Is there a verse in the Bible that says “A little wine is good for the stomach”. Does this verse encourage the drinking of alcoholic beverages?
There is no verse in the Bible with this wording, but this is a common distorted saying among the people.
St. Timothy, the bishop and disciple of St. Paul the apostle, suffered from many ailments in his digestive system, and it was also said that he had dropsy. The apostle prescribed to him not to drink much water and to take; as a treatment for his special condition; a little wine, so he said to him “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” (1 Tim. 5:23).
We notice here that we have a specific patient, who has a particular disease, needs a special treatment suitable for his condition in a time medical sciences had not developed as it is nowadays and at that time wine was used as medicine.
Then the Bible did not give a general ruling that a little of wine is good for the stomach but the apostle gave a treatment for a specific condition.
So if you had the same condition as Timothy and were in the same time, this advice would be suitable for you. Nowadays, even if you have the same disease of St. Timothy medical sciences will offer you the most recent advances in remedies.
Notice, in the parable of the good Samaritan, that when he found a wounded man by the road, “he bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine” (Luke 10:34). The alcohol in the wine was used as an antiseptic to control bleeding.
So all what we understand from the advice that was given to St. Timothy is that:
The wine was prescribed as a treatment and not as a pleasure and only for a special case.
This is also a matter of conscience; does every one who partake of it now, take it only as a treatment and has no other suitable treatment except it?
We are speaking about wine as a treatment. The subject of wine and alcoholic beverages in detail is not the question.