The statement in 'The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible' notes, attached to Genesis 9, reads: Beware of the danger of drunkenness. We personally need to be very careful with strong drink. It is a stumbling block to many. Alcoholic drink is not wrong per se, but the Bible does clearly teach that drunkenness makes one unaware of what is happening. We must not misuse our bodies. Drunkennes is often linked to immorality and unseemly behavior. Therefore, respect the civil laws limiting alcohol consumption and guard yourself against ever becomimg intoxicated. [Emphasis mine]
1. "Alcoholic drink is not wrong per se".
2. Readers are to find out and then respect the local civil laws limiting alcohol consumption.
3. A Christian is only to be on their guard against being caught breaking the law on alcohol consumption and drunkenness.
4. This view of alcohol is a suitable subject for teaching at family worship, where children are present.
This exhortation to …respect the civil laws limiting alcohol consumption and guard yourself against ever becomimg intoxicated, is just plain silly.
Firstly, it can be seen as an exhortation to children, teenagers and adults as to when they can drink alcohol. There are varying age limits for doing so, across the English speaking world. For example, in the United Kingdom it is legal for a child from five years old and upwards to drink alcohol at home, with their parents or on other private premises. Is this the type of civil law that this Study Bible would have Christians to respect and obey? It is okay for Christians to give alcohol to their young children at home? How far does this license to drink booze go?
The official United Kingdom's chief medical officer's advice is that an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option, even though the civil law may permit a child aged five and upwards to drink at home.
What is permitted by the civil law may, and often does, contravene God's Word and plain common sense. It is Scriptural commands we are to firstly keep.
Secondly, the civil law will also have regard to making sure you don't get caught by the Police when drinking and driving. The legal limit for driving after having imbibed alcohol is England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. In Scotland, in keeping with most of western Europe, it is 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.
Although these are the legal limits, within the civil law, the advice is that you never drink and drive: Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive so the only safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are driving.
Therefore, even though it is within the limits of the civil law in the United Kingdom to drink and to drive, it is against all good advice to do so.
Yet we discover that this Study Bible advises people that they are merely to live within the confines of the civil law. Let's hope that people who drink, and read the Study Bible's advice, are somewhat wiser! Our safety could depend on it!
3. Guard only against being caught and being intoxicated. Are these the only two warnings that could be given on this subject of drinking alcohol from this incident involving Noah?
Considering that even small amounts of alcohol affect a person's ability to function, in many areas of life, surely there is more to warn against than this. Or would that impinge upon the license for drinking booze that many in the Reformed camp want to defend and maintain?
Alcohol causes the brain to take longer to receive messages from the eye; processing that information becomes more difficult and instructions to the body's muscles are delayed resulting in slower reaction times. To merely say: Therefore respect the civil laws limiting alcohol consumption and guard yourself against ever becomimg intoxicated, isn't even sound medical advice, never mind acceptable spiritual counsel.
The Bible has a simple maxim: 'Abhor' and 'abstain' from all appearance of evil, cf. Romans 12:9: 1 Thessalonians 5:22. There is no greater present day evil than alcohol and the alcohol industry!
Are we to teach our children that while it is not acceptable to take/abuse drugs, such as: cannabis, cocaine, heroin and a host of others, it is perfectly acceptable to imbibe the most abused and widely available drug of all, namely alcohol?
What are we to say to children and young people in explaining and defending this position? Would it be along the lines of - never worry son/daughter, this is neither hypocrisy or double standards! This is Christian