CLASS-6: The Un-intoxicated Life
WOLBI Proverbs Class Themes
- God Has Given the Guide to Wisdom in Proverbs
- The Best Life Possible is: Doing the Will of God for Life
- Don’t Waste Your Life Like SOLOMON
- The Ultimate Sin is Pride
- The Second Greatest Day of Your Life
- The Un-intoxicated Life
- Raising Kids Who See Your Character & Look for the One God Says is Best
- Cultivating a Godly Work Ethic
- Fools, Focus & Avoiding Being Lost in Electronica
- The Power of Spoken Words
First, God’s Will Revealed for My Character
- God Wants to Make Me Wise, Not Foolish so that My Life Point towards Him as Lord.
- God Wants to make Me Teachable, Not Stubborn.
- God Wants to make Me Righteous, Not Wicked.
- God Wants to make Me Humble, Not Proud.
- God Wants to make Me Self-controlled, Not Rash.
- God Wants to make Me Forgiving, Not Vindictive.
God says wise people are patient (19:11);
God says wise people are concerned about peace around them (14:9);
Secondly, God’s Will Revealed for My Relationships
- God’s Will revealed in Five Areas for our Relationship To Our Parents.
- God’s Will revealed in Five Areas for our Relationship To Our Wife.
- God’s Will revealed in Nine Areas for our Relationship To Our Children.
- God’s Will revealed in Seven Areas Relationship To Our Friends and Neighbors.
Thirdly, God’s Will for My Words
- God wants me to understand the Power of My Words.
- God wants me to know the Limitations of My Words.
- God’s Will revealed for the Character of My Words.
- God’s Will revealed is that I understand the Source of My Words.
CLASS-6: The Un-intoxicated Life
Watch out for Drinking alcohol: Proverbs 20:1; 23:20-21; 29:35; 31:4-7;
Grace Energized Men: Living the Un-intoxicated Life
God is looking to train a generation of un-intoxicated men to lead and model Christ’s righteousness in an intoxicated world. God wants men who do not succumb to the intoxicating influences that dull their mind. Any desire, unrestrained by God’s grace can become an intoxicating idol. Things like: sober: comfort, convenience, security, work, sports, and amusements can be as deadly and powerful as addictions to alcohol, drugs, and sex.
That is exactly where Peter was when he used the very same word Paul used in Titus 2:2 when he called for grace-energized men of temperance. We are looking at the first word used by God to describe the grace-energized older men of the faith in Titus 2:2—temperate.
Peter, writing near the end of his earthly ministry explained that we as God’s people, are called to be separate in mind from those who are not God’s, holy-minded in an unholy thinking world, living in each generation of Christ’s Church–according to the standards of our High and only King Jesus.
Living the Balanced Life According to Peter
To explain the grace-energized life of balance in an unbalanced world, Peter surrounds this word temperate (nephalios) with a series of commands we must heed if we love the Lord and want to be useful to Him (1 Peter 1:13-2:11).
Grace-energized Men Understand that they are Pilgrims
Look back at that last verse we read (I Peter 2:11). The grace-energized man never gets intoxicated by the error of the world that this world is my home and this is what I live for. Rather his life is anchored in God’s promises to which he clings (as we saw last time) and his heart has an anchor stretching into Heaven (Hebrews 6:19-20) that tugs him daily toward setting his affections on things above not here on the Earth.
Peter explains for us the balanced-mind that God wants and that Paul instructs Titus to train up. Peter uses five, very targeted exhortations, in I Peter 1:13-16.
This passage as it was written by Peter has 5 exhortations in the form of 2 imperative commands surrounded by three participles. The NIV renders them all as commands, and that is the direction we will go this evening. The “sober mind” or “temperate mind” that we are examining is a mind that is governed by these truths.
“gird up the loins of your mind” (NKJV) or “Prepare your minds for action” (NIV). In Bible times men often wore long, flowing robes. When strenuous work or running was required they would pull up and cinch into their belt that robe to make what we would call shorts. Obedience is a conscious act of the will. Christians in conflict need a tough-minded holiness that is ready for action. The ancient practice of gathering up one’s robes when needing to move in a hurry; here, it is metaphorically applied to one’s thought process. The meaning is to pull in all the loose ends of one’s thinking, by rejecting the hindrances of the world and focusing on the future grace of God (cf. Eph. 6:14; Col. 3:2).
“be sober” (NKJV) or “Be self-controlled” (NIV) Is our word from Titus 2:2 is word from Titus 2:2 via the verb neµphoµ (“be sober”) which is always used figuratively in the New Testament. This word describes a person free from every form of mental and spiritual “drunkenness” or excess; and one who resists the control of outside circumstances. God wants believers to be directed from within. As we’ve seen, this form of spiritual sober-mindedness includes the ideas of steadfastness, self-control, clarity of mind, and moral decisiveness. The sober Christian is correctly in charge of his priorities and not intoxicated with the various allurements of the world.
