Monday, September 13, 2010

One Stop Shop on Prov 23:31 and "When It Is Red"

As far as "when it is red" (Prov 23:31) being a term for alcoholic, this is not a new teaching. Besides the Bibsac article in my third post on the prohibition on alcohol, and the work of Hebrew scholar Stephen Reynolds, there is more below.

Here are some more links to look at. In my part three, I have the Bibsac article, which is excellent. You've got here and here and here and here. You also have here and here and here saying the same thing. You also have here and here and here.

Here is an interesting scientific explanation that ties in Proverbs 23:31. Here is another scientific presentation when that would have been appropo. Here is another scientific explanation.

Enjoy.

15 comments:

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Hi Pastor Brandenblogger,

None of this will matter to the social drinker/"Christian liberty" crowd. Literal interpretation of the Bible is only legitimate and "relevant" when it agrees with they already believe.

Micah said...

Oh the hermeneutical gymnastics employed to arrive at your conclusions on the use of alcohol. For a pastor who claims to rightly divide the Word of truth, this is slipshod. The naive may applaud, but the discerning can only chuckle at this rubber band of an interpretation.

God's Holy Word, when read literally and wholly, actually teaches us that alcoholic beverages are given to us as a blessing and can be used to help us rejoice in the precious treatment we receive from our loving Father. Ps. 4:7, Ps. 104:15, Prov. 3:10, Neh. 8:10, Ecc 9:7.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Readers,

Notice the use of rhetoric by Micah in making his point---no argument, at all, nothing to prove anything, just personal attack. He buttresses his desire for alcohol on personal attack of abstainers, indicative of the weakness of his position. Let that be a lesson, that this too is how the other side operates. They are mean-spirited and unloving. Know this too. The one wine position will contradict itself all over scripture. God will not deny Himself. Scripture will always harmonize with Scripture, and that is not the case with the one wine position. This, however, is also akin to what we see in 2 Peter 2 and 3, that is, one's position can easily be led by his own lust. He conforms his approach to the Bible to his lust. And to make room for the lust, he speaks evil of dignities. Alcohol drinking fits into the world and is also addictive. Taking it away is like taking the bowl of dogfood away from a dog---you're either going to be growled at, or you've got a fight on your hands.

The second paragraph, notice as well, is zero exegesis. He just lists verses that in every case can be explained easily from the two wine point of view.

Micah's comment is 100% rhetoric, all propaganda. Understand that.

Titus,

Micah's comment, case in point.

Gary said...

Micah,

Based on your personal exegetical study of the Hebrew and Greek words for "wine" and related words, would you kindly offer one verse where God sanctions and encourages the consumption of fermented beverages. I have never been able to find one, but perhaps your personal study has yielded results to buttress your view.

Just one, please!! Many of us have been waiting for a very long time for someone to come up with such a verse, so please don't keep us waiting too long.

Micah said...

My comments are not intended to be mean-spirited. I admit to sarcasm. Why? It is not quality interpretation to claim Proverbs 23:31 contains an explicit prescriptive statute for Christians to avoid alcohol. Thus my reference to gymnastics. You are swinging, flipping, twisting and rolling through the Bible without regard to its context. My "attack" is not on abstainers, but upon your interpretation of Scripture. I know and love many abstainers. One should not be so naive as to think my argument is weak because i make a case against yours. That is in fact the ultimate false rhetoric, Kent. Not to mention "speaking evil of dignities" comment. Really? I don't agree with your position, so I am equivalent with a false teacher/prophet. If we're going to talk rhetoric, pull the beam from your eye.

Starting with vs. 29, it is clear that vs 31 is part of a strong warning against the abuser of alcohol. You appear to come to the Bible with pre-conceived notions about alcohol. You do not interpret Scripture through its literal meaning, hence "it can be explained easily (explained away - i suppose) from the two wine point of view."
"Point of view" by definition would mean one has drawn a conclusion or opinion. That is fine to hold, but it is an opinion, deduction and conclusion.
However, I think a one wine point of view or even two is illogical. There were many alcoholic beverages mentioned in Scripture and they were used in a variety of environments. They were encouraged. They were blessed. They were accepted as a sacrifice. They were also warned against and prohibited in certain settings. Like any of God's created things, it is not the thing that is wrong, it is the use and/or abuse by sinful men that make it wrong.

This is a blog comment box, so i don't feel compelled to completely exegete a pro-alcohol position. But the fact is, I can. So don't assume I can't.
Overall my comments are in response to what i consider to be inaccurate and misleading teaching from Proverbs 23:31. If you can handle that charge, great, but to me your response sounded much like an attempt to shout louder than me. And i'm not shouting, just giving you an opposing point of view.

Kent Brandenburg said...

DMicah,

Abstainers are the naive and drinkers are the discerning---that's what you said. When scripture says don't even look at wine when it is alcoholic.

