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Bible: What does it say about wine?

Does the Bible condemn the consumption of wine or does it endorse it? In fact it appears to do both.

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise," according to Proverbs. But the Book of Judges notes that wine "cheereth God and man." And in his letter to Timothy, Paul advises, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."

For every verse about wine that "stingeth like a serpent," there are two more that speak of the joys of wine, and that allude to Christ and his apostles -- not to mention the Old Testament kings and peasants -- enjoying it.

I would respectfully submit that the seeming contradictions simply represent an honest evaluation of a beverage that was a part of daily life for the people of the Holy Land in biblical times, a wine-producing and wine-consuming land. Its people drank wine with every meal and knew it as both a happy element of daily life and a potential source of pain.

From the Old Testament, which has Noah beginning his new life by planting a vineyard and making wine (and suffering the embarrassment of overindulgence) to the lovely Gospel story in which Christ turned water into excellent wine for the enjoyment of the wedding guests at Cana, the Bible both warns of the dangers of overconsumption and expresses gratitude that God made the wine that gladdens the heart of man.

The key, of course, is moderation, and that's something that some people have (more or less) understood from ancient times to the present.

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