Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

All quotations from the Scriptures will be from the Authorised Version - the best and most accurate English translation of the Scriptures.

Please see sermons down the left hand column of the Blog about why the Authorised Version is the best and most accurate English translation of the Scriptures

and why we reject the many perversions of the Scriptures, including those so beloved of many neo-evangelicals at present such as ESV & NKJV.

Beware of the Errors in The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible! 
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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible justifies drinking alcohol

If Christians were to read the following statement justifying the drinking of alcohol, especially the words underlined, without knowing where they came from, I wonder what their first reaction would be? This is especially applicable to Free Presbyterians, who hold to a Temperance position on the consumption of alcohol.

The statement 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.

It will be hard for many to fathom that this kind of statement is found in 'The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible'. These words are located in conjunction with Genesis ch 9, dealing with Noah planting a vineyard, subsequently becoming drunk with the wine that was made, and then leaving himself vulnerable to Ham's sinful desires.

To be precise these words, condemning drunkenness, yet justifying the drinking of alcohol, are to be found in the additional section entitled: Thoughts for Personal/Family Worship: Chapter 9, which comes after the footnotes attached to Genesis ch 9.

There is another note on Ecclesiastes 9:7 that would seem to be in keeping with the position outlined above. The verse reads: Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. The note in the Study Bible reads: God has commanded us to enjoy what He has given for life, and He is pleased (accepteth) with that obedience.

But then, as we well know, there are many in the Calvinist/Reformed camp who see nothing wrong with consuming alcohol or the 'Devil's Buttermilk' [The name Dr Paisley used to give to alcohol]. They'll probably be out in their droves to defend and support this position! This teaching on Genesis ch 9, in 'The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible', is, sadly, a reflection of this position within the Calvinist/Reformed camp. There are others who would like to adopt their ways! Now that would be a backward step, especially for the Free Presbyterian Church!
An Anti - Temperance Position
'The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible' is clearly, and at an early stage in the whole volume, setting itself against the Temperance position. Whether Christians should drink, or not, is always a 'live' issue. However, this Study Bible is clearly in the 'anti-temperance', 'it's alright for Christians to drink', camp! It is not even taking a neutral position and refusing to commit itself either way. It does not acknowledge that this is a contentious issue among Christians. It is firmly against the Temperance position, with respect to alcohol consumption. Whatever else may be said about alcohol in the rest of the Study Bible, it will be within the context of this statement, at the end of the notes for Genesis ch 9.

In reading the Study Bible's commentary, in this place, the following points need commenting upon: 
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.

The writer of these notes, in this place, may also be seeking to make a distinction between wine and strong drink. Knowing some of the views among those in the Calvinist/Reformed camp, it would not be surprising if this were so.

Each of these points are highly questionable. These points will be considered in subsequent posts on the Blog. Suffice to say, for now, that this is a highly worrying and regrettable position for 'The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible' to adopt with respect to the issue of 'drinking'.

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible is adopting a most foolish position here, in giving license to Christians, especially young Christians to drink. The position adopted by 'The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible' will do untold harm in coming days. A position contrary to that of the Free Presbyterian Church.

By extension the same line of argument could be taken for smoking and drug taking, among other social evils, done in moderation of course and within the civil laws of the land!

It is worth remembering that drug taking will mark the end times, prior to the coming of the Saviour. Cf. Revelation 9:20,21: And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts & Revelation 18:23: And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

One of these marks is sorceries or 'enchantment with drugs' as the word means. It is the Greek word we get 'pharmacy' from, in the English language. Alcohol is a drug, and a drug that is highly addictive and lethal. Alcohol is the most widely used, and abused, drug in existence today! Yet this Study Bible is justifying the partaking of this drug. Simply unbelievable!

The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster has spent the last 64 years of its existence taking a wise contrary position to this statement! This justification of drinking in the Study Bible is sowing serious seeds of confusion!

To be continued…


robert louis dabney said...

not only does the bible not recommend abstinence from alcohol, it actually recommends drinking it!

deut 14:26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

judges 9:13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

psalm 104:15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.

you could post more verses like these approving drink as a gift from god as well as many verses which condemn drunkenness. don't forget jesus turned water in to wine and wine is the drink used for the lords supper. not grape juice.

so once more its simple pettiness on your part to desperately find error with this bible and specifically with anything dr beeke is doing. in doing so you expose your unbiblical, anti-scriptural stance on drinking wine and alcohol. you stand opposed to the bible. go read romans 14 again. you are judging this man over his meat and drink and the kingdom of god is not meat and drink.

