And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 21, Number
In this issue:
Religious people who support and participate in drinking alcohol socially often call attention to wine drinking in the Bible to support their conclusion to “do what they did.” One problem with their conclusion is that wine in the Bible is not the same as modern-day wine. To equate the two does not follow scripturally or logically. Frankly, they are not “doing what they did.”
The Bible speaks of both fermented and non-fermented “wine.” Usage within context helps determine which is meant in each text. Importantly, the Hebrew word in the Old Testament translated “strong drink” or “intoxicating drink” (shekar) was produced from barley, honey, dates and other grains and fruits (William Patton, “The Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients, 57, 62). It is distinguished from “wine” and is routinely prohibited, as in Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink (shekar, jrp) is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” (For additional uses of shekar, see Isaiah 5:11, 22; 24:9; 28:7; 29:9.)
The alcoholic content of modern wines more closely conforms to this biblical “strong drink” than to biblical “wine.” These representative references explain the differences:
Alcohol content of ancient wine
“In the Bible, alcoholic wine is not like wine today. The sugar of grape juice can only ferment to 3 or 4% alcohol with wild yeast — airborne yeast. For grape juice to exceed 4% alcohol, then the winemaker must add yeast. The yeast added to ancient wines produced between 4–11% alcohol.” (bing.com)
Alcohol content of (modern) wine
“On average, the ABV (alcohol by volume, jrp) for beer is 4.5 percent; for wine, 11.6 percent; and for liquor, 37 percent, according to William Kerr, senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group of the Public Health Institute. The range in alcohol levels is the result of how each beverage is made.” (bing.com)
Add to this information the fact that water was regularly mixed with Bible wine at ratios ranging from 3-1 and upwards, and there is no equity between modern wine and ancient wine. Modern wines contain alcohol at levels more consistent with the prohibited “strong drink.”
Those who use the Bible to approve alcoholic consumption need to address the difference between ancient and modern wines, and its relation to strong drink. Scripture says drunkenness, its associated revelry, as well as the drinking that leads to excess are all put away by those who have the mind of Christ and do the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-3).
The Bible presents Jesus as being fully God and fully man. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14). “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9, NASU). This is an incredible claim. Deity taking on human flesh is a great mystery to us (1 Tim. 3:16). How can Jesus be 100% God and 100% man? This seems impossible, yet it is a fact of the gospel that must be accepted and believed if we are going to be saved (John 8:24; 20:30-31; 1 John 4:2-3). What evidence exists to support this incredible claim?
There are a pair of statements made in Peter’s epistles regarding the evidence that Jesus was both God and man. The apostle Peter sets forth himself as an eyewitness of both the Deity and humanity of Jesus Christ.
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Pet. 1:16-18, emp.mine - HR).
In this passage, Peter has reference to himself, James, and John seeing the divine glory of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-5; Mark 9:2-7; Luke 9:28-36). It was on this occasion that Peter saw Jesus as He truly exists. Not cloaked in flesh but radiating in glory. To help Peter understand the significance of what he was witnessing, God’s voice declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him” (Matt. 17:5).
The apostle also claims to be “a witness of the sufferings of Christ” (1 Pet. 5:1). On the night that He was betrayed, Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. Leaving the rest, “He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me’” (Matt. 26:37-38).
Just as these three men had seen Jesus transformed on the mountain, they also saw Him transformed in the garden. It was there, in the protective presence of His close friends, that Jesus began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. He confessed this sorrow to them. Why? Because the pain and agony of the cross was just hours away. Jesus was succumbing to the terrors of the hour and experiencing them as a man.
Peter did not understand what was happening on the mountain, neither did he understand what was taking place in the garden. However, years later he could look back on these events and proclaim with certainty that Jesus was fully God and fully man. His preaching was not based on cunningly devised fables. Peter was an eyewitness of both the majesty and suffering of Christ. He boldly preached Jesus as the glorified Christ who overcame physical death and offers salvation to all men.
I was not on the mountain, nor was I in the garden, but neither were the recipients of Peter’s letters. They didn’t see Jesus, but they believed in Him because they believed the testimony of one who did (2 Pet. 1:16). I share the same faith because I believe the same testimony.
6 “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (Hebrews 12:6–8, NKJV)
The word “chasten” means discipline, and this passage leaves no doubt that properly applied discipline (instruction and correction) includes momentary pain which is intended to yield positive results (Hebrews 12:6, 9-11). The rod of discipline is not a rod of abuse (although that is how the world portrays it). Just as the world resists the Lord’s corrective discipline (although it beneficial), it also resists God’s word that teaches parents to use it as one aspect of training their children. “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). Children need training to mature properly. To discipline them is a mark of parental love. To withhold needed discipline from a child is not love. The child who refuses and despises parental discipline is rebellious. The Christian who refuses and despises God’s discipline is also rebellious. Thus, we are exhorted to “be in subjection” to our Father’s discipline so we may partake of His holiness (Hebrews 12:10). -Sword Tips #1625
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
"Give Me the Bible..."
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4:13-16
“Give me the Bible” is being replaced with, “Give me human wisdom” and, “give me my own will” (Col. 2:9).
I. “GIVE ME THE BIBLE…”
A. Except for What it Says about
Marriage, Gen. 2:22-24; Heb. 13:4.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Citing a “preponderance” of evidence, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Wednesday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort “breached his plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office by lying to prosecutors” (“U.S. judge rules ex-Trump campaign chief breached plea deal,” Nathan Layne, Sarah N. Lynch, reuters.com).
A “lying tongue” is an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 6:16-17). Saints speak the truth in love in order to grow to spiritual maturity and conformity to the image of Christ (Eph. 4:15, 13). For Christians, binding oaths are superfluous to persuade us to speak the truth since our “yes” means “yes” and our “no” means “no” (Matt. 5:33-37; Jas. 5:12).
And yet, the temptation to lie is everywhere around us. “According to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t have a ten minute conversation without lying at least once (“60% of People Can't Go 10 Minutes Without Lying,” Kathy Benjamin, mentalfloss.com). “Our parents get the worst of it, according to The Day America Told the Truth, with 86% of us lying to them regularly, followed by friends (75%), siblings (73%), and spouses (69%). But in general we lie about things that aren’t important, little things that we think will make us look better or more likeable” (Ibid). Truly, we would be lying if we said we are never tempted to lie!
We can lie to ourselves about our sin (Jas. 1:14-16). We can lie to ourselves about who will be saved (1 Cor. 6:9-10). We can lie to ourselves that we will not reap what we sow spiritually (Gal. 6:7). We can lie to ourselves that our worldly friends will not corrupt us (1 Cor. 15:33-34). We can lie to ourselves about what we believe is truth (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
Let us value truth, seize it and always define ourselves by it. “Buy the truth and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding” (Prov. 23:23).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 02/24/2019
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA