Posted by: Ety W. | May 5, 2008

Nor Enslaved to Much Wine

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How you react to the title of this post will largely depend upon your cultural background and denominational persuasion.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good… Titus 2:3 (NASB)

Some denominations are staunchly against drinking alcohol in any form, others not so much. Having grown up with an alcoholic mother, I know all too well the devastating consequences of alcohol addiction. However, I’m not going to debate drinking as a moral issue, rather, I want to take a closer look at what Paul meant when he wrote these words to Titus.

The Complete Word Study New Testament, is a fairly thick volume which gives the Strong’s reference number above each word in the text. In reading Titus 2:3, I see that there are four Greek words to look up:

Nor (not – KJV) – Strong’s 3361 – μη – me = qualified negation, not, nothing, without.

Enslaved (given – KJV) – Strong’s 1402 – δουλοω – douloo = bring into or be under bondage, become or make a servant.

Much – Strong’s 4183 – πολúς – polus = much, many, often, mostly, largely.

Wine – Strong’s 3631 – οινος –oinos = wine, literally or figuratively

Nothing profound with any of these.

I have heard a number of fiery, if not elaborate sermons on the subject of drinking. Most of them focused on the definition of wineand the consequences of drunkenness. Based on my own childhood experience of alcoholism in the family, I could sit there and give the nod of agreement. Even so, the teaching that struck the greatest chord was one I saw on television.

It was many years ago, so I don’t recall much of it, but Pat Robertson was teaching on the subject of addiction. He went back to Genesis 1:28, pointing out that Mankind was intended to have dominion over creation. With an addiction, creation has dominion over Man. This is out of order and was never God’s perfect plan for His creation.

It was at this point that I realized that drinking, smoking, pill popping, etc., are not a matter of “do’s & dont’s,” but rather a matter of fulfilling the purpose for which we were designed. Alcohol is a physically addictive substance; it can become anyone’s master. Therein lies the danger. The alcoholic is no longer free to make his or her own choices, everything revolves around getting the next drink.

I’ve already addressed addiction in a broader sense (see post on temperance), but Paul specifically mentions wine in Titus 2:3. Obviously this was a problem in his day. It continues to be a problem in our day too.

In context, he was talking about a character trait rather than the act of drinking. In order to be teachers, older women are to display spiritual maturity and strength of character. This is imperative because their example is what validates their teaching. Their lives are to demonstrate loyalty to one master only, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’ll leave you with this as a closing thought – Are you in a leadership position? Could you say that Titus 2:2-3 describes your character? If not, what needs to be corrected? Do you aspire to leadership? Which of the character traits in Titus 2:2-3 do you need to work on? And remember, we’re all working on something!Content copyright 2008 by If you find it anywhere else, it’s been stolen.


  1. Great post! I was teaching a group of ladies on this subject this week & I used some of your behavior checklist questions. Ironically, I’m often a younger woman, teaching those older than me, which can be a little weird. So much we all need to work on, whether in leadership or just being watched by others.

    I saw a quote somewhere about the gossiping & being given to wine … “Watch what goes into your mouth, and what comes out of your mouth.”

    Thanks for the Bible study information – I really enjoy your site.


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