“The opposite of “be sober-minded” is “frenzy, madness.” It is the Greek word mania, which has come into our English vocabulary via psychology. If we are sober-minded, we will be intellectually sound and not off on a tangent because of some “new” interpretation of the Scriptures.
We will also face things realistically and be free from delusions. The sober-minded saint will have a purposeful life and not be drifting, and he will exercise restraint and not be impulsive. He will have “sound judgment” not only about doctrinal matters, but also about the practical affairs of life.
“rest your hope fully” (NKJV) or “Set your hope fully” (NIV). This balanced mind and holy life demands great determination. A believer’s hope is to be set completely, unwaveringly, and without reservation solely by faith upon God’s grace. Only His grace can energize an anchored mind.
“not conforming yourselves to” (NKJV) or “do not conform to” (NIV). Here we see Peter using that famous word from Romans 12:1 (suschematidzo “not squeezed into the mold of”) the evil desires of their past sinful lives. Rather as obedient children (lit., “children of obedience”) they were to mold their characters to God’s Word and the renewed mind’s desires implanted through the Spirit of God.
“be holy in all your conduct” (NKJV) or “all you do” (NIV). Grace-energized living brings a denial of the old life (their former ignorance), and a new walk in the Spirit that is set apart to the desires and wishes of God who gave us new birth and called us to be His own.
What God’s Word Says About: Christians, Alcohol & Addictions; Gray Areas, Sin & Sanctification; Liberty & Legalism
Romans 14; Proverbs & Ephesians 5:18
As believers, God offers through His Word an entire philosophy of how to please God in the realm of gray areas, questionable things, liberty, and legalism; and all in the context of drinking alcohol and any other substance that takes away our ability to think clearly. That is our opening topic at the Q&A session Sunday night, Lord willing.
Whenever we seek an answer to what God says about any subject, our attitude must always be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11. They searched the Scriptures to see if what PAUL said was accurate. That is amazing. They did not just figure that if the big guy up front said something it MUST be Biblical.
Alcohol & God’s Servants
First off to answer this question I must confess that I do not drink alcohol in any form, by conviction. My convictions based on God’s Word are:
- First, I don’t drink because God always condemns drunkenness in any and every form in His Word, so I want to stay away from participating in or encouraging others to participate in what God condemns.
- Second, I don’t drink because God commanded that any priest who came before Him in the Tabernacle or Temple was not to drink. Alcohol kept priests from being able to distinguish between holy & unholy, and clean & unclean (Lev. 109-10). So I never want to miss what God calls both holy and unholy.
- Third, I don’t drink because God said that those who lead His people are to not drink so that they aren’t under any wrong influence when they make decisions. Alcohol diminishes a leaders ability to lead wisely (Pr. 31:4-5).
- Fourth, I don’t drink because God led Paul to say that he would limit his freedom, and never eat meat or drink alcohol (Rom. 14:21) if it caused any believer to veer off God’s path, and I do not want my choices to make earnest or weak believers veer away from God.
- Fifth, I don’t drink because God contrasts alcohol with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18, I want to be known as a man that seeks the influence of the Holy Spirit, not alcohol.
- Sixth, I don’t drink because God said that elders have a higher standard than deacons or others in the church. Normal believers are to never get drunk; and deacons are not to be drawn or given to wine; but elders are called to not stand near wine in I Timothy 3:3. The way to interpret what Paul meant was seen in his best friend Timothy’s life. Paul had to pled with him to use a little wine medicinally in I Timothy 5:23 because Timothy also wanted to obey God and not be near wine.
- Finally, I don’t drink because of our whole beer drinking, bar hopping, clubbing society that portrays alcohol almost always with things that displease God, I do not want to: walk, stand, or sit with those that mock God (Psalm 1); nor befriend the world’s ungodly cultural form of drinking (James 4:4-8); nor get conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2); nor love this tool the world uses (I John 2:15-17) to enslave so many, destroy so many, and lead so many into sin.
So those are my personal convictions as a Citizen of Heaven, living here on Earth.
Alcohol is portrayed in God’s Word like many other things: both positively and negatively. Like a river many things, if: kept within God’s boundaries they are wonderful, outside the boundaries they are destructive and damnable.
Alcohol As Described In The Scriptures
God’s Word mentions drinking what we would call wine or beer 256x (199 times in a positive way, and 57 times in a negative way).
First: Alcohol has positive effects. Proverbs 31:6 “give strong drink to”; I Timothy 5:23 “a little wine for stomach”. Also the joy of the harvest, new wine, wedding feast where Jesus made wine and people observed they had “saved the best” (John 2:10).
