshua 9:13 These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey."
    More of the same...
  39. Judges 9:13 But the vine said to them, 'Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?'
    Here is an interesting little parable that Jotham tells the people to prove a point. It is telling that wine is described as something that cheers God and men which is a phrase that would tend to imply the alcoholic rather than the nonalcoholic. This passage also speaks to how pervasive wine was in this culture.
  40. Judges 13:4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean,
    This is a reference to the Nazarite vow as it applies to Samson. Actually it is referring to his mother but her abstaining is for the sake of her son's future role as a Nazarite.
  41. Judges 13:7 but he said to me, 'Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'"
    More of the same...
  42. Judges 13:14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe."
    More of the same repeated...
  43. Judges 19:19 We have straw and feed for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me and your female servant and the young man with your servants. There is no lack of anything."
    This is a passage from a horrible story that illustrates the depths that to which Israel had sunk. However, the reference to wine is considered normal and is unrelated to the evil that occurs.
  44. Ruth 2:14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine." So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.
    Wine is treated as a natural part of the meal - but perhaps it was just grape juice.
  45. 1 Samuel 1:14 And Eli said to her, "How long will you go on being drunk? Put away your wine from you."
    Here Eli falsely accuses Hannah of drunkenness. It is important to recognise that drunkenness is reproached - not wine itself.
  46. 1 Samuel 1:15 But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.
    This is Hannah's defense.
  47. 1 Samuel 1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young.
    Wine (or perhaps grape juice) is used as part of an offering.
  48. 1 Samuel 10:3 Then you shall go on from there further and come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine.
    A reference to wine which is treated as a normal thing to carry (part of an offering). As a sidenote, the man carrying the skin of wine lucked out. Think of the poor man having to carry three goats!
  49. 1 Samuel 16:20 And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul.
    A skin of wine is treated as a normal thing to send to Saul...
  50. 1 Samuel 25:18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys.
    Wine is included in Abigail's gift to David...
  51. 1 Samuel 25:37 In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.
    This passage would seem to imply that the wine Abigail gave to David was alcoholic since it was probably the same kind that made Nabal drunk. This can't be used as an argument against alcohol because Nabal was sober when his wife told him the news. His catatonic state was unrelated to alcohol - as was his death later.
  52. 2 Samuel 6:19 and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house.
    I only include this verse because the King James Version renders "a cake of raisins" as "a flagon of wine" for some reason.
  53. 2 Samuel 13:28 Then Absalom commanded his servants, "Mark when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon,' then kill him. Do not fear; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant."
    This passage is neither for nor against the idea of drinking. At best it is a round-about warning against drunkenness but says nothing against alcohol per se...
  54. 2 Samuel 16:1 When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, bearing two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of summer fruits, and a skin of wine.
    Wine is treated as a normal thing to be carrying - but perhaps it is just grape juice.
  55. 2 Samuel 16:2 And the king said to Ziba, "Why have you brought these?" Ziba answered, "The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who faint in the wilderness to drink."
    More of the same situation...
  56. 2 Kings 18:32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us.
    Here Rabshakeh taunts the Israelites and mentions wine as an incentive.
  57. 1 Chronicles 9:29 Others of them were appointed over the furniture and over all the holy utensils, also over the fine flour, the wine, the oil, the incense, and the spices.
    Here we read about the distribution of duties between various priests - including taking care of the wine in the house of God. Perhaps we are only talking about grape juice but based on earlier passages, alcohol was used as well.
  58. 1 Chronicles 12:40 And also their relatives, from as far as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, came bringing food on donkeys and on camels and on mules and on oxen, abundant provisions of flour, cakes of figs, clusters of raisins, and wine and oil, oxen and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.
    Here is another case of wine (or grape juice) listed as a natural part of everyday life in the Bible.
  59. 1 Chronicles 16:3 and distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins.
    Once again the King James Version lists this as "a flagon of wine" and so I include here.
  60. 1 Chronicles 27:27 and over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite; and over the produce of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite.
    King David had vineyards and wine cellars... This is treated as normal...
