“..wine that makes glad the heart of man..”
“Thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before theLord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household”
“…use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.”
1 Tim. 5:23
Order of Contents
Church History of 1
Rechabites Bound by Forefather Not to Drink Wine? 5
Miller, Samuel – ‘Letter’ on temperance of alcohol (1836), p. 23, 2 pp.
Williamson, G.I. – ‘Wine in the Bible & the Church’ (1976) 40 pp. The last page contains a helpful comparative chart.
Price, Greg – ‘The Bible & Alcoholic Beverages’ (1995) 58 paragraphs
This article is excellent, though his church association, the RPNA, who are modern day, sectarian Steelites, is highly warned against for their spiritually dangerous separatism.
‘The Joy of the Wine is in the Vine’ (2017) at Reformed Health
’14 Reasons God Approves Wine in the Bible’ (2017) at Reformed Health
Wilson, A.M. – The Wines of the Bible: an Examination & Refutation of the Unfermented Wine Theory (1877) 380 pp.
See Charles Spurgeon’s favorable review of this book here.
Preface: “Having been a teetotaler for more than thirty years, his [the author’s] personal habits, associations, and sympathies have all been in favor of the unfermented theory; but the facts encountered in the present investigation, have constrained him, reluctantly, to conclude that, so far as the wines of the Ancients are concerned, unfermented wine is a myth.”
Gentry, Kenneth – God Gave Wine: What the Bible Says About Alcohol Buy (2000) 182 pp.
McDurmon, Joel – What Would Jesus Drink? Buy (2011) 145 pp.
Whittington, Brad – What Would Jesus Drink: What the Bible Really Says About Alcohol Buy (2011) 164 pp.
Alcohol in Church History
West, Jim – Drinking with Calvin & Luther! A History of Alcohol in the Church Buy 1998 216 pp. with a beer and wine guide at the back of the book.
“It is possible to tolerate a little elevation, when a man takes a drink or two too much after working hard and when he is feeling low. This must be called a frolic. But to sit day and night, pouring it in and pouring it out again, is piggish… all food is a matter of freedom, even a modest drink for one’s pleasure. If you do not wish to conduct yourself this way, if you are going to go beyond this and be a born pig and guzzle beer and wine, then, if this cannot be stopped by the rulers, you must know that you cannot be saved. For God will not admit such piggish drinkers into the kingdom of heaven…
If you are tired and downhearted, take a drink; but this does not mean being a pig and doing nothing but gorging and swilling… You should be moderate and sober; this means that we should not be drunken, though we may be exhilarated.”
Winship, Kihm – ‘The Beers of Martin Luther’ (2012) 35 paragraphs
What about the Rechabites being Commanded of their Forefather Not to Drink Wine
Commentary on Jer. 35, v. 7, on the Rechabites
“Now that the prophet was ordered to offer them wine, and that they refused, a question here arises: Was their continency in this respect laudable? They seemed thus to prefer Jonadab [their forefather] to God, for they knew that Jeremiah, who offered them wine, was sent by God.
But the Rechabites, no doubt, modestly excused themselves, when they said that it was not right for them to drink wine, because they had been forbidden by their father. It was not then their purpose to give more honor to their father than to God or to his prophet, but they simply answered for the sake of excusing themselves, that they had abstained from wine for three hundred years, that is, that the whole family had done so. This, then, is the solution of the question.
But what the Papists do in bringing against us the Rechabites, first to support their tyrannical laws, and secondly, in order to torment miserable consciences at their pleasure, is frivolous in the extreme. As I have already said, the advice of Jonadab is not commended, as though he had rightly forbidden his sons to drink wine; but only his sons are spoken of as having reverently and humbly obeyed the command of their dead father. Then this passage gives no countenance to the Papists, as though the object of it was to bind the consciences of the faithful to their laws; for what is here spoken of is that the Rechabites proved by their obedience how base and wicked was the obduracy of the people, as they showed less reverence and honor to God than these did to a man that was dead.
But the Papists, however, dwell much on another point, — that whatever has been handed down from the fathers ought to be observed; and thus they reason, “The authority of the whole Church is greater than that of a private man; now the Rechabites are commended for having followed the command of a private individual, much more then ought we to obey the laws of the Church.”
To this I answer, that we ought to obey the fathers and the whole Church: nor have we a controversy with them on this subject; for we do not simply say, that everything which men have delivered to us ought to be rejected; but we deny that we ought to obey the laws of men, when they bind the conscience without any necessity. When, therefore, a religious act is enjoined on us, men arrogate to themselves what is peculiar to God alone; thus the authority of God is violated, when men claim so much for themselves as to bind consciences by their own laws.
