The idea that the word wine in the Bible sometimes means an unintoxicating beverage is without any sufficient foundation. Some men have written to that effect, but no man who is a thorough Hebrew or Greek scholar, as far as I know, at all takes any such position. It seems to me a great pity that advocates of the great cause of total abstinence should take up so utterly untenable a position. The pure wine of Palestine, in our Lord’s time, taken as was the custom with a double quantity of water (a man who ‘drinks unmixed,’ among the Greeks, meant a hard drinker), and used in moderation, was about as stimulating as our tea and coffee, and was used by the Saviour and by others just as we use them. The case is altered now, for such pure and mild wines would be very hard to get, and they are not needed because we have tea and coffee, and their use would tend to encourage the use of distilled liquors, which are so much more powerful and dangerous. Therefore it is better to abstain from the use of wine for our own sake and as an example to to others.
J. A. B. to B. W. N. Simms on Nov. 28, 1894 cited in A. T. Robertson, Life and Letters of John A. Broadus (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1910), 426-427.
Fascinating! Brian, I know you’ve read this before, but another interesting source on Broadus (and Boyce’s) view on prohibition is in Will’s book.
Wills, Gregory A. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 176-179.