Second: Alcohol’s negative effects can lead to eternal destruction, and anyone who surrenders to alcohol, or any other mind-altering substance (drugs, chemicals) is part of the list of those who have become dominated by sin and not Christ and thus are slaves to sin (and not to Christ) and thus are eternally damned.
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Alcohol as to the strength or concentration in Biblical & Modern times:
Wine was the most intoxicating drink known in ancient times. All the wine was light wine, i.e. not fortified with extra alcohol. Concentrated alcohol was only known in the Middle Ages when the Arabs invented distillation (“alcohol” is an Arabic word) so what is now called liquor or strong drink (i.e. whiskey, gin, vodka, etc.) and the twenty per cent fortified wines were unknown in Bible times. Beer was brewed by various methods, but its alcoholic content was light. [TWOT, (vol. 1, p. 865)].
The strength of natural wines is limited by two factors. The percentage of alcohol will be half of the percentage of the sugar in the juice. And if the alcoholic content is much above 10 or 11 percent, the yeast cells are killed and fermentation ceases. Probably ancient wines were 7-10 per cent. Drunkenness therefore was of course an ancient curse, but alcoholism was not as common or as severe as it is today. And in an agricultural age, its effects were less deadly than now. Still, even then it had its dangers and Proverbs 20:1 and 23:29-35 are emphatic in their warnings. (T.W.O.T., p. 376)
How does our alcohol today compare with wine back then? According to the Alcohol Council Information Center:
Beer has 4% alcohol; wine has 9-11% alcohol; brandy has 15-20% alcohol; and liquor has between 40-50% alcohol (80-100 proof).
“The wine that was consumed in biblical times was not what we know as wine today. It was more of a concentrated grape juice with its intoxicating properties basically removed. You cannot defend wine-drinking today on the basis of wine-drinking in Bible times because the two are totally different.” (Living in the Spirit, p. 31, John MacArthur)
There Are Four Simple, Biblical Reasons that I do Not Drink
#1: God’s Word Always Condemns Drunkenness.
Drunkenness, and ongoing enslavement to drunkenness called alcoholism, is always condemned in God’s Word as a mark of pagans, lost and foolish people, and deserving of eternal destruction.
In God’s Word drunkenness is associated with tragedy. Whenever the Bible talks about drunkenness it shows that it is the manifestation of depravity. Every illustration of drunkenness in the Bible meets with disaster:
- Noah became drunk and in his nakedness acted shamelessly (Gen. 9:21);
- Lot became drunk and his daughters committed incest with him (Gen. 19:30-36);
- Nabal became drunk and at a crucial time God took his life (1 Sam. 25:36-37);
- Elah became drunk and he was murdered by Zimri (1 Kings 16:9-10);
- Ben-hadad and all of his allied kings became drunk, and all were slaughtered except Ben-hadad who escaped (1 Kings 20:16-21);
- Belshazzar became drunk and had his kingdom ripped right out from under him (Dan. 5); the
- Corinthians became drunk at the Lord’s table and the Lord made some of them sick and some He executed (1 Cor. 11:21-34). Drunkenness in the Bibles is always associated with terrible things – unrestrained living, immorality, dissolute behavior, and reckless, wild behavior.
#2: God’s Word Teaches That Drunkenness Disqualifies A Man From Spiritual Service.
Remember that drunkenness is always described as a sin, and any tendencies towards that sin, are disqualifiers from spiritual services.
In the Old Testament, priests were not to drink when they were involved in any way with the worship of the Tabernacle or Temple. The lapse and severe judgment that Nadab & Abihu experienced in Leviticus 10, made a statute for priests from then on. They offered the sacrifices “under the influence”, did so “strangely” and God struck them dead.
In fact, the standard is so high for NT leaders that Paul goes so far as to note two aspects about an elder.
First in 1 Timothy 3:2-3, 8 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.
Then in Titus 1:7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
#3: God’s Word Teaches That Drunkenness Is Not A Part Of A Citizen Of Heaven While On Earth.
First, God says that if someone claims to be a believer and is a drunkard, expel them from the fellowship of the Church in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
Second, God says that drunkenness is a sign of lostness and of a life heading to eternal destruction in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Thirdly, drunkenness (or alcoholism) is never to be a part of the life of a citizen of Heaven. in fact, in Galatians 5:19-21 we can note the very sobering words: “shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” So is drunkenness (alcoholism) a sickness or disease, or is it a sin? It is a sin that leads to physical deterioration and dependence. But God can save and change. Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Finally, God’s Word speaks of drunkenness in a believer’s life as being in the past tense in 1 Peter 4:3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. Conclusion from these three passages: drunkenness is a disqualifying sin and a damning lifestyle.