  61. 2 Chronicles 2:10 I will give for your servants, the woodsmen who cut timber, 20,000 cors of crushed wheat, 20,000 cors of barley, 20,000 baths of wine, and 20,000 baths of oil."
    Solomon is planning on building the Temple and this is how he is going to pay some of the workers.
  62. 2 Chronicles 2:15 Now therefore the wheat and barley, oil and wine, of which my lord has spoken, let him send to his servants.
    This is the response of Hiram, the king of Tyre.
  63. 2 Chronicles 11:11 He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine.
    Rehoboam fortifies cities and provisions them with wine (or grape juice) among other things.
  64. 2 Chronicles 31:5 As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.
    Wine is treated as a normal part of an offering although it may be just grape juice.
  65. 2 Chronicles 32:28 storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds.
    Wine (or grape juice) is listed as a key representation of Hezekiah's wealth.
  66. Ezra 6:9 And whatever is needed - bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require - let that be given to them day by day without fail,
    Darius makes a decree establishing that priests in Jerusalem are to be provided with whatever they require.
  67. Ezra 7:22 up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
    Artaxerxes, king of Persia, essentially writes Ezra a blank check to provision the priesthood.
  68. Nehemiah 2:1 In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
    Nehemiah was the cupbearer to Artaxerxes. He was a professional wine taster. I suspect that he didn't limit himself to grape juice.
  69. Nehemiah 5:11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them."
    Vineyards and wine are part of the culture and their use is considered normal.
  70. Nehemiah 5:15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.
    The King James Version reflects some manuscripts by including the phrase "and had taken of them bread and wine" with the silver.
  71. Nehemiah 5:18 Now what was prepared at my expense for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people.
    Again we see the use of wine as integral to the culture.
  72. Nehemiah 10:37 and to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring to the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor.
    More of the same...
  73. Nehemiah 10:39 For the people of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the contribution of grain, wine, and oil to the chambers, where the vessels of the sanctuary are, as well as the priests who minister, and the gatekeepers and the singers. We will not neglect the house of our God."
    More of the same...
  74. Nehemiah 13:5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.
    Still more of the same...
  75. Nehemiah 13:12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses.
    More of the same...
  76. Nehemiah 13:15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food.
    Here the Israelites are rebuked, not for making wine, but for making it on the Sabbath.
  77. Esther 1:7 Drinks were served in golden vessels, vessels of different kinds, and the royal wine was lavished according to the bounty of the king.
    Wine is served and I seriously doubt that it was just grape juice.
  78. Esther 1:8 And drinking was according to this edict: "There is no compulsion." For the king had given orders to all the staff of his palace to do as each man desired.
    I include this passage because the New International Version describes the staff as "wine stewards".
  79. Esther 1:10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus,
    Here we have pretty clear support for the idea that the wine was alcoholic. At the most, we could use this passage as an argument against abuse but not against alcohol per se.
  80. Esther 5:6 And as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, "What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled."
    Again, this is likely alcohol being consumed.
  81. Esther 7:2 And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, "What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled."
    More of the same scenario...
  82. Esther 7:7 And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king.
    More of the same...
  83. Esther 7:8 And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. And the king said, "Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?" As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman's face.
    And more of the same...
  84. Job 1:13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,
    Based on the fact that in verse 4 we learn that Job's sons and daughters would get together for birthday celebrations, it is likely that this is one of those times and it is also likely therefore that this is a party and that they are drinking wine - not just grape juice.
  85. Job 1:18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,
    A description of the previous scenario...
  86. Job 32:19 Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent; like new wineskins ready to burst.
    Another example of how pervasive wine is to the culture that it would be used as a simile in a person's monologue...
  87. Psalm 4:7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
    Wine might not compare to the joy of the Lord, but it isn't condemned. A really good apple pie doesn't compare either but I have never heard anyone say that consuming one was evil.
  88. Psalm 60:3 You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger.
    Here we see wine used as an expression of astonishment... A metaphor but not a condemnation - if anything this just goes to show that wine is well known in the culture - even as an alcoholic beverage.
