Proverbs on Wine & Drinking – Selected Scriptures

Download MP3

(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)

(If you would like to download the PowerPoint presentation for this sermon, Click here)

(Greek words can be viewed with symbol font)

Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

January 13, 2013

Proverbs on Wine & Drinking

Selected Scriptures


This morning I want to address the subject of wine and drinking. Proverbs has two themes when it comes to the subject of wine. The first theme is found in the invitation of wisdom in Proverbs 9:1-5. “Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; She has also set her table; She has sent out her maidens, she calls From the tops of the heights of the city: “Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks understanding she says, “Come, eat of my food And drink of the wine I have mixed.” Wine is associated with blessing.

The second theme is found in Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” Wine is dangerous and getting drunk is foolish.

These same two themes are also found in the teachings in the rest of the Scriptures. The result has been a lot of controversy between those that emphasize one theme or the other. One extreme holds that Scripture is against the consumption of anything that contains alcohol (except a small amount for medicinal purposes because of Paul’s statement in 1 Timothy 5:23). The other extreme is licentious. They see no problem with anything alcoholic as long as you don’t become an alcoholic. Those in the middle are shot at by both sides as being either a some kind of legalist or a “moderationist.”

Before we start looking at what the Scriptures teach, I want to state up front that I am a teetotaler. I do not drink things that are alcoholic out of both personal preference and concern about my influence on others because I am a pastor. As a preference, I admit it is simply a matter of personal taste. I have not yet tasted anything with alcohol in it that was better than the non-alcoholic version. But to me, that just makes sense since alcohol is produced as the by-product of fermentation which is the process by which the single celled organism, yeast, feeds on sugar and yields alcohol as its waste. In other words, an alcoholic beverage began as something sweet when it was fresh, but it was allowed to begin to rot. Both my sense of taste and smell have a preference for what is fresh and sweet over what has started to rot. I also don’t care for the “bite” alcohol produces on the tongue. I don’t personally care for heavily carbonated beverages for the same reason. I also think that fresh grape juice tastes and smells better than wine. I am still not sure how people get beer past their nose in order to drink it – perhaps they hold their breath. But again, that is my preference of taste. There are certainly millions of people that disagree with me – but then I am sure I like things they do not – brussel sprouts, broccoli, peas, lima beans, coconut, mushrooms, venison, squirrel, etc.

As a matter of conviction, I want to be very careful about what I do since I am a pastor. There is a reason that Paul included a difference between the qualifications for an Elder and Deacon. The Elder is “not given to wine” and the Deacon is “not given to much wine” (1 Timothy 3:3 & 8). Deacons can have more wine than an Elder. Because I am a pastor, I know that my example will heavily influence others resulting in some justifying themselves by what I do and then do what is sin for them. Romans 14:22-23 states in a context that does include what you eat, “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” If I am seen drinking, others who do not have faith that it is acceptable before God to drink may do so because of my example. It is of greater concern to me not to be a stumbling block to a brother or sister than to partake of something that I am otherwise free before the Lord to do. The fact that my taste preferences do not include alcoholic beverages just makes that easier for me. (I am glad that I do not know anyone that thinks any consumption of chocolate is sinful).

Now that it is clear that I am a teetotaler by preference and conviction, let us examine what the Scriptures say about this issue.


The first thing you discover in doing a careful study of this issue is that there are a lot of Hebrew and Greek words that have to be defined. Let me quickly summarize the words that are relevant to this study (A printed copy of the extensive word study is in the back).

First are the words for wine – ??? / yayin in Hebrew and oinoV / oinos in Greek. Both refer to the same thing. ??? / yayin is “a naturally processed, fermented grape juice, in excess amounts can cause drunkenness” (DBL). OinoV / oinos is “a fermented beverage made from the juice of grapes—‘wine'” (LN). Wine contains alcohol. Louw-Nida notes, “Though some persons have argued that whenever mention is made of Jesus either making or drinking wine, one must assume that this was only unfermented grape juice, there is no real basis for such a conclusion. Only where oinoV neoV  ‘new wine’ is mentioned can one assume that this is unfermented grape juice or grape juice in the initial stages of fermentation.

