Author: Sarah Martin
If there is no question as to what the Bible says about wine and drunkenness, it leaves you to wonder just what sort of wine this is. There is no doubt that it is alcoholic, though it was probably much less so than a strong drink we know today.
However, the wine does appear to be of the highest vintage - bright in color and sparkling, with a smooth taste that made it easy to drink, similar to a Grenache (http://www.wineaccess.com/wine/grape/Grenache/) perhaps. Mixed drinks are also mentioned in the Bible, though more as the second type of drink - which causes excitement, but is between the wine that is good to drink and the wine that intoxicates.
According to Solomon
Solomon was conservative and experienced, as well as wise. So many people would expect him to say that moderation was fine - that you should rationally use the gifts that God has given. Instead, he passes on the idea of abstinence, telling those to turn away as though wine was deadly and poisonous.
The wine of Biblical times was certainly purer than those you find today, with beautiful color and taste to make it all the more tempting. And because it was so tempting, it made it all the more perilous. Many think that because Solomon set forth some of the best known guidelines for living, and that this guideline should also be followed.
There are other passages that speak similar words. King Lemuel was told that kings were not to drink wine. This was because wine could cloud their judgment and cause them to forget the law and make poor rulings. The idea that wine was not for kings was repeated several times. This idea can be applied to not only kings, but to anyone who has power and authority, and not for anyone that is connected in some way to the well being of others.
This is because if they allow alcohol, even if it is a fine Malbec, to cloud their mind, then they will forget their duty. Nearly every person in the world has authority for someone, whether it is a friend, family member, neighbor, or someone with a job that offers them authority over more people.
Only those in poor health
The only use of alcohol that is recommended is to give it to those who are dying and who are "bitter in soul." This is a medicinal use of alcohol - to provide strength to a dying person while waiting for help to arrive, or to dull the pain for surgery or other medical procedure when no other pain reliever is present, or as a way to help alleviate some deadly fear. Therefore, it seems totally clear when alcohol can and cannot be used according to the Bible.
With the Bible being as clear as it is, there seems to be no room for negotiating. It surely speaks to abstinence, total abstinence, except in the rare cases of medical necessity. If Solomon spoke to abstinence, and King Lemuel told that it was not for kings, how can the use of alcohol today be justified?
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA. She specializes in food, wine, and it's influence on religion. For a great selection of wine varietals such as Grenache and Malbec, please visit http://www.wineaccess.com/.