Paul started the chapter talking about the need to regard the elderly as our fellows, then spoke of honor and instructions for widows. So what was the reason for this statement about wine and the stomach in verse 23?
1 Timothy 5:23
NKJV - 23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities.
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I think the recepient of this instruction by Paul had a stomach problem and a little wine would help, I dont think there was anything behind this simple remedy.
The Scriptures do not contradict! It is clear the topic of wine must be viewed in context. Some passages allow for the consumption of wine but nowhere approve of drunkenness. For instance (1Tim.3:3) states that a bishop be not given to wine whereas (1Tim.3:8) states that a deacon be not given to much wine (KJV). In both instances it is allowable because the word "given" is actually translated "addicted". All this relates to (Ezek.44:21) about priests/overseers. Though it would be best to abstain from wine God understands the purpose and effects of wine good and bad. More importantly God understands human nature. So in conclusion there is no absolute prohibition against wine consumption except under the Nazarite vow (Num.6:3). And at no time shall an overseer be a drunkard whether they be a bishop, pastor, deacon etc. Lastly no one shall ever consume any intoxicating drink when entering the house of God whether it be for worship or the performance of their spiritual duties! (Wine was also used for medicinal purposes because they didn't have all the modern medicines we have today).
Well I heard that some doctors say for you to drink a little wine every day because it is good for the heart. I do not know, I do not drink. But, I think since we are being told how to live a godly and faithful life and love others and help them, take care of them if necessary, that it is possible he is saying not to live a life of sameness and drudgery but balance our life with activity and newness: take care of ourselves so we can do the will God more effectively.
It is very clear in the scripture, do not drink wine instead water. We can only drink wine to treat infirmities or for medicinal purposes only. In one of the scripture in ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:18 NASB) We Christiana should be aware of the conviction of the holy Spirit. Drinking wine during occasions, birthdays, family gatherings is not acceptable to us Christians who are living a holy life. It is also written be holy for I am the lord your god is holy. We will not be able to follow Jesus Christ's like character getting drunk with wine.
Context is important when reading the Bible and I think this is a case of context in regards to, “use a little wine for thou stomach sake”. The Bible speaks in symbolic language on occasions. For example, Jesus said “ Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53). Jesus was not saying that you literally had to bite into him and drain his blood to drink. He was talking about taking part in the word of God (the Bible) and the Holy Spirit (blood) brings true life or relationship with God. There were some heavy things discussed in I Timothy chapter 5 (honoring your elders, taking care of widows, and handling saints who were not doing right). In order to do these you must be mature and that’s why the statement was made, “ Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.” In the natural, you would not give a baby wine to drink because their bodies are not ready for that. In the spiritual, you would not expect a baby in Christ to be able to handle heavier problems in the church so they would stay on water or milk (1 Corinthians 3:2 “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”) Moving from water to wine was meant to show that a person was expected to be more mature and able to handle difficult “infirmities” or problems that arise in the church.
Paul's medical advice to Timothy inserted in this letter is frequently being used to justify alcohol consumption among Christians. However, the text discussed here is much too personal to represent a generalized application. Paul here is writing to a specific individual, for a specific situation - he writes to Timothy, who apparently is a total abstainer and suffers from some type of gastrointestinal ailment, to suggest adding a little wine (oinos Strong’s G3631) to his daily fluid intake for the benefit of his digestion (1 Tim 5:23). The Greek “hudropotei” used in the text by Paul (Strong’s G5202) means to be a drinker of water while abstainer from other beverages which implies that Timothy had abstained until that time from any kind of wine, presumably in accordance with the instructions and example of Paul. More importantly, Paul recommendation to Timothy to use a little wine, is not for the physical pleasure, but for the medical need of the stomach. Ancient writers such as Aristotle, Athanaeus, and Pliny indicate that unfermented wine was known and preferred to alcoholic wine for medical purposes, because it did not have the side effects of the latter. In light of these and of other Bible teachings regarding wine, it is reasonable to assume that the wine recommended by Paul for medical use was unfermented grape juice. In my opinion, thinking that a little social drinking must be okay because Paul told Timothy to drink wine is totally misreading this text.
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