1Timothy 5:21-25 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities. Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise, also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
‘That thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.’ Six commands to Timothy (continues): Drink no longer water only or altogether, but mix a little wine with it for your stomach’s sake to strengthen your body (5:23). Greeks often mixed water with wine, about one part wine and two to three parts water. It was held that constantly drinking water injured the stomach. Timothy’s father was a Greek (Acts 16:1) and he had been used to wine, but because of Christianity, he had continued to abstain from it. Paul here permits him to use a little wine [non-alcoholic] mixed with water for his health. The advice was dietetic. We need not suppose, however, that Paul’s use of the word wine means that Timothy partook of anything intoxicating.
It must be understood that the Bible refers to two kinds of wine – the fermented or intoxicating kind, called strong drink (Pro. 20:1; Isa. 5:11, 22; 24:9; 28:7; 29:9), and the unfermented or non-intoxicating kind like grape juice. Even juice in the cluster was called wine in those days. In Isaiah 65:8 we read, “the new wine is found in the cluster,” and we can be sure this would not be the kind to make anyone drunk (Gal. 5:19-21; 1Cor. 6:9-11).
The water situation may have had something to do with this advice to Timothy also. In Asia Minor, the water came mainly from cisterns which became stagnant at certain seasons.
‘Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.’ The sins and good works of some are manifest now because they are openly done, and the sins and good works of others are done in secret and will not be made manifest until the judgment (5:24-25). Consequences for all sin will however be meted out in this life already, and no one should ever think that anyone ‘gets away’ with sin – read Psalms 37 and 73 in this regard.