“NOT GIVEN TO MUCH WINE”

Greg Gwin

We continue to hear some Christians who go to 1st Timothy 3:8 and Titus 2:3 in an effort to justify “social drinking.” Both of these passages, though addressing different groups of individuals, use the phrase, “not given to much wine.” The argument is made that the verses do not condemn drinking, rather only warn about excessive drinking. The idea is, we are told, that a person can drink some wine, but must avoid drinking “much” wine and becoming intoxicated. In fact, these folks would have us to believe that the verses include a clear implication that moderate drinking is approved by God. We deny it!

Does the expression “not given to much wine” give implied consent to drinking of intoxicants up to a certain level? No!

Consider this illustration: My children have been bathed and dressed in their “Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes”. Before we leave for the services they ask for permission to play outside. I say, “Yes, but don’t get all dirty.” Think about that statement for a moment. Do you comprehend my meaning? What is implied? Do I mean that they can get a little dirty? Would I be pleased if they got muddy only up to their knees? Of course not! My meaning is that they should not get dirty at all.

And so it is with the expression “not given to much wine.” It clearly prohibits excessive drinking. But to suggest that moderate drinking is approved in these verses is simply illogical and contradicts other plain Bible teachings. The same flawed logic would lead us to the conclusion that the command “thou shalt not kill” lends endorsement of any violent conduct that ends just short of murder. Who can believe it?

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