We must then distinguish between civil laws, such as are introduced to preserve order, or for some other end, and spiritual laws, such as are introduced into God’s worship, and by which religion is enjoined, and necessity is laid on consciences.”
Synod of Dort
The Dordrecht Bible Commentary trans. Theodore Haak ed. H. David Schuringa (1657; North Star Ministry Press, 2019), vol. 4, p. 279 on Jer. 35:11
“In this verse they [the Rechabites] give a reason why in this one thing, namely that now [they] did not dwell in the tents but lived in the city of Jerusalem: that at this present [circumstance they] followed not their father’s charge, showing thereby that it was a human ordinance which in time of need and as occasion required, they might without breach of duty very well wave [it,] that they might not transgress the law of God, this was also Jonadab’s intention and was pleasing and acceptable unto God.”
The Due Right of Presbyteries… (London, 1644), pt. 2, ch. 4, section 5, p. 203
“2. Calvin thinks their vow not lawful. Bucanus, Polyander and Willet think it the lawful vow of the Nazarites, commanded [in] Num. 6. What then? if by God’s Law of the Nazarites, they abstained from wine and the Passover? God is above his own Law…
3. How prove ye, they abstained from the Passover? being so divine a law, might not their vow suffer an exception for a greater law in eating the Passover? I think it might, for in case of necessity they [the Rechabites] came and dwelt at Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, Jer. 35:11, and yet their vow was to dwell in tents.”
Matthew Poole – Commentary on Jer. 35, v. 19
“But it is a question of more moment: How God promises a reward to these sons of Jonadab [who are Rechabites] for obeying the command of their [fore-]father [to dwell in tents and not drink wine], and whether they had sinned if they had not obeyed this command of Jonadab; which brings in another question:
Whether parents have a power to oblige their children in matters which God has left at liberty? To which I answer:
1. God might reward these Rechabites for their reverence and obedience to Jonadab their father, though these were not strictly, by the Divine law, obliged thus far to have obeyed him; as He rewarded David for his thoughts in his heart to build him a house, though it was not God’s will that He should do it; so as God’s promise of the reward does not prove their obedience in this particular to have been their duty. Admit that it remained still a matter of liberty, yet the general honour and reverence they testified might be rewarded by God.
2. Unquestionably parents have not a power to determine children in all things as to which God has left them a liberty, for then they have a power to make their children slaves, and to take away all their natural liberty. To marry or not, and to this or that person, is [a] matter of liberty. Parents cannot in this case determine their children; Bethuel, Gen. 24:58, asks Rebekah if she would go with Abraham’s servant before he would send her.
3. In matters of civil concernment they have a far greater power than in matters of religion. All souls are God’s, and conscience can be under no other dominion than that of God.
4. In civil things parents have a great power, during the nonage of children, and after also in matters which concern their parents’ good, as to command them to assist them, to help to supply their necessities, etc.
5. Parents being set over children, and instead of God to them, as it is their duty to advise their children to the best of their ability for their good; so it is the duty of children to receive their advice, and not to depart from it, unless they see circumstances so mistaken by parents, or so altered by the providence of God, as they may reasonably judge their parents, had these known or foreseen it, would not have so advised. But that parents have an absolute power to determine children in all things as to which God has not forbidden them, and that children by the law of God are obliged to an obedience to all such commands, however they may see their parents mistaken, or God by his providence may have altered circumstances, I see no reason to conclude. Jonadab had prudently advised his sons as before mentioned; they were things they might do, and which by experience they found not hurtful to them, but of great profit and advantage, and that with reference to all the ends of man’s life: herein they yield obedience, and pay a reverence to their parent; this pleases God, He promises to reward them with the continuance of their family, according to what He had said, Ex. 20:12, in the Fifth Commandment, which the apostle calls the first commandment with promise.”
Commentary on Jer. 35, vv. 1-11
“Note, the rules of a strict discipline must not be made too strict, but so as to admit of a dispensation when the necessity of a case calls for it, which therefore, in making vows of that nature, it is wisdom to provide expressly for, that the way may be made the more clear, and we may not afterwards be forced to say, ‘It was an error,’ Eccl. 5:6.
Commands of that nature are to be understood with such limitations. These Rechabites would have tempted God, and not trusted Him, if they had not used proper means for their own safety in a time of common calamity [which they did, Jer. 35:11], notwithstanding the law and custom of their family [Jer. 35:7-10].”
“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”
“No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy… commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
1 Tim. 4:1-5