  89. Psalm 75:8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.
    Once again wine is used as a metaphor...
  90. Psalm 78:65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine.
    Wine used as a metaphore again...
  91. Psalm 104:15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart.
    Wine is used here as an example of God's blessing...
  92. Proverbs 3:10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
    Here wine is again used as an example of God's blessing.
  93. Proverbs 4:17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
    Wine again used as a metaphor. If you use this verse to condemn wine, you have to use it to condemn bread as well.
  94. Proverbs 9:2 She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.
    Here we see "Wisdom" using wine as part of a feast. Hmm, I thought wine was a tool of folly...
  95. Proverbs 9:5 "Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.
    More of the same passage...
  96. Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
    Didn't "Wisdom" just use wine in her feast? This doesn't make sense... Hmm, maybe wine is neither good nor evil and this is referring to the potential "abuse" of wine. Hyperbole is used often in Scripture. This reading easily harmonises with the rest of God's Word (which never contradicts itself).
  97. Proverbs 21:17 Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
    This is no more a condemnation of wine than it is a condemnation of oil or pleasure which are all gifts from God. It is a condemnation of the love of these things, the idolatry of these things.
  98. Proverbs 23:20 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
    Once again we have a condemnation of the abuse of wine and the abuse of food. We are to avoid the closeness of relationships with those people who are drunkards and gluttons where they could influence us. The word "among" refers to a certain type of intimacy where we become part of them in the sense of the "crowd mentality" where the normally upright individual loses himself to the personality of the "mob". We are not called to avoid them completely because that would not fit in with the rest of Scripture where we are called to reach out to such people. The difference is influencing them rather than them influencing us. And again, this is a condemnation of the abuse rather than the use.
  99. Proverbs 23:30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.
    Here once again is a reference to the abuse of wine. The reference to "mixed wine" reminds me of "Wisdom" mixing her wine... and yes, the phrase "mixed wine" refers to adding spices and drugs to the wine to make it stronger. As in all things, it can be used and abused - the choice is ours.
  100. Proverbs 23:31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.
    Here is a popular verse used to argue for abstainance but considering the larger context of Scripture, this really can't be used for anything more than a warning against abuse. Even a simple reading of the whole proverb makes it clear that the passage is dealing with abuse and drunkenness rather than claiming that wine is inherently evil.
  101. Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink,
    Here we have a passage where wine and alcohol are referred to in terms of their use as a drug. From the context it is clear that alcoholic consumption is not being condemned. It is simply saying "why take it to forget your sorrows if you have no sorrows to forget?" Nothing is said against drinking alcohol for pleasure or to enhance the experience of a meal or for some other purpose. It could be read as a warning to those in leadership to be aware of the dangers but that is as far as we can safely go before we begin inferring something that isn't there.
  102. Proverbs 31:6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress;
    Here is the more of the passage where it becomes clear that alcohol is only being spoken of in terms of its use as a narcotic or drug. It is not an all inclusive treatment.
  103. Ecclesiastes 2:3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine - my heart still guiding me with wisdom - and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.
    Solomon begins to talk about how he pursued every pleasure under the sun.
  104. Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.
    More of the same...
  105. Ecclesiastes 10:19 Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.And more of the same...
  106. Song of Songs 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine;
    Seems pretty self-explanatory... Of course the analogy only works if wine is a good thing rather than a bad thing. Oh yeah, maybe its talking about grape juice...
  107. Song of Songs 1:4 Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.
    More of the same comparison...
  108. Song of Songs 4:10 How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!
    More of the same...
  109. Song of Songs 5:1 I came to my garden, my sister, my bride, I gathered my myrrh with my spice, I ate my honeycomb with my honey, I drank my wine with my milk. Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!
    Wine (or grape juice) is treated as a normal thing to consume. Actually, given the reference to being drunk in the second part of the verse, I think it would be safe to assume that the "wine" mentioned here is in fact not merely grape juice.
  110. Song of Songs 7:2 Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies.
    While the writer's use of metaphoric imagery may be questionable, it is clear from this passage that he was familiar with wine as an alcoholic beverage and considered it to be a good thing rather than a negaive thing.
