Tobacco & Wine
What does the Bible say about tobacco and wine?
The Bible's position on alcohol is moderation. Drunkenness is clearly stated to be sin and forbidden, but having a glass of wine with dinner is not, unless, unless, unless one glass of wine is immoderate for the particular individual. Each Believer has to determine where their personal moderation limits are. God calls us to personal responsibility here. My moderation limits, for example are very narrow for two reasons: 1) I have to take medication that conflicts with alcohol, 2) my dad was an alcoholic and as a result my body type is prone to alcoholism. I have to be very careful. I am not a "tea-totaler," however. By the way, Jesus miraculously created 20-30 gallons of wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and it really was wine according to the Greek text.
Let me suggest some sections of Scripture for further study. Please evaluate each statement and the associated proof text and see if you agree. Don't just take the reference for granted.
- Many kinds of. Nehemiah 5:18
- Sweet, esteemed for flavor and strength. Isaiah 49:26; Amos 9:13.
- Red, most esteemed. Proverbs 23:31; Isaiah 27:2
- Often spiced to increase its strength. Proverbs 9:2,5; 23:30; Songs of Solomon 8:2.
- Was used:
- As a beverage from the earliest age. Genesis 9:21; 27:25.
- At all feasts and entertainments. Esther 1:7; 5:6; Isaiah 5:12; Daniel 5:1-4; John 2:3.
- For drink offerings in the worship of God. Exodus 29:40; Numbers 15:4-10.
- For drink offerings in idolatrous worship. Deuteronomy 32:37,38.
- As a medicine. Luke 10:34; I Timothy 5:23.
- Cheering God and man. Judges 9:13; Zechariah 9:17.
- Gladdening the heart. Psalm 104:15.
- Strengthening. II Samuel 16:2.
- Making mirthful. Esther 1:10; Ecclesiastes 10:19.
- Forbidden. Ephesians 5:18.
- Infuriates the temper. Proverbs 20:1.
- Impairs the health. I Samuel 25:37; Hosea 4:11.
- Impairs the judgment and memory. Proverbs 31:4,5; Isaiah 28:7.
- Inflames the passions. Isaiah 5:11.
- Leads to sorrow and contention. Proverbs 23:29,30.
- Leads to remorse. Proverbs 23:31,32.
- Of the blood of Christ. Matthew 26:27-29.
- Of the blessing of the Gospel. Isaiah 25:6; 55:1.
- Of the wrath and judgments of God. Psalms 60:3; 75:8; Jeremiah 13:12-14; 25:15-18.
- Of the abominations of the apostasy. Revelations 17:2; 18:3.
- Of violence and rapine. Proverbs 4:17.1
Smoking is not mentioned in the Bible. For a practice like that you have to consider principles relating to the care of God's Temple, your body (I Corinthians 6:19-20; II Corinthians 6:16 [cf.Leviticus 26:12; Ezekiel 37:27; Matthew 18:20; John 14:20, 23]).2 Each believer has to ask himself, "Is this practice (smoking, eating, dangerous activities, extreme sports, etc.) caring for my body in the proper way and honoring to God?" Each believer has to make their own decision before the Lord regarding questionable activities that are not expressly stated to be wrong in the Bible. Again, this is a call to personal responsibility.
Some churches take a legalistic approach to doubtful issues. Legalism occurs when personal convictions are forced upon others in the name of sanctification. That type of church undoubtedly had good motives - trying to promote a Godly lifestyle among the members. If the members of that community of believers voluntarily chose to follow those rules, all is well and good. We have to decide where our limits and convictions are and then stick by them. However, we have no right to demand that others abide by our convictions. Neither can we look down on them as second-class or unspiritual if they do not agree with us. Each church and individual has to make their own decisions regarding doubtful practices (Romans 14; I Corinthians 10:23-33).
The previous paragraph applies to the gray areas, the doubtful issues. However, when a practice is clearly indicated to be sin in Scripture, then we all have the obligation to obey and to confront fellow believers who are living in disobedience, even to the point of excommunication (Matthew 18:15-20).
1 Torrey, R. (1995, c. 1897). The new topical text book: A scriptural textbook for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
2 The NASB Topical Index. 1998 (electronic ed.). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.