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The Controversy of the Wine Question in the Bible

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The Controversy of the Wine Question in the Bible:

Does the Bible condemn the consumption of wine or does it endorse it?
The fact is that it appears to do both.

According to Proverbs: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." But the Book of Judges notes that wine "cheereth God and man." And in his letter to Timothy, Paul advises, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."

It seems that for every verse that condemns drinking wine there are two more that speak of the joys of wine, and that allude to Jesus and his apostles -- not to mention the Old Testament kings and peasants -- enjoying it.

In the Old Testament, we read that Noah planted a vineyard and made wine. In the New Testament, we read a Gospel story in which Jesus turned water into excellent wine for the enjoyment of the wedding guests at Cana.

Emphasizing the controversies resulting from the contradictions in the Bible, the Rev. William M. Thayer started his book 'Communion Wine and the Bible Temperance' with the following on page 3:

"That difficulties should attach to the Bible view of temperance is not strange. Difficulties attach to the Bible view of almost every important subject, so that biblical scholars and eminent divines are divided in opinion. Hence, the church visible is divided into denominations, based on different interpretations of the Scriptures. Hence, too, slavery, polygamy, and other evils, have been defended from the Bible by distinguished theologians. Is it strange, then, that biblical scholars and divine differ, to some extent, in their interpretation of the Scriptures on the Wine Question?"

In contrast, in Islam there is no doubt or ambiguity about the teachings regarding consumption of liquors; it is considered a major sin and it is strongly prohibited. In the Qur'an Sura #5, Verses #90-92, we read:

"O Believers, intoxicants, gambling, idolatrous practices, and divining with arrows are repugnant acts (Satan's doing); shun them so that you may prosper.
With intoxicants and gambling, Satan seeks only to incite enmity and hatred among you, and to stop you remembering God and prayer; will you not give them up?
Obey God, obey the Messenger, and always be on your guard: if you pay no heed, bear in mind that the sole duty of Our Messenger is to deliver the message clearly."

The Traditions of Prophet Muhammad also strongly condemn the consumption of liquors. In one Tradition, the Prophet issued a stern warning to the one who drinks liquors that he will be punished in the hereafter by drinking from the mud of khibaal (the sweat of the people of Hell, or the juice of the people of Hell.)

In another Tradition, the Prophet said: “Whoever dies and has the habit of drinking liquors, he will meet Allah as one who worships idols.”

In yet another Tradition, the Prophet, not only condemns the ones who drink liquors, but also condemns the ones: who participate in the manufacture of liquors, who distribute it, who sell it, who buy it, who transport it, who pour it in glasses and give it to the drinkers, and all who benefit financially from the liquors business.

This upload contains 24 titles. The first one is an introductory article about Christianity and Alcohol. Titles 2-9 discuss the evils of alcoholism and the problems it causes to individuals and the community. The rest of the titles 10-24 present the different views about the Wine Question in the Bible.

1- Wikipedia - Christianity and Alcohol. (An introductory article about the subject)

2- 100 Questions & Answers about Alcoholism; by Charles Herrick and Charlotte Herrick. (2007)

3- Alcohol Problems in the Community. Edited by Larry Harrison. (1996)

4- Alcohol, A Social and Cultural History. Edited by Mack P. Holt. (2006)

5- Recent Development in Alcoholism, Vol. 12 - Alcoholism and Women. Edited by Mark Galanter. (2002)

6- Recent Development in Alcoholism, Vol. 17 - Alcohol Problems in Adolescents and Young Adults. Edited by Mark Galanter. (2005)

7- Living with Alcoholism and Drug Addiction; by Nicholas R. Lessa (2009)

8- Educator Guide to Prevent & Reduce Underage Drinking - The Surgeon General's Call to Action. (2007)

9- Alcohol Misuse, A European Perspective. Edited by Timothy J. Peters. (2005)

10- Christendom and the Drink Curse: An Appeal to the Christian World for Efficient Action Against the Causes of Intemperance. By Dawson Burns. (1875)

11- Religion and Rum, or the Influence of Religion on the Use of Alcoholic Liquors as a Beverage. By E. Stevenson. (1885)

12- Religion and Drink; by E.A. Wasson. (1914)

13- Communion Wine and the Bible Temperance; by William M. Thayer. (1869)

14- Oinos: A Discussion of the Bible Wine Question; by Leon C. Field. (1883)

15- The Bible Wine Question-The Answer to the Unanswerable; by Frederick Richard Lees. (1876)

16- A Lay Thesis on Bible Wines; by Edward R. Emerson. (1902)

17- What Does the Bible Say about Alcohol; by Rebecca S. DeWitt.

18- Alcohol, Wine and the Bible: A Common Sense View. (adamia blog)

19- Wine, Alcohol, and the Bible. (tectonics)

20- The Juicy Truth of Biblical Wine; by David Gross.

21- The Bible and Wine; by Bruce Lackey.

22- What Does the Bible Really Say about Wine; by Greg Tyree.

23- Alcohol-What the Bible Really Says (Worldwide Church of God)

24- Wine in the Bible (Christian Churches of God)