The phrase “blood of grapes” could be the equivalent of grape juice or have some level of alcohol depending on the degree of fermentation. The Hebrew term ????? / tirosh means new or fresh wine. This would have a low alcohol content at the start since it was fresh, but the fermentation process would begin very rapidly in the warm climate of Judea. The Hebrew ??? / chemer refers to the bubbles produced in the process of fermentation, so this term and its cognates refer to grape juice that is in the process of becoming wine. It is a desirable drink (Deuteronomy 32:14), but it does have the ability to intoxicate (Daniel 5). If it still has a high sugar content (due to only being partially fermented), it could be referred to as ???? / asis, which is sweet wine. The Greek term for this is gleukoV / gleukos. This would not be as alcoholic as fully fermented wine, but it could intoxicate if enough were consumed (Acts 2:13; Isaiah 49:26). An aged wine is ??? / shemer, a Hebrew term that actually refers to the dregs or sediments that settle at the bottom of a wine container that has not been disturbed for a long time. This wine is fully fermented.

There is no evidence that the ancients distilled alcoholic beverages – hard liquors. Distillation does not seem to have developed until the late middle ages and then expanded during the Renaissance period. However, the ancients did have a reference to “strong drink” which
is sometimes improperly translated as liquor. In Greek this is sikera / sikera, an “intoxicating beverages made from grain” (LN), and in Hebrew it is ??? / shekar which is made from either grain or fruit such as pomegranates, dates and apples. The cognates of this Hebrew term refer to getting drunk or being a drunkard (??? / shakar & ??? / shikkor).

Let me also quickly note here some additional important facts I remember from my college agriculture classes which included viticulture. The alcohol content in something that ferments naturally is usually 4 – 12% . Some modern wines fermented under carefully controlled conditions can go as high as 20%. Distilled liquors are in a completely different category with common alcohol content of liquors and spirits of 35-65% and may go up to – 80% or more (70-180 proof). Do not make the mistake of thinking that what the Bible says about wine and “strong drink” – grain based fermented drinks – applies in the same way to liquors and spirits. More about that later.

The Bible also makes reference to “mixed wines” (Song of Solomon 7:2; Proverbs 9:2; Isaiah 65:11). These are probably references to either different wines being mixed together or spices added to enhance the flavor. We know that things such as vinegar (Matthew 27:34), Myrrh (Mark 15:23) or oil (Luke 10:34) could be mixed in for medicinal purposes. It was common for the Romans to mix their wine with water, but Isaiah 1:22 indicates that the Jews considered mixing water into the wine as a sign of economic trouble and God’s judgment. The wealthy could afford to drink more wine, but common people would normally drink water with wine reserved for special occasions and celebrations.

The process of making wine was simple enough. In Judah and Israel the grapes would ripen in August and September. These would be gathered and placed into wine presses in which they would be crushed. The juice would flow out a channel into a vat or collected into other containers for storage. The first portion to flow out was often called “new wine,” and it was superior to the wine pressed later with the grape skins and stems from the first pressing or what would remain in the press. Since yeast naturally spreads by wind, everything gets contaminated by it. It is part of the “bloom” on grapes. Fruit can begin fermenting even before its juices are pressed out. In a warm climate, the pressed out juice begin to ferment rapidly.

Some writers try to prove that the ancients had developed ways to stop or at least slow down the fermentation process. This is done so that they can argue that the Bible is against drinking any thing with alcohol in it except for medicinal purposes. However, even with such processes existing and used by some, it did not dominate the culture. The indication of archeology, the meanings of the various words used, and the descriptions in the Scriptures is that wine in its various forms was capable of making a person intoxicated. It would take less aged wine than new wine to make a person drunk, but all of it would have some content of alcohol. These facts are against those that argue that Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee was turning the water into grape juice instead of wine. The word used in John 2:9 is oinoV / oinos, the common word for wine, not namatoV / nomatos or aÍma / haima, the Greek words which could be used for juice, nor is it gleukoV / gleukos, which would be a sweet wine of low alcoholic content. In addition, John 2:10 indicates that the headwaiter expected the “good” wine to have some intoxicating effect since the “poorer” wine normally served later would then be more readily accepted.