I don't assume you can exegete a pro-alcohol position. I've not seen a pro-alcohol position exegeted. Taken, yes, but not from exegesis. You may not feel compelled to defend your position, but it needs a defense, because it is not so obvious so as not to need one.

You are right that the existence of alcoholic beverage is not a sin. It's only a sin when we violate scripture related to it, which would include drinking it.

I come to my practice with a preconceived notion about alcohol that comes from scripture. I see repeatedly what the drinking of alcoholic beverage does to people's lives in the Bible, and then I see an outright prohibition of it in clear terms in Prov 23:31. I'm sure it's a blessing to drink products of the grape, but not alcohol.

How you are akin to 2 Peter 2 & 3 and the scoffers there is that you start with lust, like they did, and then base your theology upon that, creating space for it by attacking those who teach against it. In their case, they attacked the teachers of Christ's second coming because they didn't like entertaining the thought of endtime accountability for their lasciviousness. It's obviously the strategy that I was critiquing.

d4v34x said...

"...scripture says don't even look at wine when it is alcoholic."

Very possibly hyperbole in the context.

"I see repeatedly what the drinking of alcoholic beverage does to people's lives in the Bible"

Irrelevant as far as prescription goes.

"...you start with lust..."

Maybe you have personal knowledge of Micah's use of alcohol as a beverage, although I don't have to think that about him merely reading his posts here. At any rate, I'm an abstentionist personally and when advising others, lust isn't likely my motivation. But when you see a 100% prohibition in Prov. 23, I have to disagree.

Of course, the way I hear tell, the more people that disagree with you, the more likely you are to be right.

I'll get to discussing your google-book links on my lunch tomorrow. At least one doesn't say what you claim, and none of the first 3 or 4 say that reflexive "itself" actually refers to something other than the noun that pronoun refers to.

Kent Brandenburg said...

"Very possibly hyperbole in the context."

And do you have a point?

"Irrelevant as far as prescription goes."

His charge was that I'm coming to Prov 23 with a preconception. If you read scripture up to Prov 23 as it relates to alcoholic drink, a extra-scriptural preconception is not necessary. So it is relevant as to his particular charge.

"Maybe you have personal knowledge of Micah's use of alcohol as a beverage, although I don't have to think that about him merely reading his posts here."

I'm someone that believes it is lust. Consider James 1. God doesn't tempt with evil, but we are tempted when we are drawn away of our own what? So lust is the basis for sin. If God prohibits it, and he drinks anyway, I say it is lust. And when you point out the sin, he takes personal shots. That is akin to the attack on authority as it points out lust.

"Of course, the way I hear tell, the more people that disagree with you, the more likely you are to be right."

As you would know, that's rather faulty logic on your part to take that as a conclusion of my post from Jackhammer. The only point I made was that we shouldn't conclude that a majority is right, in light of scripture, when we look at historic theology.

"I'll get to discussing your google-book links on my lunch tomorrow. At least one doesn't say what you claim, and none of the first 3 or 4 say that reflexive "itself" actually refers to something other than the noun that pronoun refers to."

I'm not sure what you're talking about here. The reflexive is in "when it is red." You look at the very first commentary and it says "reddens itself" just like myself and others have said. I didn't look at the other ones because you already had this one wrong. I don't mean that in an unsympathetic way, just that you are wrong.

You've got a lot to think about here. And how you react to my answers will say a lot about what kind of discussion we could have here.

d4v34x said...

"And do you have a point?"

Yes, my point was that the "do not look" is very possibly hyperbolic rather than binding proscription based on the context and so might not be useful in the way you have employed it.

"His charge was that I'm coming to Prov 23 with a preconception."

And you answered that your preconception about any use of alcohol is based on Biblical narratives describing misuse of alchohol. No one disputes it is wrong to misuse alchohol. But avoiding misuse may not necessesitate no use.

"he drinks anyway"

I'm just saying I don't see where he comes out and says he drinks. While I abstain and advise it, I don't call myself a prohibitionist, so someone might assume I drink when I don't.

"rather faulty logic on your part"

Or a version of reductio ad absurdum. Anyway, "conservative evangelicals" or even plain old evangelicals (or for that matter CEs+Es+Fundies) are a minority.

"The reflexive is in 'when it is red.' You look at the very first commentary and it says 'reddens itself'"

Yet you (in your second article of the series you link at the beginning of the op) see this corroborrated in the Talmudic "'red' doesn't speak of the color of the yayin, but of the faces of the drinking men."

I will admit though I either misremembered or originally misunderstood your argument there. I had thought the entire thrust was the "maketh itself red" really meant that it makes their noses red (as the Talmud reference seems to indicate).

I hope this means we could have a positive sort of conversation.

Kent Brandenburg said...