#4: Recreational Drinking With Lost People Who Drink To Drunkenness Is Not What Pleases God In Our Lives.
With 18 million Americans alcoholics or drunkards, as the Scriptures not so softly call them; and with 81% Roman Catholics and 64% Protestants not opposed to drinking. And, with the constant need to teach doctrine for us to live by, we are considering the Christian and alcohol – should drinking alcohol have a place in our lives? Here’s an inspired snapshot of a drunkard; and God by inspiration describes him.
Evil company corrupts (1 Cor. 15:33).
So, God’s Word in the Old Testament teaches: drunkenness is sinful, displeasing to God, and not to be a part of His servants lives; social drinking is unhealthy for our spiritual lives (frequenting bars where people go to get intoxicated, since it is a place they go to sin, and because the atmosphere is not encouraging sanctification but discouraging it: Psalm 1 says we who love the Lord are not to walk, stand, or sit in the “way of sinners”; and drinking undiluted wine is not godly as Proverbs 23:31 = straight 7=10% wine. So those are Old Testament principles that governed until the time of Christ.
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Proverbs 23:20-21 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, 21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Proverbs 23:29-35 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. 31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! 32 In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. 34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”
Proverbs 31:4-7 “It is not for kings, O Lemuel—not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, 5 lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. 6 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
Quickly – What about the controversy when people (believers often) say that I am not drunken, I am just drinking. The church has within this family of God those who say drinking in moderation is okay, others who say any amount of alchol is sin. The two sides within the church are poles apart. Is there any clear teaching from the Scriptures on this matter?
Yes, and it is biblical, logical and powerful.
Not because I said so, or the church said so, but the Bible does not forbid wine. However, it gives specific guidelines to follow. To drink you must first answer these questions with me –
Are we talking about the same type of alcoholic beverage? Quoting from MacArthur Study Guide (Living in the Spirit p. 10). The biblical words for wine:
- OINOS/YAYIN – The most common word in the New Testament for wine is the Greek word oinos. It is a word that simply refers to the juice of grapes. In fact, this word was used to refer to the grape as it hung on the vine – “hanging wine.” The word oinos was a general word and didn’t specify whether the wine was fermented or unfermented. It just simply referred to the juice of the grape – any kind. The Old Testament equivalent to oinos is the Hebrew word yayin, and is used 141 times. The root for the word yayin means to “bubble up” or “boil up.” According to The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901), yayin means “mixed wine.” This mixing was not with other wine but usually with water. Sometimes it was mixed with honey, herbs, or myrrh; but even then, it could also be mixed with water. Even though oinos was a general word for wine, it also predominately has to do with wine mixed with water.
- GLEUKOS/TIROSH = new wine or fresh wine still fermenting, just out of the grape, without refrigeration, would ferment very rapidly and was potentially intoxicating. Now if the wine had just been taken from the grape, it obviously wouldn’t be fermented. But the word gleukos, or “new wine,” referred to wine that could have been days, weeks, or a few months from absolute freshness – and would still be fermenting. The Old Testament word for “new wine” is the Hebrew word tirosh. In Hosea 4:11 it says that “new wine” (tirosh) could create drunkenness. So, “new wine,” tirosh or gleukos, could create drunkenness.
- SIKERA/SHAKAR – Shakar is the Old Testament Hebrew word for “strong drink” and means “unmixed.” The equivalent Greek word in the New Testament is sikera.
So – There are various biblical words and they can mean fermented and unfermented.
They are used often interchangeably in the 256 biblical references to wine.
Now, let’s go to the further study of what they drank then. To prepare you to for the historical data – let me say wine then does not always equal wine/alcohol today!
Why? Some wine in Old and New Testament times was unfermented and un-intoxicating! Professor Samuel Lee, of Cambridge University, says that yayin [Hebrew word] or oinos [Greek word] for (“mixed wine”) does not refer only to intoxicating liquor made by fermentation, but more often refers to a thick, un-intoxicating syrup or jam produced by boiling to make it storable. Boiling caused evaporation of the liquid. When the liquid was gone, the fermentation capacity was lost, and a storable type of paste was left. This was the most common way of storing wine because it was not as bulky as the liquid wine would be. So he concludes, “Mixed wine in ancient times was either intoxicating wine mixed with spices or more often a thick, unintoxicating syrup or jam produced by boiling to make it possible to be stored.
So, just to say they drank so I can isn’t valid. Now, what about #2?
- Fermented Wine
#1 – What was it they drank in Bible times?