Rev Brian McClung said...

robert louis dabney

Your point labours under the disadvantage of a false assumption and then creates a contradiction!

The false assumption is that these verses are all dealing with alcoholic beverages. That is a totally unwarranted assumption to make. This is not always the case in the Bible. For example, there are numerous times when the word 'wine' stands simply for the 'grapes' growing on the vines in the field, as in the well known biblical expression 'corn and wine', cf. Genesis 27:28,37 and numerous other places in the Old Testament.

There are other times when the word wine refers to nothing more than freshly pressed grape juice, cf. Genesis 40:10,11: And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. What the chief butler pressed into Pharaoh's cup was pure grape juice!

Yet this word translated 'grapes' in Genesis 40:10,11 is translated as 'wine' in Hosea 3:1: Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. Again the term wine can therefore be taken to refer simply to freshly pressed grape juice in the Bible.

By virtue of making this false assumption you create a contradiction in the Word of God. How can the Bible both commend the use of 'wine' and at the same time condemn the use of 'wine'? Does the Bible not agree with itself? Has God got into a muddle on this issue and can't make up His mind? Does He inspire one writer to extol the virtues of alcohol and at the same time inspire another writer to warn about the harms of alcohol? Which is it to be?

I explain this contradiction by making a difference between those occasions when the Bible is speaking of wine as 'alcoholic drink' and those occasions when it is speaking of wine as 'grape juice'.

How do you explain the contradictory statements on 'wine' in the Bible?

This isn't pettiness at all. The Free Presbyterian Church has been preaching against the evils of drink and drinkers since its inception. Here is a flavour of that preaching - www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=9191019113810

Brian McClung

Anglichan said...

Rev McClung,

You ask, ' How can the Bible both commend the use of 'wine' and at the same time condemn the use of 'wine'? '

The answer is, in the same way that God gives meat for consumption [Gen 9 v 3] but condemns gluttony. Proverbs 23 v 20 'Be not among winebibbers;
among riotous eaters of flesh: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.'

Rev Brian McClung said...


I don't think you are comparing like with like in your reply. You are comparing 'meat' with 'wine'. However, where does the Bible speak about the evils of 'meat' per se? The Bible certainly speaks about the evils of 'wine' separately and distinctly from drunkenness.

Brian McClung

Anglichan said...

Rev McClung wrote,

'The Bible certainly speaks about the evils of 'wine' separately and distinctly from drunkenness.'

If that statement is true then why does God have to warn about the sin of drunkenness if even the drinking [and, indeed, the making] of alcohol is forbidden? Isn't the first prohibition enough?

However, rather than discuss this topic further, I'd really much prefer that we finish our discussion of your blog post of 12th March entitled,'Peter is the Rock upon which the Church is built.' It's been 18 days since I first posted on that subject and I think it's time we drew that to an end, don't you?

Rev Brian McClung said...


I think there is a simple answer to your query - drunkenness is an additional and greater sin, to being merely deceived by alcohol. You can be deceived yet not be drunk.

Much the same way as the Lord warns against worldliness and then outright backsliding. If your argument stood up then why warn against backsliding at all, as the first prohibition against worldliness would be sufficient? Evidently God doesn't think so!

As for your last paragraph, have I missed uploading a comment from yourself? Maybe you should have a read at Dr Beeke's Blog where he has announced that they are changing the Study Bible and ditching the interpretation of Peter being the rock.

Brian McClung

Bill said...

Your comments seem to indicate you do not have a high view of scripture. Why can't you accept what the scripture says even if you don't like it. Christ changes water into wine. It is a fact and it cannot be debated. Live with it whether you like it or not. By the way Michael Barrett is the OT editor of the Reformation Heritage Study Bible. He is a Free Presbyterian minister. He is an abstainer by choice and no drunkard. Even he has the discernment to properly reflect in the notes what the scripture actually says rather than trying to re-write something. A high view of scripture is necessary. I would suggest you adopt it!

