Drinking by George L. Faull
These are some things you
should know before you start
your social drinking.
There are a lot of things being said out there that are
emboldening Christian people to defend social drinking.
They are making many assumptions from the Bible that
does not lead to the dogmatic conclusions that it is
perfectly acceptable to be a social drinker.
They assume that all wine in the Bible is intoxicating wine.
Listen to this jewel of ignorance from a fellow named
Peck, "Two terms for wine are used throughout the Bible.
In the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) the Hebrew word is “yayin”,
while the Christian New Testament, written in Greek, used
the word “oinos”, from which we get our word " wine".
Both mean the same thing, “fermented wine”. There is no
word for “unfermented wine” in Scripture. Wine is wine. It
was always “fermented”.”
This man did not give a studied conclusion. His bold
assertion is as false as it can be.
A. “Yayin” is only one of eleven words translated
“wine” in the Old Testament.
B. “Oinos” is only one of three words translated
“wine” in the New Testament.
C. There are words in the Old Testament that
usually refer to “unfermented wine” and other
words that usually mean “fermented wine”.
D. Sometimes even the word “yayin” refers to the
grape juice. Isaiah 16:10, Jeremiah 40:10,12,
Nehemiah13:15. These all refer to harvesting
grape juice before it is fermented.
E. The word “oinos” is used to translate both the
words that usually mean “fermented” and
“unfermented” wine in the Old Testament.
In other words, “oinos” is a generic word and all
eleven Hebrew words for “wine” in the Old
Testament are translated into Greek by using the
word “oinos”. Only the context of the use of the
word can determine if the word refers to
“fermented” or “unfermented” wine. (Oinos being
a generic word is like several of our words in
English that are generic. When one is offered a
toast, some punch, some eggnog, or some cider,
he does not know if it is alcoholic or not. One
must ask, or else know the person who offers it
very well, to determine if he wants to drink it.
So it is an absurd assumption to believe that every time
the word “wine” is used, it refers to intoxicating wine.
If one is going to okay his drinking because drinking wine
is sometimes approved of in the Bible, we need to make
sure we’re talking of the same drink and not comparing
apples with oranges.
It cannot be denied that a Jewish home in Bible times had
both unfermented and fermented wine. However, there
are several questions we should ask. It’s plain ludicrous
to affirm that they had to have either one or the other in
1. What about the fermented wine? How was it
processed? They usually boiled the wine and
most of the liquid evaporated. This left a honey or
jelly-like substance. They then would add water to
it and it was a common drink in every man’s
2. What was the amount of pure alcohol in it? It
varied. The difference between natural wine and
our wine, which adds ethyl alcohol, differs in
content anywhere from 15% to 65%.
3. Did they add water to their fermented drinks?
Yes, they added three parts water. (Homer says
that he found a black wine that needed to be
diluted with 20 parts water). If it was three parts
diluted with water, it meant that their daily drinking
wine would have been up to 2.5% alcoholic. Our
beverages today have to be 3.2% to be
considered an alcoholic beverage.
"From the cowardice that shrinks from
new truth, from the laziness that is content
with half truths, from the arrogance that
thinks it knows all truth, O, God of Truth,
deliver us."2 THE GOSPEL UNASHAMED October 2009
Is a “toast” always alcoholic? No
Is “eggnog” always alcoholic? No
Is “cider” always alcoholic? No
Is “punch” always alcoholic? No
Why do you assume the generic
word “wine” in the Bible is always
4. Was there a wine they were specifically to avoid?
Yes, he describes the wine to be avoided. It is
described in Proverbs 23:31, “Look not thou
upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his
colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.”
5. Did they add additional ingredients that made it a
narcotic when added to ethyl alcohol as we do
our beverages? No. However, if they diluted
natural wine with water, it would make it much
less a potent drink.
What would these variables mean? It means that our
alcoholic beverages are not the same beverages that they
drank. It meant that you would have to drink a lot of wine
to get drunk. This is why they were told not to tarry long at
the wine, or not to be given too much wine.