Biblical Use of Wine

There are many positive references to wine in the Scriptures. I have already mentioned that is had medicinal uses. Paul recommended a little wine to Timothy for his stomach (1 Timothy 5:23) and it was used to dress wounds (Luke 10:34). Alcohol still does have many medicinal uses whether taken as an ingredient in a medicine, or in the form of an alcoholic beverage. In the Scriptures, wine is also used to represent both material and divine blessing, part of the hope for the Messianic age to come, and it is used in the worship of God. Let’s quickly look at some of these.

We will start with the idea of blessing found in Proverbs 3:5-10, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.” Economic prosperity begins by learning to trust and walk with the Lord. Here, that prosperity is represented in a bountiful harvest that fills up the barns and yields vats overflowing with new wine (????? / tirosh). This same idea is seen in other passages.

In Genesis 27:28, Isaac’s blessing on Jacob included “Now may God give you the dew of heaven, And the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine” (????? / tirosh). A similar blessing was given by Jacob to Judah in Genesis 49:11&12, “He ties his foal to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; He washes his garments in wine, And his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are dull from wine (??? / yayin), And his teeth white from milk.” This blessing was that Judah would have such an abundance that he not only had plenty of wine to consume, but could wash his cloths in it and not even be concerned about damaging the vines by tying his animals up to them.

A bountiful harvest including an abundance of new wine was part of God’s promise of reward to the nation of Israel if they would obey Him (Deuteronomy 7:13; 11:14). In the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, having plenty of wine (??? / chemer) to drink was part of God’s blessing on Jacob and his children (verse 14). The blessing of Moses in Deuteronomy 33 included that they would be in a land of grain and new wine (????? / tirosh) (vs. 28). Throughout Israel’s history, an abundance of wine (??? / yayin) indicated the Lord’s blessing of prosperity (1 Chronicles 9:29; 27:27; 2 Chronicles 23:28), and a lack of it was the Lord’s judgment (Deuteronomy 28:39; Lamentations 2:12; Micah 6:15).

These same images are used to describe the blessing in the future Messianic kingdom. Joel 2:19 speaks of the future restoration, “The Lord will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine (????? / tirosh) and oil, And you will be satisfied in full with them; And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations.” Amos 9:13-14 speak of a sustained abundance, “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine ( ???? / asis) And all the hills will be dissolved. “Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities an
d live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine
(??? / yayin), And make gardens and eat their fruit.” The abundance here is so great that they cannot even complete the harvest before they start plowing and planting for the next season.

Another indicator of God’s approval of the proper use of wine is its presence as a blessing in daily life and use in various celebrations. Psalm 104:14-15 speaks of God’s provision for man. “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine (??? / yayin) which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart.”

In Deuteronomy 12:15-18, the tithe of harvest including the grain, new wine, oil and animals was to be eaten in the Lord’ s presence in the place that He chose. Deuteronomy 14:23-26 adds a very interesting footnote. If the tithe had to be exchanged for money because of distance, the money was then to be brought to the place the Lord chose and there they were to “spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine (??? / yayin), or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.” Part of their worship of God included drinking wine (??? / yayin) or strong drink (??? / shekar) as they decided. The Feast of Booths was celebrated with what had been gathered from their threshing floor and wine vat ( ??? / Yeqeb)(Deuteronomy 15:12-14).

The worship of God also included offerings of wine and also strong drink. In Exodus 29:40 a libation of wine (??? / yayin) was included in the offerings to consecrate the altar. A similar offering including a libation of wine (??? / yayin) was to be made after Israel had entered the land and began to reap harvests within it (Leviticus 23:13,18). Numbers 15:5,7,10 gives the different amounts of wine (??? / yayin) to be used in the libation offerings. Numbers 28:7 includes pouring out a libation of strong drink (??? / shekar) to the Lord.

Jesus’ approval of the proper use of wine is seen in many passages. His miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding celebration in Cana of Galilee recorded in John 2 has already been mentioned. Matthew 11:18,19 records Jesus’ response to the accusations made against Him. “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Their charge was based on the fact that Jesus did come eating and drinking in contrast to John who abstained.

Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23 and Luke 22:20 all record that Jesus told His disciples at the Last Supper: “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” What is this “fruit of the vine.” From what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:19-34 correcting their improper practice concerning the Lord’s Supper, the drink was fermented because some were getting drunk on it. Historically, until 1869 when Dr. Thomas Welch invented a way to bottle grape juice without it fermenting, what has been served in Christian churches for communion has been wine. More importantly, Isaiah 25:6-9 gives a description of a banquet the Lord will give in that future kingdom, and what is served includes “aged wine” (??? / shemer). “And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, [And] refined, aged wine. 7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. 9 And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”

Finally, as pointed out at the beginning of the sermon, the positive view of wine (??? / yayin) is seen in its use in Proverbs 9:1-5 in the figurative call of wisdom to the naive to come and dine at her table and partake of the wine she has mixed.

Those who want to condemn all consumption of wine (fermented fruit juice) as a beverage are in conflict with what God’s Word says about the subject. Those that are believers will be surprised when it is served by the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom. However, in their defense, the Bible presents some good reasons for abstinence from wine whether on a temporary or permanent basis. The Bible also gives very strong warnings about the abuse of wine. These warnings are serious and need to be taken to heart otherwise you will prove yourself to be a fool. We will first look at the positive reasons for abstinence and then at the dangers of drinking.

The Value of Abstinence

Numbers 6 lists the vows taken by a Nazirite in dedicating himself to the Lord. Included in those vows was not only abstinence from wine, but from grapes and anything related to them. The Nazirite was not more holy because of his abstinence, but rather the abstinence was just one of many outward signs of what made him holy – a serious dedication to the Lord in all things. The Nazirite would deny himself what others could freely do in order to be more focused on serving the Lord. The principle here is the same as in any fast.

Leviticus 10:8-11 records that the priests were under a perpetual command to abstain from wine and strong drink when they were serving in the tent of meeting, or later in the Temple. It was to make a distinction between the holy and the profane and between what is clean and unclean. It may also have been to prevent them from the irreverence that lead to the deaths of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-7). The context suggests they may have been drunk. The priests could drink wine and strong drink at other times.

As already pointed out, the qualifications listed by Paul for an Elder and a Deacon in 1 Timothy 3 include restrictions on wine. Elders are not to be paroinoV / paroinos, one who is beside or alongside wine, “one who sits long at his wine” (Thayer). The term was also used for a person who habitually drinks too much (LN). Deacons are not to be given to much wine (mh oinw tollw prosecontaVò). The phrase is similar in meaning. Both can have wine, the Deacon more than the Elder, but neither are to have an addiction or quest for it. Wine is not to be important to them. Why is this important? Two reasons.

The first is what I mentioned earlier in explaining Romans 14. A church leader must be careful about his example lest someone use it to justify what would be sin for them to do. Voluntary abstinence is an aspect of loving others more than self.

The second reason is seen in the caution given to King Lemuel in Proverb
s 31:4-5, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, for they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.” This principle needs to be taken to heart by anyone in any position of authority, and even more so to those that profess to be followers of the Lord Jesus. This would apply not only to Elders in the church, but frankly, to fathers and mothers in their homes as they deal with one another and their children. This is just one of the many dangers of drinking and why there needs to be such caution.

Dangers of Drinking

The dangers of drinking begin with its very character as described by Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” The character of wine is shown it is personification as a mocker, a scoffer. This is someone who speaks without respect to others, makes fun of others, and is arrogant in the process for mockers are proud, haughty, recalcitrant, resistant to reproof, and so are eluded by wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 9:7,8; 13:1; 14:6; 21:24). Wine offers happiness, bliss and escape from trouble, but as anyone ever affected by an alcoholic knows, what it brings instead is increased trouble, profound sadness, and extreme misery. Wine is a mocker. Strong drink, beer, is a brawler. It is loud, noisy and tumultuous due to the unrest and commotion it brings. Those who are intoxicated, who stagger due to the influence of either, are lead astray. They are “not wise.” A litotes meaning – such a person is a fool. The other statements in Proverbs expand on these characteristics.

Proverbs 21:17 shows the mocking character of wine. “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.” Wine promises pleasure, but those who love it will instead find poverty and no pleasure. Proverbs 23:20-21 also warn about this result, “Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe one with rags.”

