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1 Timothy 5:23 – a sip of whine

14-06-2024 - Posted by Hans

No longer drink water only, but be using a sip of wine for your stomach and you frequent infirmities

There appears to be no direct connection between this recommendation and the previous one. Or it could be that the issues that occurred in Ephesus were physically ‘heavy on Timothy’s stomach’, but this is not evident from anything else. One thing is clear: Timothy had stomach problems and was often weakened.

Most translations say that Timothy would no longer drink water alone, but the word for “alone” is missing from the original text. Literally, Paul’s advice is that Timothy should not drink water from now on. That’s a harsh word, but it may well be that the water in Ephesus was quite polluted. Wine in itself is not better for a weak stomach than water, but of course it is if it concerns spoiled water.

This verse deals exclusively with drinking wine for medical reasons. In any case, this concerns “little wine” and not excessive drinking, which Paul previously warned about (3:3,8). Nowhere in Scripture is there any protest against drinking wine as such, on the contrary (Judg. 9:13; Eccl. 10:19). Wine is a product of God’s good creation that we can enjoy with gratitude (1Tim.4:3-5)!