A biblical case for wine

On Jan. 17, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) announced no amount of alcohol is safe and recommended no more than two drinks a week for men and women.

I thought of the passage in the Bible where the apostle Paul instructs Timothy of Ephesus to drink —wait for it— a small amount of wine.

"Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses,” he says.

Bono is (music group) U2's frontman. His favourite Bible (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language) paraphrases the passage as “Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you."

According to John 2, the first miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana. Jesus told the servants to fill six stone jars with water.

“The kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons."

So Jesus made the equivalent of nearly 1,000 bottles of wine.

Anthony "Tony" Campolo is an American sociologist (professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University), pastor, author, and co-founder of the Red-Letter Christians movement.

He told one TV interviewer in the ancient world, weddings would last two and three days at a time.

“You invited in everybody in the neighbourhood, he said. “There was singing and there was dancing and there was celebration! Jesus says, 'You know what my kingdom is really like? It's likened unto one gigantic wedding feast! One gigantic party!'"

In both Bible passages, the Koine Greek word used for wine is "oinos," meaning "fermented wine". In other words, wine containing alcohol, not grape juice.

During biblical times, wine was fermented (containing alcohol), but not necessarily to the degree it is today.

The people often drank wine (or grape juice) because it was less likely to be contaminated than the drinking water.

David Buckna, Kelowna

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