This mocking and brawling character is also seen in Proverbs 23:29-35 which also describes the person who is influenced by the alcohol, “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. “They struck me, but I did not become ill; They beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink.”

The wine looks inviting in the glass, but in the end it is a snake, a viper that poisons you and brings woe, sorrow, contention, complaining and injury from unknown causes. Why are they unknown? Because the person was too drunk to remember what happened whether it was staggering into something by accident or being beat up by someone else. The eyes can turn red for two reasons. Dilation of the blood vessels from the alcohol, or lack of sleep from staying up late to drink, but still having to get up in the morning to go to work. There is loss of control of the mind resulting in hallucinations and perversity. The sad part is the end of verse 35. Though drinking results in so much suffering, the person seeks another drink when they awake from being drunk.

These various verses demonstrate that indulgence in alcohol causes all sorts of fiscal, physical and relational problems: Declining finances even to the point of poverty; Injury from accidents and fights; health issues minor and major extending up to death from cirrhosis of the liver; declining mental health from the alcohol killing brain cells resulting in forgetfulness and decreased ability to reason; hallucinations; strained and broken relationships; and increased perversity and sin. The Bible is full of examples of people experiencing these kinds of problems because of drinking including Noah and Lot who did not intend to get drunk (Genesis 9; 19). Galatians 5:21 lists drunkenness as one of the deeds of the flesh along with carousing, immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, strife and more. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 includes drunkards along with fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, the covetous, revilers and swindlers as those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Most alcoholics don’t think they have a problem. It is only someone else with a more serious problem that is the true alcoholic. I will concede there are different levels of alcoholism. The most serious are those that are nearing the end of their life due to their addiction. Just below them are those who have serious health problems or have already lost their family, job or both because of drinking. Just below that are those who are developing health problems or have strained relationships or are missing work because they are drunk so often. Below that are those who are only drunk occasionally. Then there are those that rarely if ever get drunk to the point of stupor, but they need a drink in order to relax, unwind or go to sleep. You see, regardless of the level of alcoholism, all alcoholics have the same root problem. They want a drink to help them cope with life. An insight into this is given in the Proverbs 31:6-7.“Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more.” As already pointed out, drinking will not solve any earthly problem. It will only compound them by putting off dealing with them to another time. Only their death will put an end to their earthly troubles, but that is the beginning of their eternal ones.

Is there hope for such people? Yes, but it is not going to be from Alcoholics Anonymous. They can help a person stop drinking and remain dry, but their own philosophy is that an alcoholic is not cured, just sober no matter how many years it has been since the last drink was taken. Help is not going to come from the psychological community either. They treat alcoholism under the delusion that it is a disease. For that reason, even if there is success in getting a person to stop drinking, the other problems are still around and the real problem is not even addressed. That real problem is sin. The only true hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. After listing in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 many of the sins that will block a person from inheriting the kingdom of heaven including drunkenness, the apostle Paul then points out the solution to the problem. “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Only God through the work of Jesus Christ and the power of His Spirit can change a person internally so that they are no longer what they were. The drunk is not just sober, but converted to become a new creation in Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can take care of the condemnation of sin. Only the Holy Spirit can change the person internally and give them new desires.

As I pointed out in the sermon last week, it all comes down to what you desire. (See: Proverbs on Coveting) Is your desire to live for the glory of God as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ? Or are you still controlled by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life? Are you living with eternity in view, or just the present moment? Drinking does not solve any problems. It only puts off the old ones while creating new ones.


I do not know everyone here well, and I do not kno
w at all the many that will be reading or hearing this sermon on our website. I do know that there those present that do have some problems with alcohol to a greater or lesser degree. For that reason, I want to be both careful and forthright in concluding this sermon. I neither want to justify anyone in their sin nor call something sin that God does not call sin. I do want to echo the serious warnings the Bible gives.

If you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer and it has no control over you, then praise the Lord and give thanks as 1 Timothy 4:1-5 directs you to do. That is the teaching of the Scriptures. Just be mindful and cautious of your possible influence on others by your example.