In Bible time, there were two kinds of wine available:
On the first type, this was
– fresh grape juice
– boiled grape paste
But, the presence of intoxicating wine is everywhere in the scriptures. That’s why it is referred to 256 times. 199 times positive, 57 times negative
Now, a recent survey showed:
81 % of Roman Catholics drink
64 % of Protestants drink
We know drunkenness “anytime that the alcohol takes over the faculties of a person.”
The point is wine today is not necessarily the same as wine consumed in Bible times. Let’s look at fermented wine.
Usually diluted with water
Christianity Today, (6/20/75) Robert Stein: “The liquid wine which was used on a daily basis would be stored in large jugs called amphorae. From the amphora, they would draw out the pure unmixed wine and pour it into large bowls called kraters, where it was mixed with water. From these kraters, it would be then poured into the kylix, or cups. They never served wine directly from the amphora to the kylix without first being mixed with water in the krater. In other words, they didn’t serve unmixed wine. And according to history, the mixture could be anywhere from 20:1 to 3:1.”
Only uncivilized people drank it straight –
Unmixed was barbaric – Drinking unmixed wine was looked upon, even by unsaved people, as barbarian. Robert Stein in his article quotes Mnesitheus of Athens as quoted by Athenaeus: “The gods have revealed wine to mortals, to be the greatest blessing for those who use it aright, but for those who use it without measure, the reverse. For it gives food to them that take it and strength in mind and body. In medicine it is most beneficial; it can be mixed with liquid and drugs and it brings aid to the wounded. In daily intercourse, to those who mix and drink it moderately, it gives good cheer; but if you overstep the bounds, it brings violence. Mix it half and half, and you get madness; unmixed, bodily collapse.”
MacArthur Study Guide on Ephesians, (Living in the Spirit p. 10): “So, as a beverage, wine was always thought of as a mixed drink. The ratio of water might vary, but only barbarians drank it unmixed. Even a 1:1 mixture was considered to be “strong drink” and was frowned upon. The point is this: unmixed wine was unacceptable to that culture.
So what is the answer to “What was it they drank in Bible times?”
- Sometimes, unfermented grape juice
- Often, diluted wine
- Barbarians or those acting like it, only full strength wine
Quickly, let’s conclude with –
The answer to question #1 – Are we thinking about the same thing today as what they drank?
So, just to drink wine, beer and stronger because they did is not valid!
Now you may ask – is it a disease? No, God describes it as a chosen sin (1 Cor. 6:9). Just as sodomy is not a result of poor family life, it’s a choice.
So – drunkenness is a chosen sin that leads to physical deterioration and dependence.
Does God hate that sin? Yes. But He loves the sinner.
Ezk. 36:26 – wants to give new heart and enabling
Ps. 103 – wants to forgive, forget, and remove sin
Is. 48:18 – O had hearkened, Peace as river, Righteousness as waves
But so many (20 million) in USA take this dreadful imitation of peace, following a false road to happiness and forsaking God’s offer of casting all cares on Him to be cared for (1 Pet. 5:7).
& Questionable Things
In Romans 14 Paul explains how to co-exist with believers who have all different degrees of convictions that extend beyond what the Scriptures plainly say. Here is his explanation:
- Romans 14:1-13 In Christ we are under the Law of Liberty. We as believers don’t judge the convictions of others, instead, we receive them with understanding.
- v. 1: We as brothers & sisters will differ.
- v. 4: We each will stand before God to answer for ourselves, not others. Therefore, don’t judge those whose convictions differ from yours.
- v. 5: We must each be fully convinced in our own minds of what God has directed us to do.
- v. 6: We each serve God in what we do.
- v. 10: We must trust in Christ’s judgment, not our own.
- Romans 14:14-23 In Christ we are under the Law of Love. We are to intentionally build up one another and not intentionally grieve each other.
- Romans 15:1-7 In Christ we are to Bear Each other’s burdens, following Christ’s Example.
Questionable things: In deciding about whether or not to participate in any behavior that is doubtful, the following principles make a good checklist to follow.
- Expediency: Is this activity one that profits me for eternity or just for a moment? “All things are lawful for me,” Paul says, “but not all things are profitable,” or expedient (1 Cor. 6:12). Is what I want to do helpful and useful, or only desirable?
- Edification: Will this activity strengthen or weaken my spiritual life? Will I be built up and matured in Christ; will I become spiritually stronger? “All things are lawful, but not all things edify” (1 Cor. 10:23).
- Exaltation: Is this activity clearly described as a pathway to magnifying God? Will the Lord be lifted up and glorified in what I do? God’s glory and exaltation should be the supreme purpose behind everything we do. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
- Evangelism: Will this activity increase my evangelistic ability or decrease it? Is my testimony going to be helped or hindered? Will unbelievers be drawn to Christ or turned away from Him by what I am doing? Will it help me conduct myself “with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity” (Col. 4:5)?