To compare one drinking a glass of their weak wine and
diluting it even further with one drinking the beverages of
today, is comparing a mother lioness with her cub.
However, even the cub can grow
up and be a mother lioness just as
their weak watered down beverage
could eventually get them drunk.
One can drink one beer today and
get drunk because of the alcohol
To not take the above questions
into consideration when weighing
this subject is not a common sense
use of Scripture. Acting like the
wine of the Bible and the liquor of today are the same is
not worthy of those who want to know and do the mind of
Fermented wine, being in the homes of the Jews, is no
defense for social drinking. Of course, fermented wine
A. Wine was used for medicine for the stomach and
I Timothy 5:23, “Drink no longer water, but use a
little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often
B. Wine was used for cleansing wounds as an
Luke 10:34, “And went to him, and bound up his
wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on
his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and
took care of him.”
C. Wine was used for a painkiller for men ready to
Proverbs 31:6a, “Give strong drink unto him that
is ready to perish…” (Like they tried to give
D. Wine was used for a sedative for those who were
bitter spirited or anxious.
Proverbs 31:6, “Give strong drink unto him that
is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be
of heavy hearts.”
E. Wine was used for seasoning in cooking or
F. Wine was used for the drink offering and poured
out on the altar.
Numbers 28:7, “And the drink offering thereof
shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb:
in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong
wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink
G. Wine was used for festivities and holidays to
celebrate. Review the Second point to see it was
watered down and not to be taken in much
quantity, and certain wines were to be avoided.
As I have shown in other writings,
they had processes to keep wine
from fermenting for years and all
Bible wines are not fermented!
The Deuteronomy 14:26 passage,
the most difficult passage used by
the social drinkers to defend their
drinking, does not give the haven of
rest they imagine.
Deuteronomy 14:22-27, “22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the
increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by
year. 23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in
the place which he shall choose to place his name there,
the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the
firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest
learn to fear the LORD thy God always. 24 And if the way
be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or
if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God
shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy
God hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt thou turn it into
money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go
unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: 26
And 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 the LORD thy God, and
thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, 27 And
the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake
him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.”
Question – Would this permission allow them pork?
No, it has to be taken in light of all that God said on that
subject. The same is true of wine and strong drink.October 2009 THE GOSPEL UNASHAMED 3
Admittedly, all kind of arguments are given to prove that
this okays drinking hard liquor and all kinds of objections
are given to show those arguments are false. So what is
The answer is that the word strong drink (Shekar) like
yayin and oinos is a generic word. It is a mistranslated
word in this text. It should be translated “sweet drink”.
In fact, it is where we get our word " sugar". To satisfy
your mind on this, read page 232 of “Wine in the Bible” by
He quotes Kittos’ Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature,"
Jerome, Young’s Concordance, THE POPULAR AND
CRITICAL BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA. He also points out
that all major older English dictionaries derive our English
word “sugar” from this Hebrew word in question.
It is hard to believe that one can drink strong in the fear of
God, before God's tent of meeting house in Holiness. He
had told the priests right after telling them not to come into
his tabernacle drunk, to make a distinction between the
Holy and the unholy. Leviticus 10:9
It is also obvious that since the wine mentioned is the
usual word for “unfermented wine” (Tiyrowsh, not yayin)
that the shekar would not be fermented or strong drink.
How much more sense it makes to translate it “sweet
drinks”. It was made from fruits, but usually the palm
Would He insist that those who lived nearby bring a tithe
of their fields, vineyards, trees, flocks, and herds, and eat
their harvest before the Lord’s house but those from a
distance could sell their tithes and bring the money to buy
whatever they wanted to eat and drink, including strong
drink that He so often condemns?
Was God really saying, “If you’re from around here, eat
and drink your new harvest of fresh wine, but if you’re
from afar off then you can buy some fermented liquor?”
