Original Research

Paul’s teaching on the use of alcohol and its implications for the church in Nigeria

Solomon O. Ademiluka
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2571 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2571 | © 2020 Solomon O. Ademiluka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 November 2019 | Published: 23 November 2020

About the author(s)

Solomon O. Ademiluka, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The topic of alcohol consumption is very relevant in contemporary Nigeria not only because alcohol is heavily consumed in the country, but because it is also commonly abused. Relating the issue of alcohol to Nigerian Christians is also significant, because the question of the proper Christian attitude to alcohol is always a public discourse; and whereas most Christians are not knowledgeable on the accurate teaching of the Bible on alcohol consumption, most denominations do not have any faith-based statement on it. Hence, the article examined the implications of Paul’s teaching on alcohol for the church in Nigeria regarding a Christian attitude to alcohol consumption. The target groups are the church in Nigeria, and Nigerian Christians who are confused regarding the correct Christian attitude to alcohol consumption. The article employs the exegetical and descriptive methods. It found that the Greek word oinos (wine) in the New Testament (NT) refers to fermented grape juice; this was very commonly used and was usually well diluted with water before drinking, in order to reduce its alcohol content. The article also discovered that Paul did not command total abstinence from alcohol. He only warned Christians in general and church leaders specially against drunkenness. The relevance for Nigerian Christians therefore resides in the context of widespread alcohol abuse, which is a challenge to the church. The article recommends that the church should develop a Bible-based theology in her attitude to alcohol. In line with Paul’s teaching, rather than ordering total abstinence, the programme should encourage Christians to avoid drunkenness.

Keywords

oinos; Paul; drunkenness; the church; Nigeria

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