Monday, February 9, 2015

Wine for Your Stomach's Sake; 1 Timothy 5:23

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. -1 Timothy 5:23

This Bible verse has often been misused to justify the recreational use of a mind altering drug (alcohol).

Evangelist Sam Jones told of a man asked by a friend to take a drink. The friend said, “Didn’t Paul tell Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake?’
The man replied, “Yes, but my name is not Timothy; and even if it were, there’s nothing the matter with my stomach.”

A closer look at 1 Timothy 5:23 reveals no evidence for social or moderate drinking.

First, the wine referred to could have either been fermented or unfermented. The Bible and ancient writings often refer to unfermented wine by the name wine (Isaiah 65:8; Matthew 9:17; etc.).
Modern English translations do so as well.
Ancients knew and practiced multiple ways of preserving unfermented wine. It was available throughout the year. See “Ancient Wine and the Bible” for detailed explanation and documentation of this fact.

Unfermented wine or grape juice has the same, if not more, healthy properties as alcoholic wine; without the harmful side effects.

Health benefits of unfermented wine (grape juice):
1. Contains beneficial antioxidants.
2. Helps protect cardiovascular health.
3. Encourages flexible arteries.
4. Contributes to healthy blood pressure.
-gleaned from Welchs website; 2009,
(But watch out for grape juice with “added” sugar.)

“Older men and women who drank fruit and vegetable juices more than three times a week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank juices less than once a week, a new study shows.”; 2006.

“Alcohol is not actually heart-healthy…Red wine contains some beneficial compounds such as flavonoids and resveratrol, a potent antioxidant in the skin of grapes associated with a number of health benefits. Of course, grapes, raisins, berries, and other plant foods also contain these beneficial compounds. You do not have to drink wine to gain these benefits.” -Joel Fuhrman, M.D., The End of Diabetes; 2013.

However, even if Paul was recommending alcoholic wine:
1. He only said a little wine.
2. Strictly for medicinal purposes.
At most, this is only justifying a little alcohol for medicinal reasons. In addition, today there are usually more effective medicinal drugs than alcohol. 
3. It is also interesting that as a pastor, Timothy, for good reason, had been abstaining from wine.

Stomach health note: If you have stomach problems, many authorities have recognized several things that may help: 1. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. 2. Drink plenty of water. 3. The live culture in yogurt can be helpful. 4. The live culture in un-pasteurized Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar can be helpful. Incidentally, even vinegar is called wine (sour wine) in the Bible. 5. A pinch of baking soda mixed in water can settle an acidic stomach. (But, see a trusted M.D. for proper medical advice!)

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 9, AD 2015.

Alcohol and Cancer

Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, the book
Dr. R. L. Sumner on "Ancient Wine and the Bible"

Many more articles in lower right margin.


  1. IMO, nothing wrong with having *A* drink...we are commanded in Ephesians 5:18, " And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."

    Believers are also commanded to withdraw from those that are drunkards:

    "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. " ( 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 )

    Since I am God's child, I will both keep separation AND keep from being drunk. However, I personally see nothing wrong with having a drink on occasion, if I desire it.

    I won't go into a bar with the world, and I will not drink more than one, IF that is what it takes me to get drunk. I would also not wish my brother to stumble, so even at the end of it all, I would be very unlikely to take a drink, except in the privacy of my own home, and then only one.

    Does the Scripture forbid believers to drink alcohol? I don't see it...but what I DO see is a VERY narrow window of liberty with regard to it. Most people come to the conclusion that it's just better not to even drink at all, and I tend to agree with them.

    Best wishes.

    1. And in my opinion, there is much wrong with taking a drink of alcohol.

      1. By your example you are recommending drinking to others. You may be able to control it, they may not.

      2. Not drinking is a guarantee you will never become a problem drinker or an alcoholic.

      3. Social drinkers support the alcohol / drug industry.

      4. Even one drink impairs your judgment and reaction time. Is there ever a time when a Christian does not need his good judgment? Government sponsored commercials rightly say, “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.”

      5. As others have said, Moderate drinking is moderate intoxication.

      6. Drinking in the privacy of your own home still teaches your family to drink, involves you supporting the alcohol industry, and is a poor influence to those who see you buying the stuff.

      7. Moderate drinking is simply the recreational use of a mind-altering drug. You might as well say I limit my recreational drugs to one marijuana joint, as to say you limit your recreational drugs to one drink.

      8. I believe Scripture does both directly (1 Peter 5:8; etc.) and indirectly (biblical principles) condemn drinking alcohol in any amount.
      See articles here and “Ancient Wine and the Bible,” for more details.

      9. We are to love God with all our minds (Matthew 22:37). We can’t do that while impaired with alcohol; even moderately.

      David R. Brumbelow


What do you think?