  111. Song of Songs 7:9 and your mouth like the best wine. It goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding over lips and teeth.
    I've always read this as a reference to French kissing in the Bible. Be that as it may, wine is again referred to in a positive light.
  112. Song of Songs 8:2 I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother - she who used to teach me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the juice of my pomegranate.
    Again, alcohol mentioned in a positive light.
  113. Isaiah 1:22 Your silver has become dross, your best wine mixed with water.I've heard it claimed by some prohibitionists that people in biblical times watered down their wine. Here we actually have a reference to that idea and it is considered to be a bad thing - a curse.
  114. Isaiah 5:10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah."
    Some translations write this as "yield but one bath of wine" and so I include it here. The passage is referring to the idea that a lack of wine produced from their vineyards is considered a curse.
  115. Isaiah 5:11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!
    Here we have a classic reference to alcohol addiction but wine is not condemned any more than the condemnation of harlotry implies that sex is bad.
  116. Isaiah 5:12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.
    More of the same... If you use this verse to condemn wine, you have to use it to condemn harps as well. It is the rejection of God that is the issue here.
  117. Isaiah 5:22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
    Ah, a classic case of sarcasm in the Bible... Do I really need to write commentary on this passage? We all have seen men like this. (I think they are called "frat boys".) It isn't the alcohol that is the problem, it is the lifestyle.
  118. Isaiah 16:10 And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no treader treads out wine in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting.
    The lack of wine production is related to being cursed.
  119. Isaiah 22:13 and behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."
    Another reference to the rejection of God.
  120. Isaiah 24:7 The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh.
    The lack of wine is once again considered to be related to a curse.
  121. Isaiah 24:9 No more do they drink wine with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
    Again, we see that no alcohol equals a curse.
  122. Isaiah 24:11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; all joy has grown dark; the gladness of the earth is banished.
    More of the same... Over and over, alcohol is a euphemism in Scripture for gladness. Sometimes it is a good thing, sometimes it is a bad thing depending on the circumstances.
  123. Isaiah 25:6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
    God, Himself, serving alcohol at a feast... Aged wine is not grape juice.
  124. Isaiah 27:2 In that day, "A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
    The King James Version reads: "a vineyard of red wine".
  125. Isaiah 28:1 Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!
    The abuse of alcohol leads to dire results...
  126. Isaiah 28:7 These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.
    Alcoholism is used as a symbol of the depravity of the nation. Abuse of any good thing is a bad thing.
  127. Isaiah 29:9 Astonish yourselves and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink!
    The effects of drunkenness are used symbolically to express God's affect on those warring against Him.
  128. Isaiah 36:17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
    Another reference to wine as a good thing...
  129. Isaiah 49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
    Wine is used as a simile here...
  130. Isaiah 51:21 Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine:
    Another metaphoric use of wine...
  131. Isaiah 55:1 "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
    Wine (or perhaps grape juice) mentioned as a good thing to consume.
  132. Isaiah 56:12 "Come," they say, "let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure."
    A reference to the abuse of alcohol by Israel's leaders. This may be metaphoric or realistic or both but either way, it is referring to abuse.
  133. Isaiah 62:8 The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: "I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink your wine for which you have labored;
    Wine is mentioned in reference to God's curse being lifted.
  134. Isaiah 65:8 Thus says the Lord: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, 'Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,' so I will do for my servants' sake, and not destroy them all.
    God uses wine or grape juice in an analogy.
  135. Isaiah 65:11 But you who forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny,
    This is talking about the people forsaking God and makes a reference to wine that seems to draw a comparison with the use of wine in Temple offerings - only this is an idolatrous use - worshipping "Good Fortune" rather than God (and His blessings).
  136. Jeremiah 13:12 "You shall speak to them this word: 'Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, "Every jar shall be filled with wine."' And they will say to you, 'Do we not indeed know that every jar will be filled with wine?'
    God is here speaking of wine as indicative of how He will be dealing with Israel.
  137. Jeremiah 23:9 Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the Lord and because of his holy words.
    Wine used in a simile...
