New American Standard Bible
No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.
King James Bible
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
Darby Bible Translation
Drink no longer only water, but use a little wine on account of thy stomach and thy frequent illnesses.
World English Bible
Be no longer a drinker of water only, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities.
Young's Literal Translation
no longer be drinking water, but a little wine be using, because of thy stomach and of thine often infirmities;
1 Timothy 5:23 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Drink no longer water - There has been much difficulty felt in regard to the connection which this advice has with what precedes and what follows. Many have considered the difficulty to be so great that they have supposed that this verse has been displaced, and that it should be introduced in some other connection. The true connection, and the reason for the introduction of the counsel here, seems to me to be this: Paul appears to have been suddenly impressed with the thought - a thought which is very likely to come over a man who is writing on the duties of the ministry - of the arduous nature of the ministerial office. He was giving counsels in regard to an office which required a great amount of labor, care, and anxiety. The labors enjoined were such as to demand all the time; the care and anxiety incident to such a charge would be very likely to prostrate the frame, and to injure the health. Then he remembered that Timothy was yet but a youth; he recalled his feebleness of constitution and his frequent attacks of illness; he recollected the very abstemious habits which he had prescribed for himself, and, in this connection, he urges him to a careful regard for his health, and prescribes the use of a small quantity of wine, mingled with his water, as a suitable medicine in his case. Thus considered, this direction is as worthy to be given by an inspired teacher as it is to counsel a man to pay a proper regard to his health, and not needlessly to throw away his life; compare Matthew 10:23. The phrase, "drink no longer water," is equivalent to, "drink not water only;" see numerous instances in Wetstein. The Greek word here used does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament.
But use a little wine - Mingled with the water - the common method of drinking wine in the East; see Robinson's Bibliotheca Sacra, 1:512, 513.
For thy stomach's sake - It was not for the pleasure to be derived from the use of wine, or because it would produce hilarity or excitement, but solely because it was regarded as necessary for the promotion of health; that is, as a medicine.
And thine often infirmities - ἀσθενείας astheneias - Weaknesses or sicknesses. The word would include all infirmities of body, but seems to refer here to some attacks of sickness to which Timothy was liable, or to some feebleness of constitution; but beyond this we have no information in regard to the nature of his maladies. In view of this passage, and as a further explanation of it, we may make the following remarks:
(1) The use of wine, and of all intoxicating drinks, was solemnly forbidden to the priests under the Mosaic law, when engaged in the performance of their sacred duties; Leviticus 10:9-10. The same was the case among the Egyptian priests. Clarke; compare notes on 1 Timothy 3:3. It is not improbable that the same thing would be regarded as proper among those who ministered in holy things under the Christian dispensation. The natural feeling would be, and not improperly, that a Christian minister should not be less holy than a Jewish priest, and especially when it is remembered that the reason of the Jewish law remained the same - "that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and clean and unclean."
(2) it is evident from this passage that Timothy usually drank water only, or that, in modern language, he was a "tee-totaller." He was, evidently, not in the habit of drinking wine, or he could not have been exhorted to do it.
(3) he must have been a remarkably temperate youth to have required the authority of an apostle to induce him to drink even a little wine; see Doddridge. There are few young men so temperate as to require such an authority to induce them to do it.
(4) the exhortation extended only to a very moderate use of wine. It was not to drink it freely; it was not to drink it at the tables of the rich and the great, or in the social circle; it was not even to drink it by itself; it was to use "a little," mingled with water - for this was the usual method; see Athaeneus, Deipno. lib. 9: x. 100:7.
(5) it was not as a common drink, but the exhortation or command extends only to its use as a medicine. All the use which can be legitimately made of this injunction - whatever conclusion may be drawn from other precepts - is, that it is proper to use a small quantity of wine for medicinal purposes.
(6) there are many ministers of the gospel, now, alas! to whom under no circumstances could an apostle apply this exhortation - "Drink no longer water only." They would ask, with surprise, what he meant? whether he intended it in irony, and for banter - for they need no apostolic command to drink wine. Or if he should address to them the exhortation, "use a little wine," they could regard it only as a reproof for their usual habit of drinking much. To many, the exhortation would be appropriate, if they ought to use wine at all, only because they are in the habit of using so much that it would be proper to restrain them to a much smaller quantity.
(7) this whole passage is one of great value to the cause of temperance. Timothy was undoubtedly in the habit of abstaining wholly from the use of wine. Paul knew this, and he did not reprove him for it. He manifestly favored the general habit, and only asked him to depart in some small degree from it, in order that he might restore and preserve his health. So far, and no further, is it right to apply this language in regard to the use of wine; and the minister who should follow this injunction would be in no danger of disgracing his sacred profession by the debasing and demoralizing sin of intemperance.
LibraryThat, Namely, Befalleth them which in Undisciplined Younger Widows...
26. That, namely, befalleth them which in undisciplined younger widows, the same Apostle saith must be avoided: "And withal they learn to be idle; and not only idle, but also busy bodies and full of words, speaking what they ought not."  This very thing said he concerning evil women, which we also in evil men do mourn and bewail, who against him, the very man in whose Epistles we read these things, do, being idle and full of words, speak what they ought not. And if there be any among them who …
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.
Book ix. Epistle i. To Januarius, Bishop of Caralis (Cagliari).
Epistle xxxi. To Cyriacus, Bishop.
Preaching (I. ).
But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.
1 Timothy 3:8
Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,
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