- Example: Will others who seek to follow my example be helped or hindered by this activity? Are we setting the right example for others, especially for weaker brothers and sisters? If we emulate Christ, others will be able to emulate us, to follow our example (1 Tim. 4:12).
- Excess: Is this activity a weight that can trip me up that needs to be laid aside? Is the activity or habit necessary, or is it merely an extra that is not really important? Is it perhaps only an encumbrance that we should willingly give up (Heb. 12:1)?
- Emulation: Is this activity something that Jesus would do or not do? “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). If we are doing what Christ would do, our action not only is permissible but good and right. 
If….. it came in pill form, it would be called a tranquilizer. It would be available by prescription only. The prescription bottle would bear warning labels: “Causes drowsiness–do not take this drug while operating machinery.” “Do not use this drug if you are pregnant.” Since it effects every system in the body, it would be inadvisable to consume if you have any health concerns, especially diabetes, liver, or heart disease. You would be given only a small supply at a time. You would be cautioned to watch for potentially serious side effects, and advised to discontinue its use if you experienced any. Your dosage would be carefully monitored, and you would be watched for signs of abuse or addiction.
Instead, this drug, a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, is freely available, self-administered, and widely abused, regardless of potentially deadly short and long-term effects. It is addictive. It carries no warning labels, and its manufacturers spend millions yearly to promote its use.
What is it?
Alcohol…C2H5OH, ethanol, booze,
liquid courage, social lubricant…
What are the effects of alcohol?
The effects of alcohol are related to dose, rate of intake, body size and percentage of body fluid, expectations, social environment, physical conditions (disease or more common hormonal cycles or sleepiness can be factors), enzyme differences, concentration of alcohol in a drink and whether carbonated mixes were used.
Most individuals can tolerate one standard drink per hour with no significant impairment if of average weight and in good health. To make educated decisions about drinking, the following chart can help with estimating a blood alcohol level.
Please note: Do not use this chart to see how much you can consume before you are “legally drunk.” State Laws for DUI/DWI vary, but many states can arrest under-age drinkers for any Blood Alcohol Reading (BAL) or “of-age” drinkers whose driving is impaired but their BAL is under the legal limit which is 0.08 in North Carolina.
Calculation of Estimated Blood Alcohol Level (BAL)
Body Weight: Calculations are for people with a normal body for their height, free of drugs or other affecting medication and neither unusually thin nor obese.
|1 DRINK =||1.25 oz rum, rye, scotch, brandy, gin, vodka, etc.|
|=||1 12-oz bottle of domestic beer|
|=||3.5 oz fortified wine|
|=||5.5 oz unfortified/table wine|
Using the chart: Find the appropriate figure using the proper chart (male or female), body weight and number of drinks consumed. Then subtract the time factor (see Time Factor Table below) from the figure on the chart to obtain the approximate BAL. For example, for a 125-lb. woman who has had 4 drinks in two hours, take the figure .162 (from the chart for males) and subtract .030 (from the Time Factor Table) to obtain a BAL of .132%.
Time Factor Table
|Hours since first drink||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|Subtract from BAL||.015||.030||.045||.060||.075||.090|
Number of drinks
Number of Drinks
Alcohol first affects the most complex area (the frontal lobe) of the brain. This area controls higher functions of the brain such as judgment and social inhibitions (survival skills for group functioning). These complex functions are more sensitive to alcohol than the brain stem functions of respiration or heart rate. Therefore judgment and self control are the first abilities to be suppressed by alcohol. The following chart illustrates the effects of varying blood alcohol level (BAL).