First, if "look not" is hyperbolic, then what is the point of the hyperbole. If I'm talking to my kids about some piece of china I don't want broken, and say hyperbolically, "don't even look at it," I certainly mean don't touch it. And in the case of Prov 23:31, don't drink it. And I don't think it is clear that it is hyperbolic. If I see alcoholic beverage, I turn my head and don't look at it to honor this verse.

You don't have to have a negative view of alcohol from outside the Bible from merely personal preconceptions---a lot of damage is seen internally scripturally from it before we get to Prov 23:31. That's all I'm answering. Now it's a matter of believing me, oh thou lover of not judging motives---how about a little traffic coming my way?

Maybe he doesn't drink, so I did assume that from his defense of drinking.

We aren't in conflict on the minority-majority thing anymore, but I think it is a little more complex than what you're saying.

The whole point of the Talmudic reference is that even the Talmud says it means "alcoholic." The reflexive aspect to which you referred is about "when it is red"---see the bibsac article in post 3 (I did say part 3, not part 2).

I know the best three arguments of the moderationist--not in this order--1) The Deut argument about shakar being used in a feast, 2) The "much wine" argument, and 3) the Ps 104, makes the heart glad argument. I've answered them. I think they are a stretch. In essence, they are saying that God wants us to imbibe mind-altering, addictive substances that can fool us and destroy our families and society. They have to have "one wine" to have their position and that results in several impossible contradictions. And last, I don't get either substantive or any answers to my arguments, of which I have several here.

d4v34x said...

"what is the point of the hyperbole."

Another option is to warn against misuse.

"You don't have to have a negative view of alcohol from outside the Bible from merely personal preconceptions---a lot of damage is seen internally scripturally"

No question, and that's what I took you to mean previously. My only point about it is that the negative incidents related in Scripture help make the case for neither party as to whether Prov 23 equals a thou shalt not.

"even the Talmud says it means 'alcoholic.'"

The one-winers think all wine is alcoholic so by default they include that in Prov 23. They don't require any proof from the Talmud.

As far as the best three arguments statement, again you assume a priori a two wine view.

But if the best argument (checkmate, I believe you called it in the comments of your series) for a two wine view is that God, in the book of Proverbs, gives a "thou shalt not" about something He never addressed or restricted (if memory serves) in the Mosaic law, then two-wine seems on shakier ground than one.

Kent Brandenburg said...

My opinion, and I call it an opinion, but I think it's right, is that the one wine is more popular because booze is popular. Plus, as far as church growth, you just opened the door to all drinkers, a new demographic to help your church grow. And when someone asks you about it, you say, "Drink away, I have no problem with it, the Bible supports it." That's why I think it is more popular. I think I could prove it if I had the time and resources.

What the Bible says, on the other hand, is different. The Bible doesn't endorse or defend alcoholic beverage, but prohibits it.

"Look not" is a stronger statement than "drink not." And "look not" is a prohibition. You say it is hyperbole and therefore not valid as a command. That is explaining away scripture for something that you have zero basis for believing. You can only speculate on hyperbole. You certainly have no grammatical basis for it.

"Look not" has no connection to a warning against misuse. There would entirely different wording if it was warning against misuse. And then we do have the meaning of "when it is red." I say the Talmud said "alcoholic," and you come back with, the one winers think it's all alcoholic. But if it's all alcholic, then you don't need to designate wine as alcoholic to differentiate it from other wine. Checkmate.

You have to have me assuming something a priori. Let me explain, and this is how I handle all scriptural issues. I look at everything the Bible says to make my decision. I don't make a decision about the part until I look at the whole. It's easy to see that some yayin is not alcoholic and some yayin is. That's the picture to an unbiased person. If not, you've got contradictions.

If the best you've got is that there is no prohibition in Mosaic law, I think you're the one in trouble there. In a certain way, it treats Proverbs as less authoritative. I understand what you are saying---you want a better argument---but the bar should not be raised to require some Mosaic prohibition. That's you raising the bar for God.

d4v34x said...

"as far as church growth, you just opened the door to all drinkers, a new demographic to help your church grow"

I would never say that what you describe above doesn't happen, especially in cases where leaders say "drink all you want"-- something I would never say (not that I hold a NT church office, just saying).

As for the rest, your word is last.

Gary Webb said...

d4,
If all wine is alcoholic (according to the "one winers", how could new wine break old bottles? It is the result of fermentation that causes the skins to break.
Also, if alcoholic wine is blessed of God, why did He promise to kill any priest who drank wine & came into the Temple?

d4v34x said...

Brother Webb,

You mistake me for someone whose view necessitates I prove that all wine was alcoholic. Since I don't see a thou shalt not in Prov. 23, I need not. I do see more than enough in the entire scriptures about both alcohol and the decietfulness of sin and our own hearts to practice advise total abstinence, especially in light of the fact that our beverages today have higher alcohol content than perhaps any type of wine mentioned in the Bible.

I would be interested in hearing the chemistry/science you believe lies behind the fact the bottles you reference would break.