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of this stud bible and I am astonished at some of statements contained in the study notes not least it's foolish and woefully incompetent and destructive remarks regarding the use of alcohol are these men so inept in their ability to see the obvious ?

1 Peter 1.13 considers the matter of being sober in the faculty of the mind. 1 Thess 5 v 6-8 communicates the same principle as Peter does. Sobriety was an issue that enabled the mind to function at its very best, something that is especially incumbent on leaders but also on believers, who are warned to be sober, and vigilant. This demands a mental acumen that is not influenced, dampened or hindered to any degree by the powerful alcoholic drugs the world now offers. The majority of which immediately retard the mind and impair its capacity to varying degrees, especially spirits which are many times more powerful than what was available in old or New Testament times . These apostolic commands cannot be obeyed by even partaking of one of the many now strong and potent drinks that far outweigh anything of bible times esp given that it was only barbarians in the Roman world who drank unmixed wine .Experts in the medical field have now said that only a small glass of wine is enough to put a person over the drink/drive limit because of its retarding and hindering effect on the brain. This leaves no room for moderation, whatever that means, especially when it is made as a statement and never defined, and is subject to abuse by church members.

Thanks for exposing this woefully inept study bible I cannot believe that such nonsense is being peddled by people who should know better. Esp on alcohol and justification by faith .Dr Peter Masters has also written a good treatment of why believers should abstain from alcohol.

Nathan McDonald

Lmmsr said...

Just read Dr Beeke's blog regarding the errors that were made in the study bible, eg "Peter being the rock" . I am so glad that you and a few others where able to point out these errors in this study bible and that Dr Beeke is changing the next lot of study bibles. Well done and God Bless you and the others for standing true to Gods word.

Rev Brian McClung said...


Can you explain a little further your point about a high view of Scripture. What is a high view and what is a low view?

Brian McClung

bill said...

Holding a high view of Scripture means taking scripture as it is without adding or detracting from it. You should never try to impose your own personal opinions/beliefs on scripture to make it fit your personal scheme. Let scripture speak for itself even if you cannot understand it or even agree with it. If you personally believe that any alcoholic beverage is a sin for you, then dont drink it! However you cannot impose that as scriptural on others who dont hold the same scruple as you do. When you legislate where God has not you are anti-nomian and legalisitc. You have refused the sufficiency of God's law and replaced it with your own. Roman Catholics do it with their priests. They forbid them to marry and think they are being "more holy" because they have gone further than scripture requires. Scripture says marriage is honorable! They taken a low view of scripture and replaced truth with opinion. They are saying it is not good enough as it is. I am just asking that you hold up the integrity of scripture no matter what your own opinions are.

Lmmsr said...

The more I read about these errors the more shocked I get. Especially on the drinking alcohol post in KJV study bible. I have also been shocked by reading Ministers on Facebook approving this study bible and basically condeming the ones who oppose this book even to the point of expressing their comments and I quote ". - in many areas of life the negative element is a minority - hence the need to shout so loud to be heard and so long to be listened to. Contrast this with the peaceful but sure work of the Spirit (Isaiah 42:2-3). ". Another quote- " I wonder if some of the critics, will show the same grace and withdraw their comments and judgement, and make a public apology for their presuming evil intent in the publishers!!" the reply to the above quote was -" there is always hope- but I doubt it. What has happened to these Free Pres ministers . I am a member of a free church and the minister of that church is included in one of these quotes , uses NIV says it's easier to understand but not in the pulpit I was told. At the moment I am praying for Pastor Ovadal, Ivan Foster and yourself that God in his mercy will open their eyes to the heresies in the KJ.V study bible. (Of which I purchased) then started checking out Dr Beeke ! well I could be here all night talking about his ref500 associates but you are all more intelligent than I am .i am just a pensioner who stayed in the Free Church because I loved their stand and the KJV version. The strictness, the morals.May God bless us all in this battle for the truth. We may be in the minority but God is on the throne and will help us through. Ps thank you for accepting my request for future emails xx Lmmsr

Rev Brian McClung said...


You don't seem to have followed what I have said. I have said that there is no comparison between alcohol in the Bible and the alcohol of today.

Therefore you can't use what Scripture may have said about alcohol in Bible times to justify drinking today. When Scriptures that we are to abhor evil and flee from it I believe we should do that.

Booze is such an evil. That is taking a high view of Scripture.

Brian McClung