If you have developed a taste for hard liquor, then understand first that the positive things said in the Scriptures about wine and strong drink (beer) do not apply, for drinks with such high alcohol content are not mentioned. Second, take the Biblical warnings about wine and multiply them for it only takes a small amount of liquor or spirits to bring you under their influence. You are playing with fire and you will get burned. If it truly is just the flavors you desire, then use them in cooking where the alcohol is cooked out or warm them to 173oF and boil off the alcohol. If it is the feeling the alcohol gives you, then you are already heading in the direction of it becoming a controlling influence upon you. You are in very dangerous territory.

If you get drunk, whether frequently or rarely, then you have a serious problem that you need to admit. Drunkenness is sin. If you manage to keep from getting drunk, but desire the feeling a drink gives you, then again, you are heading in the wrong direction of it becoming a controlling influence on you. If you need a drink to relax or go to sleep, then it already is a controlling influence on you.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” Even if you have freedom to drink, do not let it become your master. Paul said in Ephesians 5:16, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” Do not allow yourself to be under the control of anything except the Holy Spirit in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is time to put off the old man and put on the new as commanded in Colossians 3. You need to walk in a manner worthy of your calling instead of still walking in the ways of this world. As Paul said in Romans 12:2 – “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

If you have any problem with drinking, whether great or small, don’t let it continue. Take advantage of the help available within the body of Christ and talk to me or any of our church leaders and let us help you to begin to walk away from its slavery and into the freedom from sin we can have in our Lord Jesus Christ.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

DBL = The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew by James A. Swanson

LN = Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains by Johannes Louw & Eugene Nida (Louw-Nida)


Aland, Barbara, Kurt Aland, Matthew Black et al. The Greek New Testament. 4th ed. Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies, 1993.

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Werkgroep Informatica, Vrije Universiteit Morphology; Bible. O.T. Hebrew. Werkgroep Informatica, Vrije Universiteit., Logos Bible Software, 2006.

Brown, Francis, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs. Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. electronic ed. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009.

Louw, Johannes P. and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.

Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.

Swete, Henry Barclay. The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1909.

Thayer, Joseph Henry. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti. New York: Harper & Brothers., 1889.

Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Edited by Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke. electronic ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1999.

Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998.

Alcohol Content Search


Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “wine” is said. 2) Discuss with your parents the dangers of alcoholic beverages and how to avoid them.


Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What is your taste preference regarding alcoholic beverages? Why? What influence do your practices have on others (Romans 14)? Define each of the following according to their Biblical usage: Wine, new wine, sweet wine, aged wine, “strong drink”. What is the process of fermentation? How do liquors and spirits differ from wine and beer? What is the range of alcohol content in each? Did Jesus make wine or grape juice in John 2? Explain. What are some of the medicinal uses of alcohol? How are the various kinds of wine used in the Bible to represent blessings in ancient Israel? In the present time? In the future Messianic Kingdom? What kind of wines will the Lord serve then (Isaiah 25:6-9)? How was wine used in the worship of God? What was the purpose of the Nazirite vows in Numbers 6? Why did they include abstinence from wine? Why were the priests prohibited from wine and strong drink when serving in the Tabernacle / Temple (Leviticus 10)? Why are restrictions placed on Elders and Deacons in regard to drinking wine (1 Timothy 3)? Why was King Lemuel warned not to drink wine or strong drink (Proverbs 31)? How is wine a “mocker”? How is beer a “brawler”? What are the dangers of wine as explained in Proverbs 23:29-35? What effect does drinking have on finances? Health? Relationships? Explain. What is the basis of drunkenness according to Galatians 5:21? According to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, what is the eternal danger of drunkenness? What is the common problem in all levels of alcoholism? What hope is there for the alcoholi
c? (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Explain. How does your desire to walk with and serve the Lord compare with the desire to please your flesh, eyes and pride? What should you do if you enjoy a glass of beer or wine? What should you do if you have developed a taste for hard liquor? What should you do if you get drunk even if only occasionally? What should you do if alcohol has a controlling influence on you – even if it is just to relax or be able to sleep (1 Corinthians 6:12)? What should control you (Eph. 5:16)? What is your responsibility in pursuing godliness (Colossians 3; Romans 12:1-2).