  138. Jeremiah 25:15 Thus the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: "Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.
    Another metaphoric use of wine...
  139. Jeremiah 31:12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more.
    Another case of wine included in a list representations of God's blessing.
  140. Jeremiah 35:2 "Go to the house of the Rechabites and speak with them and bring them to the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers; then offer them wine to drink."
    Wine treated as a normal thing to offer someone to drink.
  141. Jeremiah 35:5 Then I set before the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups, and I said to them, "Drink wine."
    Jeremiah here does what God commands.
  142. Jeremiah 35:6 But they answered, "We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, 'You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever.
    Here is the response to Jeremiah.
  143. Jeremiah 35:8 We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters,
    More of the response...
  144. Jeremiah 35:14 The command that Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept, and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father's command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me.
    Here is God's analysis of the situation. He is lifting up this family as righteous in their devotion and faithfulness despite the fact that Israel as a whole has rejected God. The vow of the family to avoid wine is due essentially to their state of grief over Israel's apostasy. It is understood that under normal circumstances they would have no problem drinking wine. Their vow also includes the rejection of houses so before anyone uses this passage as an argument against wine consumption, they better think about selling the house and living the rest of their days in a tent. You can't pick the part of the vow that you like and reject the part that you don't like. Or maybe this passage is a reflection of one family's stand on righteous in a particular time and a particular place and is not to be read as a blanket statement on wine consumption. Wine is so absolutely not the point here. Drink wine or don't drink it. It doesn't matter. The question is, "Are you following God or living in apostasy"...
  145. Jeremiah 40:10 As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah, to represent you before the Chaldeans who will come to us. But as for you, gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken."
    Here wine is included as a normal part of the culture.
  146. Jeremiah 40:12 then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.
    More of the same...
  147. Jeremiah 48:11 "Moab has been at ease from his youth and has settled on his dregs; he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile; so his taste remains in him, and his scent is not changed.
    The New International Version reads "like wine left on its dregs". Wine is used metaphorically which of course would be useless if it was not a culturally relevant analogy.
  148. Jeremiah 48:33 Gladness and joy have been taken away from the fruitful land of Moab; I have made the wine cease from the winepresses; no one treads them with shouts of joy; the shouting is not the shout of joy.
    Once again the absence of wine is seen as part of a curse.
  149. Jeremiah 51:7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord's hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad.
    Wine used metaphorically again...
  150. Lamentations 2:12 They cry to their mothers, "Where is bread and wine?" as they faint like a wounded man in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out on their mothers' bosom.
    Another reference to wine metaphorically...
  151. Ezekiel 27:18 Damascus did business with you for your abundant goods, because of your great wealth of every kind; wine of Helbon and wool of Sahar
    This is a lament over how far Tyre has fallen from greatness. Tyre was once known for its wine, apparently.
  152. Ezekiel 27:19 and casks of wine from Uzal they exchanged for your wares; wrought iron, cassia, and calamus were bartered for your merchandise.
    More of the same lament...
  153. Ezekiel 44:21 No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court.
    The implication is that it is OK for him to drink otherwise...
  154. Daniel 1:5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king.
    Wine was part of the culture.
  155. Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
    This is not condemning wine any more than it is condemning food. The problem is that it is the "king's" food and wine. It was problem ritually sacrificed to idols and it was considered unclean.
  156. Daniel 1:16 So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
    The rest of the story...
  157. Daniel 5:1 King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand.
    Wine as part of the culture...
  158. Daniel 5:2 Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.
    This is going to be a problem although wine doesn't have anything to do with it.
  159. Daniel 5:4 They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
    This is not a party I would want to be at... Again, though, wine isn't the problem - idolatry is.
  160. Daniel 5:23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.
    Daniel tells it how it is.
  161. Daniel 10:3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.
    Wine is included in a list of things fasted from. Of course if it was never consumed there would be no point in including it on the list. I have never eaten caviar therefore I can't say that I am going to fast from it.
  162. Hosea 2:8 And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.
    Wine is once again mentioned as integral to the culture.
  163. Hosea 2:9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness.
    And again...
