A Little Wine for Your Stomach

There are plenty of verses in the Bible that celebrate wine.

Psalm 104 says that wine is a gift from God to “gladden our hearts.”

Proverbs 3:9-10 claims wine is a blessing for honoring the Lord with our gifts and tithes. Our vats will “overflow with new wine.”

Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:6-10) , and, of course, Jesus himself instituted one of our holiest rituals using wine to represent his own blood.

Granted, there are also plenty of warnings in the Bible about the dangers of overindulging, as well as cautionary tales from some of our most beloved characters when they’ve had too much.

“No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

1 TIMOTHY 5:23

Noah sprawled out naked on the grass (Genesis 9:20-23) and one has to wonder if David had had one too many when he went out dancing in a loincloth in front of the arc of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:14).

Like so many things in life, a little is good…a lot…not so much.

But let’s see how Paul’s advice to Timothy about taking a little wine for the sake of his stomach holds up.

A recent 2019 study by British researchers showed that wine drinkers had higher levels of good bacteria in their gut, and a more diverse microbiome in their gut than non-red wine drinkers.

The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that play an important role in human health. An imbalance of ‘good’ microbes compared to ‘bad’ in the gut can lead to a reduced immune system, weight gain or high cholesterol. A person’s gut microbiome with a higher number of different bacterial species is considered a marker of gut health.

The power of red wine lies in the polyphenols (concentrated in the grape skins) that help grow the good gut bacteria.

Good news for those who are not fans of red wine: you can get your polyphenols from berries, flaxseeds and (best of all) chocolate.

Science does bear out Paul’s words to Timothy to take a little (key word “little”) wine for the sake of his stomach as wise advice.

Once again, we realize that the Bible is good for us…on so many levels.

Note: There are health risks associated with drinking. Too much alcohol can damage your liver and alcohol consumption is linked with a higher risk of certain kind of cancers. (If you think you have an addiction to alcohol, help is available. Call 1-800-662-4357, the national helpline for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.)


Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.


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