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Booze In The Bible

Wine is a Mocker

A prohibitionist claimed:

There is no way around Proverbs 20:1.

So, let’s take a look at this verse that will absolutely prove the prohibitionist correct:

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

The first two clauses are offered as absolute proof that any alcohol consumption is forbidden by God, and the last part of the verse is discarded as meaningless rambling to fill out the meter of the poetry.

However, when we read the verse in its entirety, which I’ve been told is a legitimate method of exegesis, we can’t help but notice that “whosoever is deceived [by wine or string drink] is not wise.”

Any moderationist would freely agree that that it is not wise to be deceived by wine, and that falling into drunkenness constitutes such deception. In fact, many concordances and lexicons say that the Hebrew word used here for “deceived” can refer to intoxication, so that can hardly be called an unreasonable interpretation.

The only thing that can be said of Proverbs 20:1 with any certainty is that it is one of the many passages in the Bible that speaks of the foolishness of intoxication.

Categories
Booze In The Bible

Behold a Gluttonous Man, and a Winebibber

Prohibitionists have an interesting way of dealing with these two passages:

  1. Matthew 11:18-19:
  2. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.
    19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

  3. Luke 7:33-35
  4. 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
    34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
    35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

When looking at these passages, Prohibitionists generally address this claim: We know that Jesus drank wine because the Pharisees called Him a winebibber. They argue correctly that the accusation does not prove that He drank wine. In fact, the point Jesus was making was that the Pharisees were falsely accusing Him of being a winebibber.

The problem is that no one has made the claim that the accusation of the Pharisees proved that Jesus drank wine. That is a straw man argument, invented because it is easy to refute and provide an appearance of victory over the real argument.

What is the real argument?

The Real Argument

In the event described in the two passages above, Jesus is criticizing the Pharisees because of their sinful attitude towards two people who brought them spiritual truth, which they rejected. The point Jesus made was that the Pharisees accused John of evil because John did NOT drink wine, while at the same time accusing Jesus of evil because Jesus DID drink wine.

Jesus stated as fact that John The Baptist did not drink wine. Jesus also stated as fact that The Son of Man did drink wine. Jesus himself says that He did, in fact, drink wine. Jesus criticized the Pharisees for using the fact that He drank wine as an opportunity to make the false accusation that He was a drunkard (the meaning of “winebibber”).

The proof that Jesus drank wine is that He said Himself that He drank wine.