|Blood Alcohol Level||Alcohol’s Effects on Thinking, Feeling, and Behavior|
|.02-.04||Few obvious effects; slight intensification of existing moods; some impairment of judgment or memory.|
|.05-.06||Feeling of warmth, relaxation, mild sedation, exaggeration of emotion and behavior; slight increase in reaction time, impaired judgment about continued drinking; visual and hearing acuity reduced; slight speech impairment; minor disturbance of balance.|
|.07-.09||More noticeable speech impairment and disturbance of balance; impaired coordination; feeling of elation or depression; definite impairment of judgment and memory; major increase in reaction time; may not recognize impairment. Legally intoxicated at .08 BAL.|
|.10-.13||Noticeable disturbance of balance; uncoordinated behavior; major increase in reaction time; increased impairment of judgement and memory.|
|.14-.17||Major impairment of all physical and mental functions; difficulty in standing, talking; distorted perception and judgment; cannot recognize impairment.|
|20-.25||Confused or dazed; major body movements cannot be made without assistance.|
|.30-.35||Minimal perception and comprehension; general suspension of cognitive abilities.|
Tolerance may play a part in the effects of alcohol and the above functions; however, tolerance is an indication of the body’s adjustment to regular drinking and is a warning sign of alcohol abuse. High tolerance can be an inherited function, which many researchers think is a sign of genetic predisposition to alcoholism
EFFECTS OF SHORT-TERM ALCOHOL ABUSE
Specific body functions and body organs can be influenced directly or indirectly by alcohol. Short-term effects include:
Sensation and Perception
- decreases in both visual and hearing acuity
- altered sensitivity to odors and taste
- reduced sensitivity to pain
- altered sense of time: time appears to pass more rapidly
- underestimation of speed of moving objects
- decreased fear/anxiety
- increased risk-taking behaviors
- increased likelihood of aggressive humor
- reduced inhibitions
- sleep disturbance and tiredness upon awakening
- increased urinary output due to the diuretic effect of alcohol on the pituitary hormones
- temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure; with higher dosages, decreased heart rate
- dilated peripheral blood vessels in arms and face. This blood vessel expansion leads to loss of body heat, while producing a feeling of added warmth. Hyperthermia can occur in cool water as well as cool air. (Starting at 50oF)
- constricted arteries supplying the heart, decreasing the supply of oxygen to the cells which may contribute to arrhythmia
- decreased ability of the blood to transport oxygen to the brain and muscles
- impaired performance, although individual susceptibility varies at Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) of 10% or below
- decreased balance
- interference with coordination, as in tracing a moving object
- slowed reaction time
- impaired ability to focus on two or more behaviors at a time
- temporary, acute physical and psychological distress following excessive consumption. Nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and anxiety are reminders of disrupted body functions that could not be felt while intoxicated.
- small doses may facilitate sexual activity by overcoming inhibitions. But while alcohol may provoke desire, even moderate amounts spoil the capacity to perform and respond.
- decreased levels of testosterone have been measured in young males after as few as 4-12 ounce beers.
- dehydration leads to less lubrication in the vaginal canal, which increases potential painful intercourse and condom breakage
Effects of Alcohol on Sexuality
|Women||Men||Women & Men|
|Small Dose||Increased enjoyment of foreplay; feelings of warmth; increased quality of orgasm||Increased arousal; control of premature ejaculation lost||Release of inhibitions; increased aggression; increased desire|
|Moderate Dose||Fewer or no orgasms; decreased quality of orgasms||Increased time needed for erection to form; difficulty maintaining erection; uncertain orgasm; decreased penile rigidity||Longer foreplay|
|Large Dose||No orgasms; lethargy; no lubrication||Erectile impotence, ejaculatory impotence; thoughtlessness; unpleasant or painful ejaculation; aggressiveness|
|Alcoholism||Loss of menstruation; frigidity; infertility||Loss of sexual satisfaction; erectile impotence; decreased testosterone; infertility; breast development; decreased body hair; shriveled testicles||Loss of sex drive|
Perhaps the most dangerous alcohol/drug interaction is related to synergism, in which the combined effect of two drugs taken together is greater than the sum of the effects of the two drugs alone. Mix alcohol, a CNS depressant, with another CNS depressant, and the pharmacologic effect on the body is multiplied or exaggerated. Sometimes the result is drowsiness and difficulty in walking, talking, driving, and thinking. Breathing and heart rate can be depressed to dangerous levels. Some combinations of alcohol with barbiturates, tranquilizers, and prescription painkillers can be fatal.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: MIXING DRINKS WITH OTHER DRUGS
Drug interaction is the phenomenon that occurs when one or more drugs present in the body alter the actions or effects of another drug present in the body at the same time. Some of the interactions may be minor and some disastrous. The consequence of the interaction is the important thing to remember.
Alcohol is primarily a central nervous system depressant. When combined with other drugs with similar depression action on the central nervous system, an additive or synergistic effect occurs. This is the most important type of interaction between alcohol and other drugs.
Selected Alcohol-Drug Interactions
|Drugs Interacting with Alcohol||Mechanism||Effect||Significance|
|Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Anacin-3, Panadol, etc.||Metabolism of drug or||risk of liver impairment||Moderate|
|Antidiabetic agents||Interfaces with glycogen production in the liver; enhances the effect of diabetic medicines||Increased low blood sugar||Moderate|
|Antihistamines (Benadryl, Actifed, & most over-the-counter cold medicines contain antihistamines)||Enhances the effect of antihistamines||sedation||Minor to moderate|
|Isoniazid (INH)||Metabolism of drug enhanced with use of alcohol||Moderate|
|Flagyl, griseofulvin, chloramphenicol||Hypotension, flushing, vomiting||Minor|
|Aspirin and salicylates||effect of medicine||damage to gastric mucosa||Moderate|
|Narcotic analgesics; Demerol, percodan, tylox, codeine, Tylenol #3, codeine cough syrups||effect of medicine||depression of central nervous system||MAJOR|
|Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, etc.||effect of medicine||Damage to gastric mucosa||Minor|
|Sedative-hypnotics: barbiturates, benzodiazepines, others||Metabolism of drug enhanced with acute alcohol intoxication||depression of central nervous system||MAJOR|
|Tranquilizers||effect of medicine||Impaired coordination and depression of central nervous system||Minor|
EFFECTS OF LONG-TERM ALCOHOL ABUSE
Prolonged, heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages can result in one or more serious, often life threatening consequences.
