Can a Christian drink wine?
The custom of Jews in Jesus day was to drink wine (though
it was not as strong as we may have today) we see in Jn.2 Jesus filled the
containers with the best wine at the wedding celebration. Jesus did not
condemn drinking the wine in his culture and used it numerous times for
illustration in his teachings.
“But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no
one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is
We are allowed to drink as long as it does not stumble
others (Rom.14:21). What we are not to do is make it a habit or get drunk.
1 Pet 2:16
“as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of
God.” (we are set free to serve the Lord and do His will).
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an
opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
There was a contrast with John the baptizer and Jesus
during his time of ministry, Luke
1:15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither
wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even
from his mother's womb."
As for Jesus Luke 7:33-34 "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread
nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' "The Son of Man has come
eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a
friend of tax collectors and sinners!'
We see that Jesus, as customary for all
the Jews of his day, drank wine when he sat down to eat a meal with others.
What about leadership in the church?
there are numerous qualifications, one of them is to not drink wine. 1 Tim. 3:2-3 "A bishop then must be
blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior,
hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for
money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous." It is the same for the
older women (Titus 2:3) who teach the younger women in the church. They are held
to a higher standard and are to be sober, always ready to minister if something
were to come up. To have any drink was prohibited to Jews that would engage in
the service of God (Lev. 10:9) in the old Testament and this carries over in the
The further one gets away from leadership the more
permissible it becomes.
1 Tim. 3:8 "Likewise deacons must be reverent,
not double-tongued, not given to much wine,” much- Gr. pollus-
meaning not to large or common practice, total abstinence is not required as it
is for an elder. That attitude leads to over-indulgence (from Robertson's
Word Pictures in the New Testament)
1 Corinthians 11:21-22
When they came together to eat the Lord's Supper. V.21 For in eating, each one
takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church
of God and shame those who have nothing? Clearly Paul was saying they could have
a drink at home (not condoning being drunk), they were not to make the communion
a party but keep it sanctified, different than other times they met to
In reference to eating food as an example Paul makes it
clear “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to
those who are weak”(1 Cor. 8:9) Yet Paul says
in Col. 2:16
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink” Paul even recommended
to Timothy when he was sick "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine
for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities" (1 Tim. 5:23).
We have a principle to live by even though we have freedom
1 Cor. 6:12
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are
lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” He then
repeats himself 10:23-24: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are
helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek
his own, but each one the other's well-being.” This is the principle laid out
for us in grace; will we make others stumble by our freedom? Is what we
are doing a wing or a weight in our walk? Apart from doing those things
that are clearly forbidden, are we practicing something that is not helpful and
can eventually harm us or others.
Paul also used this in a
spiritual sense to illustrate how we are not to be like the world. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 "Therefore
let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those
who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let
us who are of the day be sober."
There is no command I know of forbidding a drink with meals
for those not in leadership. However we need to keep in mind those around us
and not abuse our freedom that would affect our testimony to others.