  164. Hosea 2:22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel,
    And again...
  165. Hosea 3:1 And the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins."
    The King James Version reads "and love flagons of wine".
  166. Hosea 4:11 whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.
    Wine here is not being condemned, it is idolatry and spiritual adultery that is the problem. Wine is symbolic.
  167. Hosea 7:5 On the day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with mockers.
    Here the abuse of wine is presented as a symptom of the greater evil of idolatry.
  168. Hosea 7:14 They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me.
    More of the same...
  169. Hosea 9:2 Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them.
    Wine is integral to the culture.
  170. Hosea 9:4 They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the Lord, and their sacrifices shall not please him. It shall be like mourners' bread to them; all who eat of it shall be defiled; for their bread shall be for their hunger only; it shall not come to the house of the Lord.
    More of the same...
  171. Hosea 14:7 They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
    Wine is pervasive enough in the culture that Lebanon is famous for its production. Wine is mentioned here as a good thing - a metaphoric analogy of God's blessing.
  172. Joel 1:5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep, and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.
    Here the lack alcohol is considered to be a curse.
  173. Joel 1:10 The fields are destroyed, the ground mourns, because the grain is destroyed, the wine dries up, the oil languishes.
    More of the same...
  174. Joel 2:19 The Lord answered and said to his people, "Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.
    The presence of wine is a blessing.
  175. Joel 2:24 "The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
    More of the same...
  176. Joel 3:3 and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.
    Wine here is mentioned in regards to an analogy of how Israel has been treated.
  177. Joel 3:18 "And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim.
    Wine is included here in regards to a blessing.
  178. Amos 2:8 they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
    Here an abuse of wine is given as an example of Israel's apostasy.
  179. Amos 2:12 "But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, 'You shall not prophesy.'
    Here is another example.
  180. Amos 5:11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.
    The lack of wine is a curse.
  181. Amos 6:6 who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
    Here we see the condemnation of those who reject God and take pride in themselves. Wine consumption is not a sin any more than David sinned when he wrote the Psalms. The issue is with the heart.
  182. Amos 9:13 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord, "when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.
    Abundance of wine is a blessing.
  183. Amos 9:14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.
    More of the same idea...
  184. Micah 2:11 If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, "I will preach to you of wine and strong drink," he would be the preacher for this people!
    Here the abuse of wine is condemned. Don't turn wine and alcohol into an idolatry.
  185. Micah 6:15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
    The lack of wine is again seen as a part of a curse.
  186. Nahum 1:10 For they are like entangled thorns, like drunkards as they drink; they are consumed like stubble fully dried.
    The New International Version says "They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine". The abuse of alcohol is symbolic of a curse.
  187. Habakkuk 2:5 "Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples."
    Some manuscripts actually have this as "wealth is a traitor". Either way, I think it is clear that this a reference to abuse rather than use. Similarly, Paul says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Money, like wine is amoral and neither good nor evil. It is the abuse of it, the love of it, if you will, that is the problem. (Actually I would argue that money and wine are intrinsically good rather than merely being amoral. All of creation is "good" but all of it is subject to abuse under certain circumstances. Sodium for instance is created by God as necessary for life but at the same time it is one of the most dangerous and toxic substances in all of creation. It is inherently good and inherently hazardous. This is a mystery and a warning against the misuse of everything that God has given us.)
  188. Zephanaiah 1:12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, 'The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.'
    I include this verse because the phrase "are complacent" in the original Hebrew literally reads "are thickening on the dregs" which is a reference to wine. This use of idiom is yet another example of how integral wine was to the culture.
  189. Zephanaiah 1:13 Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them."
    Another example of the lack of wine being part of a curse...
  190. Haggai 1:11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors."
    More of the same...
  191. Haggai 2:12 'If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?'" The priests answered and said, "No."
    This is another example of wine mentioned as part of an illustration which again speaks to the pervasiveness of wine to the culture.
  192. Haggai 2:16 how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty.
    Again, the lack of wine is part of a curse.
