Do The Scriptures Prohibit The Use Of Alcoholic Beverages? -- By: A. B. Rich

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 037:147 (Jul 1880)
Article: Do The Scriptures Prohibit The Use Of Alcoholic Beverages?
Author: A. B. Rich


Do The Scriptures Prohibit The Use Of Alcoholic Beverages?

Rev. A. B. Rich

III.—New Testament View Of Wine And Strong Drinks

In coming to an examination of the New Testament view of wine and strong drink, I shall assume that the principles that controlled the writers of the Old Testament may be expected to appear in the New. No important changes had taken place in the customs and habits of the people. The nature of fermentation had not changed. The mind of God and good men respecting the nature and use of alcohol had not changed. We must expect, therefore, that Christ and his apostles will bear the same testimony as did the prophets under the old dispensation. The liberty which Christ comes to proclaim will not be freedom to drink intoxicating wine and strong drink, but freedom from the bondage of appetite for them. As we have found hitherto, so may we expect to find as we advance, that the argument is cumulative, gaining strength by every new allusion to saccharine drinks in history or in symbol.

The translators of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament failed to discriminate between the different varieties of wine, by the use of different terms, as the Hebrew writers had done, using for the most part the term οἶνος, oinos whenever the reference was to a vinous beverage. The writers of

the New Testament, being familiar with that version, did the same with a single exception. They referred once also to the Hebrew shekhar by its Greek equivalent. The translators of our English Bible followed their example, so that we have but three terms for consideration, and two of these appear only once.

1. Γλεῦκος, Gleukos

This was the tirosh of the Hebrew, “must, new wine. In New Test, sweet wine, Acts 2:13 “(Lex.). The name is derived from the adjective γλυκ́ς, sweet, which implies that it designated the must in its freshest, sweetest condition. “A certain amount of juice exuded from the ripe fruit from its own pressure, before the treading commenced. This appears to have been kept separate from the rest, and to have formed the γλεῦκος, or sweet wine noticed in Acts 2:13” (Smith’s Bib. Dic).

When the Spirit was poured out on the day of pentecost, some were amazed, “others mocking, said, these men are full of gleukos.” They meant by the cavil that the disciples and others had been drinking a wine somewhat intoxicating. Why did they use the term gleukos, and not rather oinos o...

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