I think that Isaiah 24:9 will help us see the meaning of
He is describing judgment upon the land of Israel and He
was telling them they would be cursed rather than
blessed. He was using contrastive language and saying
instead of music with your festivity there would not be a
song with your wine and instead of Shekar (sweet
drinks) there would be bitterness to those that drink it.
Look of the entire chapter for the contrasts he is making. It
is obvious to an unprejudiced mind that Shekar has the
idea of sweetness rather than strong drink. This text is no
harbor for social drinkers.
Since both yayin and oinos are generic words, as is
shekar. One cannot be dogmatic that it always refers to
either fermented or unfermented wine. It must be obvious
from this study that fermented wine existed for the above
reasons in Jewish home. It is true yet today.
The question is not, “Did they have fermented wine as
well as unfermented wine”, the question is, “What was
their ordinarily drinking wine, how was it processed, how
was it used and is our wine today the same kind of a
I am not concerned with those who study this issue. I am
concerned about those who buffalo people who have not
studied the subject into believing that social drinking today
is justified by the Bible accounts. To come to that
conclusion requires a lack of knowledge of the customs
and awareness of all these facts.
Wine is said to gladden the heart of man. Psalms 104:14-
15. It is claimed that this cannot be said of grape juice.
I think that maybe the reader should read the whole
It is a psalm about the majesty and providence of God. It
is a psalm of thanksgiving for all God does for man and
beast and their well being and happiness. He speaks of
angels, springs of water for the beasts, thirst to be
quenched, for grass to grow for cattle, and herbs for the
service of man.
He continues about food out of the earth and wine that
maketh glad the heart of man and oil for his face to shine
and bread which strengthens his heart.
He continues that he is thankful for trees, and cedars and
high hills, the moon and the sun, and even for a chance
for man to work and labor. On and on the Psalmist gives
thanks for his provision.
Wine to a Jew was synonymous with drink at festivities,
holidays, and God’s abundant supply. This psalm is
commemorating life, happiness, joy, and the supply and
provision of God for his people.
The verse is merely saying man has bread to eat and oil
to anoint and wine to drink. Compare Deuteronomy
We have already shown their wine was a mixture of wine
diluted with water and that one would have to tarry all day
to get drunk from it.
This verse proves nothing about justifying a cup of today's
wine that is 6% pure alcohol. The burden of proof is on
the social drinker to show that his brew had the same
content of alcohol as their brew. This we know is not true
because it took so much to drink before getting drunk.
One beer contains 6% pure alcohol.
You might also remember that alcohol is a depressant,
not a stimulant, and drinking even one drink can cause4 THE GOSPEL UNASHAMED October 2009
depression and drunkenness in many people. Their
diluted wine caused cheerfulness, not depression (unless
he drank much of it, and then it brought woe).
Proverbs 23:29-35, “29 Who hath woe? who hath
sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? Who
hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to
seek mixed wine. 31 Look not thou upon the wine when
it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it
moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent,
and stingeth like an adder. 33 Thine eyes shall behold
strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse
things. 34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the
midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not
sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I
awake? I will seek it yet again.”
A big issue is made because Psalms 104:14-15 says the
word yayin, which usually means, “fermented wine”. I
would remind you that Judges 9:13 says that wine
(throsh, the word usually meaning, “unfermented wine”) is
used. That says, "The vine said unto them, Should I leave
my wine which cheereth God and man, and go be
promoted over the trees?"
So to be technical, according to the Scriptures, both
words that usually mean, “fermented” and “unfermented”
are said to cheer the heart of man.
Do you want proof that wine in the New Testament is
Jesus said, “No man puts new (oinos) in old bottles…”
Why? The fresh wine put in the goatskin bottles would
expand upon fermentation and burst the skins already
expanded by the former wine.
This is proof positive that fresh juice is called
This article will be added to my booklet, “Drinking and the