- infectious diseases
- nutritional deficiency
- liver disorders & diseases
- muscle disease
- nervous system diseases
- mental disorders
- endocrine system disorders
- cardiovascular diseases
- gastrointestinal system disorders
- alcohol/drug interactions and diseases
- deprivation of rapid eye movements (REM) or dreaming sleep, results in anxiety, chronic tiredness, and impaired concentration
- alcohol use may aggravate migraine sufferers’ tendency to vascular headaches
What are blackouts?
Blackouts are lapses in memory during intoxication; they are not a loss of consciousness. Whether lasting a few minutes or hours, blackouts are unpredictable but usually happen when the blood alcohol level is high. A blackout usually occurs after ingestion of large amounts of alcohol and for most social drinkers, it is a learning experience. Continued drinking patterns that produce blackouts indicate a high risk for alcohol problems.
The hangover is a mild manifestation of alcohol withdrawal. In the earlier stages, it is the all too familiar “hangover headache.” This is more likely related to vascular changes and has nothing to do with the brain. The brain itself has no pain receptors. So, any headache pain must be from the nerves surrounding the lining, skin, vessels, or muscles. Although the alcohol has been eliminated, the body’s chemical balance has been upset, digestive organs have been abused, and an overpowering fatigue is felt. There is a lack of consensus among researchers on the causes of hangovers. The explanations most frequently cited are described below.
What are the causes of a hangover?
Central Nervous System (CNS) Rebound
Alcohol has a depressant effect on the CNS. With abstinence, this depressant effect is removed and there is a “rebound” of sensitivity to stimuli. An area of the CNS particularly affected is the reticular activating system which oversees the general arousal level and CNS activity.
The congeners or chemicals added to color, flavor, preserve, or stabilize alcoholic beverages may cause headaches.
Alcohol suppresses the hormone regulating the amount of urine produced, therefore, too little of the hormone is released and the kidneys form excessive urine. The kidneys’ capacity to reabsorb water is diminished and water is excreted from the body. Therefore, intoxication causes the body to lose water (including vitamins and minerals). This produces the sensation of thirst of “cotton mouth.”
Depleted Body Blood Sugar/Glucose
Alcohol depletes the body of its blood sugar causing a hypoglycemic state. In this state there is a reduced concentration of blood sugar. The brain is deprived of its proper nourishment. Symptoms include hunger, weakness, nervousness, sweating, headache, and tremor.
Deprivation of Brain Oxygen
The brain is the organ most sensitive to alcohol. It also receives less oxygen when alcohol is present, which adds to the feeling of fatigue the following morning.
Stomach Irritant/Digestion Rebound
Alcohol is an irritant which produces the flow of gastric juices in the stomach lining, causing nausea and vomiting. The next morning, a “rebound effect” is produced as the stomach works extra hard to neutralize the gastric acid. This may cause an upset stomach.
Alcohol alters the neurochemical balance within the brain. Although some people fall asleep faster with a drink, alcohol depresses REM (Rapid Eye Movement or dreaming) sleep and causes more sleep disturbance later at night. REM sleep is an important component of a healthy sleep cycle. Even if people think they sleep well, the loss of REM sleep makes people want to sleep longer in the morning and would then feel tired during the day. Deprivation of REM sleep is what causes people to feel tired.
Alcohol is a vasodilator. It increases blood flow to the extremities. One reason for morning chills may be a rebound effect. As the blood vessels constrict, there is a reduced blood flow to the extremities, and therefore less warmth. These vascular changes have also been related to the hangover headaches. Migraine sufferers should avoid alcohol because use ma aggravate their tendency to vascular headaches.
Are there any cures for a hangover?
The simple cause is too much alcohol. The only prevention is to avoid drinking too much, too fast. There is no cure for a hangover. Once excessive drinking has taken place, only time will cure a hangover–none of the many popular home remedies have been shown to be cures.
Healthy Devil Online
Copyright © 1994-99 Duke University. All Rights Reserved.
 The original ideas for this study were based on an article from: From the NIV Study Bible, Introductions to the Books of the Bible, Proverbs Copyright 2002 © Zondervan. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1997.