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"Be Not Given To Much Wine" (Tit. 2:3)

Many times in the world we find people confused about their “role.” Society has tried to redefine the roles of men and women, and even some religious groups have done a poor job concerning what men and women are to do. God is the creator of all things (Genesis 1-2), the Bible claims to be His word (and there is sufficient proof to believe that the scriptures are the word of God), so we may turn to the sacred writings to learn about the role of men and women.

One passage that does a good job of summarizing what men and women should do is the second chapter of Titus. Here are the first five verses in the second chapter of Titus:

"But speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine: 2 that aged men be temperate, grave, sober-minded, sound in faith, in love, in patience: 3 that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; 4 that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 (to be) sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed: 6 the younger men likewise exhort to be sober-minded:"

How should people get along with one another? How should people act towards one another? These verses give us specific information that is easy to follow. In this blog article we want to concentrate on just one item: “enslaved to much wine.” Paul said “aged women” are to be “reverent in demeanor” and not “enslaved to much wine.” The KJV and the NKJV says “not given to much wine.” NIV translators chose “addicted to much wine.”

The key term behind these translations is the Greek word douloo. Readers may be interested in looking at some of the other places this term occurs in the New Testament. For instance, the word is used in Acts 7:6 and there is translated “bondage.” Peter used this word in 2 Pet. 2:19 when he described the “bondservants of corruption.” Paul used it twice in Rom. 6 to describe “servants of righteousness” (verse 18) and “servants to God” (Rom. 6:22). It is wrong for Christians to be slaves to booze or anything else that is addictive.

Someone might say, “I know that being ‘given to wine’ is wrong, but what if someone just ‘drinks a little.’ Is this okay? What is usually meant by this is “social drinking.” Is it okay for a Christian to be a “social drinker?”

The expression “not given to much wine” does not justify drinking an amount of alcohol that is less than an addictive amount. This is easily demonstrated by a parallel expression. If we are told it is wrong to be “addicted to speeding,” that does not mean we are allowed to “speed a little bit.” If the Bible said we cannot be “addicted to lying” or “given to lying,” that would not mean it is okay to “lie a little.” This expression means the subject being discussed in inconsistent with the Christian faith and must be avoided.

Imagine someone saying, "Do not be addicted to illegal drugs."  Would this mean it is permissible to use illegal drugs occasionally?  The expression in Titus 2:3 means Christians are to leave alcohol alone.  It is part of the world and its lusts, and Christians are to live a life so they are like "salt and light."