  193. Zechariah 9:15 The Lord of hosts will protect them, and they shall devour, and tread down the sling stones, and they shall drink and roar as if drunk with wine, and be full like a bowl, drenched like the corners of the altar.
    Wine is used here once again as a metaphor for celebration and gladness and abundance.
  194. Zechariah 9:17 For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.
    More of the same...
  195. Zechariah 10:7 Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the Lord.
    More of the same...
  196. Matthew 9:17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved."
    Here is an example of Jesus using wine in an illustration. This is yet another example of how integrated wine was in the culture.
  197. Matthew 27:34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.
    This is probably wine derived vinegar but nonetheless gives more evidence of how pervasive wine was in the culture.
  198. Matthew 27:48And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.
    More of the same...
  199. Mark 2:22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins - and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins."
    Here is an example of Jesus using wine in an illustration. This is yet another example of how integrated wine was in the culture.
  200. Mark 15:23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
    This is probably wine derived vinegar but nonetheless gives more evidence of how pervasive wine was in the culture.
  201. Mark 15:36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down."
    More of the same...
  202. Luke 1:15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
    Here the angel announces the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah. He implies by this passage that John will be a Nazarite.
  203. Luke 5:37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.
    Here is an example of Jesus using wine in an illustration. This is yet another example of how integrated wine was in the culture.
  204. Luke 5:38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
    More of the same...
  205. Luke 5:39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, 'The old is good.'"
    More of the same... This verse implies an appreciation of wine over grape juice.
  206. Luke 7:33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.'
    Here is a reference to John's apparent status as a Nazarite. In the next verse, Jesus contrasts himself with John by saying that He both eats and drinks and the critics label Him a glutton and a drunkard. The implication here is that he drinks wine or there would be no basis for accusing Him of being a drunkard. (It is ridiculous to accuse a known Nazarite of being a drunkard.) Plus, although He doesn't specifically say "bread and wine", that is implied by the nature of the contrasting statements between Himself and John the Baptist.
  207. Luke 10:34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
    Another example of the integration of wine into the culture...
  208. Luke 23:36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine
    This is probably wine derived vinegar but nonetheless gives more evidence of how pervasive wine was in the culture.
  209. John 2:3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."
    Here is the famous wine at the wedding scene. Wine is a natural part of the culture.
  210. John 2:9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom
    More of the same...
  211. John 2:10 and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now."
    More of the same... I will look at this passage more in depth later.
  212. John 4:46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill.
    The water into wine miracle was pretty well known apparently.
  213. John 19:29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
    This is probably wine derived vinegar but nonetheless gives more evidence of how pervasive wine was in the culture.
  214. Acts 2:13 But others mocking said, "They are filled with new wine."
    The disciples are accused of being drunk. Here we have proof that the phrase "new wine" refers to alcohol.
  215. Romans 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
    This is absolutely not a condemnation of drinking wine. It is a warning about being aware of your weaker brothers and sisters in Christ and acting in a way that will not cause them to stumble. I will deal more with this passage later.
  216. Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
    This is the classic warning against drunkenness. It is a condemnation of the abuse of wine but does not say anything against wine itself.
  217. 1 Timothy 3:3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
    Another warning against the abuse of wine and those who abuse it.
  218. 1 Timothy 3:8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.
    More of the same... Again, the implication is "drinkers = good", "abusers = bad".
  219. 1 Timothy 5:23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
    Perhaps this only refers to grape juice. Nonetheless, it says nothing against wine.
  220. Titus 1:7 For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,
    Another warning against the abuse of wine...
  221. Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
    More of the same...
  222. 1 Peter 4:3 The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
    More of the same...
  223. Revelation 6:6 And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!"
    Wine is symbolic here...
  224. Revelation 14:8 Another angel, a second, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality."
    Another symbolic usage of wine...
  225. Revelation 14:10 he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb.
    More of the same...
  226. Revelation 16:19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.
    More of the same...
  227. Revelation 17:2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk."
    More of the same...
  228. Revelation 18:3 For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living."
    More of the same...
  229. Revelation 18:13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.
    Here we have wine included in a long list of materials equated with wealth.