"Didn't Paul tell Timothy To Drink Wine?" -- Part 4 of 4
By Pastor Myckal Morehouse
For the last 3 weeks we've been looking together at what the Bible has to says warning Christians against drinking alcohol, and by now we should have the issue settled, but there is one final argument that some use to excuse drinking alcohol as a Christian. Some will say, "I can drink it, because Paul recommended it to Timothy for his stomach troubles." Let's look at the verse together once again.
[1Ti 5:23 KJV] 23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
Now here is the question -- do most people drink wine to cure an illness or do most drink wine for pleasure? If the apostle Paul was recommending alcoholic wine to treat an illness, then it would be the only exception in the Bible to drinking alcohol. The Bible never endorses drinking alcohol recreationally, and Paul himself gives strong counsel warning Christians against drunkenness.
But we must ask another question about this verse since we have learned together that not all wine mentioned in the Bible was alcoholic. Which type of wine did Paul recommend to Timothy? Was it fresh grape juice, or was it alcohol? Additionally, why did he tell Timothy not to drink water? I thought the water was good for you!
This question becomes clear when we consider that most of the New Testament world had to battle contaminated water, such as many in third-world countries must also battle. Even a well could be contaminated with bacteria or other contaminants that would cause terrible sickness for those who drank from it. Since water filtration had not been invented yet, the only safe drink was fresh-pressed juices -- and in the land of Israel, the most prevalent juice was grape juice. It is most likely that the apostle Paul, who condemns drunkenness, would never have recommended an alcoholic beverage to Timothy, but instead counseled him to avoid water and drink just grape juice in order to recover from the likely contaminated sources he was drinking from.
When we read and understand Paul's counsel to Timothy as referring to pure grape juice and not alcohol, we do not have to ignore any portion of the Bible. We find together that the Bible is harmonious in its teachings from Genesis to Revelation. Praise God for His health message -- and perhaps we too should take Paul's counsel and only drink the beverage God has made -- the juice that is fresh from the vine!