Sermon Notes – 1/13/2013

Proverbs on Wine & Drinking


Proverbs 9:1-5 – Wine is associated with ___________.

Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is dangerous and getting drunk is _______________.

We do not desire to be either legalistic or _____________

By ______________, I am a teetotaler because I do not care for the taste & smell of alcoholic beverages

By conviction, I am a teetotaler for I do not wish to cause a weaker brother or sister to ________into sin


Wine =  ??? / yayin and OinoV / oinos = “a ______________ beverage made from the juice of grapes

New or __________ wine =  ????? / tirosh

    ???/ chemer refers to the ____________ produced in the process of fermentation – any wine in process

Sweet wine =  ????   / asis and gleukoV / gleukos = partially fermented wine with high _________content

_________ wine =     ???   / shemer – fully fermented

Strong drink =  ???  / shekar and  sikera  / sikera = “intoxicating beverages made from ___________

Natural fermentation: _______. Controlled fermentation: up to ~20%. Distilled liquor / Spirits: 35-95%

Mixed wines – with other wines or ______(Isaiah 1:22 – mixing with water considered sign of judgment)

Fruits and their juice ferment naturally because of __________- and rapidly in warm climates

John 2: Jesus turned the water in to wine (OinoV / oinos), not juice or sweet wine. It was ____________

Biblical Use of Wine

______________ uses – 1 Timothy 5:23; Luke 10:34

A sign of ________& prosperity – Prov. 3:5-10; Gen. 27:28; 49:11-12; Deut. 7:13; 1 Chron. 9:29; 27:27

A sign of the blessings of the ______________ Messianic Kingdom – Joel 2:19; Amos 9:13-14

Used in daily life and in __________________- Psalm 104:14-15; Deut. 12:15-18; 14:23-26; 15:12-14

Used in the _______of God (libation / drink offering) – Ex. 29:4; Lev. 23:13, 18; Numb. 15:5,7,10; 28:7

_____________ drank wine – Matthew 11:18-19

Jesus will drink it again in His future _______________: Matt. 26:27; cf. 1 Cor. 11:19-34; Isaiah 25:6-9

Used as a ______________ metaphor in wisdom’s invitation – Proverbs 9:1-5

The Value of Abstinence

Numbers 6 – the __________ vows in dedicating themselves to the Lord

Leviticus 10:8-11 – ____________ prohibited while service to distinguish between holy and profane

1 Timothy 3:3, 8 – ______________usage for Elders and Deacons in caution of influence (Romans 14),

Proverbs 31:4-5 – Avoid danger of making bad decisions because of wine’s ________________.

Dangers of Drinking

Proverbs 20:1 – wine is a ____________/ scoffer – disrespectful, makes fun of others, haughty, arrogant

Wine offers escape from trouble, happiness and bliss, but brings trouble, sadness and __________

Proverbs 20:1 – strong drink is a _____________ – loud, noisy, tumultuous, often resulting in injury

Proverbs 21:17; 23:20-12 – Wine promises pleasure, but produces ______________

Proverbs 23:29-35 – wine is looks inviting in the glass, but in the end it is a snake bringing __________

Alcohol produces _____________, physical and relational problems

Galatians 5:12 – drunkenness is a deed of the _______________.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – Drunkards _______________ inherit the kingdom of God

Regardless of level, few alcoholics recognize their __________- all seek it to cope with life Prov. 31:6-7

Alcoholics Anonymous and psychologists can help stop drinking, but they can’t _________the problem

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – Jesus washes, sanctifies and justifies from ____________

Drinking does not solve any problems, it only puts off old ones while ______________ new ones


If you enjoy a glass of wine or beer – rejoice and _______________to God – 1 Timothy 5:1-5

If you have a taste for hard liquor – take the alcohol out of it or you are in very ______________territory

If you get drunk, whether frequently or rarely – there is a _____________problem

If you are controlled by drinking in any way – need it to relax / sleep – there is a __________- 1 Cor. 6:12

Eph. 5:16 – be controlled by the Holy Spirit. But on the new man (Col. 3). Be _____________(Rom. 12)

(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)

Grace Bible Church Home Page || Sermon Archives

For comments, please e-mail  Church office