Alcohol and Demon Rum

Alcohol use has figured prominently in the discussion of faith and health though the years, and religion was a major driver in the prohibition movement. Today, alcohol causes a lot of grief, but it seems a brewery or winery is on every corner. What are the spiritual and ethical considerations of alcohol use?


I dont think that groups who do not believe the scriptures advocate the use of alcoholic wine are making scriptures fit their doctrines. I think it is fairly self evident even from just what Solomon stated in Proverbs that is not what they are doing. The bible has a number of examples where wine has not produced favourable results…like Noah being drunk and lying exposed on his bed, Lot being drunk and his daughters sleeping with him…these things highlight the danger of alcoholic wine!

It is my firm belief that the bible is orientated against us putting such things into our bodies (the temple of the Holy Spirit).

Plain simple logic tells me that if i ingest a toxic substance into my body, not only is this ultimately harmful to my health and wellbeing, in the case of alcohol, it removes our spiritual link with God.

At the end of the day, here’s the deal from my perspective…

Proposition: Drinking alcohol is a sin

if true: not drinking means i am not sinning

If false: not drinking …am i committing a sin or in fact my not drinking has no effect according to the law?

When one looks at this this way, its pretty obvious that the safer option in terms of salvation, particularly when it has been pointed out to us and therefore becomes an enlightened issue, is to not drink alcohol!

The Bible is against getting drunk, not against drinking, and making it a salvation issue is not biblical.


Hi Adam
If my drinking affected a non or born again believer I would not be thinking of their spiritual welfare of Christ. Agape is the concern for the spiritual well-being of others.
I think anyone raising children or taking care of our elderly parents we need to be fully sober and alert at all times.
1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
Bible Knowledge Commentary
The principle of freedom (everything is permissible; cf. 6:12) was to be regulated by love for others. Activities that are not beneficial or constructive or that do not promote the good of others (cf. 10:33) should be avoided.


Funny how Paul said that in the context of meat sacrificed to idols and not alcohol. Certainly, there are times we should not drink. Weak Christians are triggered by all kinds of things. Might be alcohol, the mention of evolution, etc.

In the Bible wine is seen as a good thing. Remember that Jesus chose wine to represent his blood at the last supper. So drinking wine is fine, but overindulgence is not. Just as eating food is fine, but overindulgence is not.

I don’t think there is any spiritual or ethical concerns with alcohol really. Even in the Bible the issue was drunkards and not being sober minded. Just like gluttony , not food, is the focus throughout the epistles.
Fast food probably contributes to bad health and diseases of influence and death far more than alcohol.

I drink every now and then. I’ve not been drunk in years and I’ve been drunk twice in the last 10 years. I often go to bars and will have a shot and spend 2-3 hours there talking with others. Me and many disciples from the local congregations I go to routinely go to bars to show that you can enjoy an adult atmosphere and drink and be merry without the focus being getting drunk and getting laid. Many people in bars are very depressed and developing bad habits , or unhealthy peer pressure and it’s a great place to drink responsibly and be a light.

After all Jesus drank alcohol, despite never getting drunk. Getting drunk is when you can’t make good choices anymore. It’s different for each person. I personally never drink more than 1-2 shots over a few hours. Most of the time it’s just one so I can leave 2-3 hours later. Mostly lemon drops or fruity vodkas.

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Interesting topic.

I don’t want to be the the college frat boy who knows of only one miracle that Jesus performed but he turned water into wine. Nothing wrong with celebrating at times. There is a time and place for everything. Celebrating everyday might make you an alcoholic. Celebrating to where you need to visit the ER and have your stomach pumped is another issue.

Life was hard in antiquity and strong drink was needed. Sometimes it still is. Alcoholism, belligerent drunkenness, abuse, drinking and driving, etc all are obviously immoral. If alcohol makes you angry, stay away! I know it most certainly livens up parties.

Everyone has to know their own limits and I don’t think it’s a one size fits all here.

I don’t see package stores any differently than I do McDonald’s or Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts on every other corner. Do Americans drink and eat too much? Probably!


What has been pointed out to us is excess consumption of alcohol is bad. To not drink alcohol at all is a personal choice and doesn’t earn you any extra Brownie points.


I think this is one of those things where if the Spirit convicts you it is a sin for you, then it is, and you should abstain. It may be that you live with an alcoholic and should not tempt them. Perhaps the culture you live in looks down on it, and drinking would be a stumbling block. Or perhaps the loosening of inhibition alcohol would cause you would lead you to other sins. In any case, that may well be the right thing for you, even if it is not for someone else.

I think there is a difference between the options and purpose of fast food vs fast food. Both stores may carry junk food but I’ve yet to meet a very healthy fit person who falls a healthy fast food diet but I see plenty being able to do it with options available at grocery stores.

Regardless though my point is that when people try to say alcohol leads to death, depression and ect…. So does fast food then at a even greater rate.

Alcohol is not evil anymore than food is. But both can be abused or used irresponsibly.

I would have to say that there is a real difference between alcohol and poor food choices, though admit there are some similarities. Alcohol is not something you have to drink, but you have to eat. Alcohol is more addictive and causes more harm to those around you than a Big Mac. Even low dose chronic alcohol use has been shown to have negative effects, although, low dose (one glass of wine) daily use may have health benefits as well from the standpoint of cardiovascular health.

It is really not cut and dried, as I see it, and should be an individual decision.

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The point of my example has nothing to do with one being food or one being drink. The differences is not related to the context it was used.

Both food and drink is necessary. You can choose to not eat junk food and you can choose to not drink alcohol. You can also choose to eat junk food and drink alcohol. But you need to be responsible with them. If the point of contention someone had with alcohol is that it causes depression, or results in deaths through drunk driving then the same argument can be applied to how junk food as a staple of a diet can result in depression and contributes to morbid obesity, diabetes, bad immune system and so on. It causes far more death and harm. The junk food I mainly focused on was fast food. It could have been isolated to just artificial sugars. Tons of examples. But that was all beyond the purpose of my statements.

My statement was simply that alcohol is not a living thing. You can drink and be healthy and responsible and it won’t affect your life, choices or health negatively. Same as you can eat a cookie here and there and enjoy feasts here and there and drink soda here and there and it’s not going to cause you any noticeable harm. But these items can all be abused.


Drinking wine in moderation is always seen as a good thing in the Bible. Drinking in excess is bad. Only people who take a Nazarite vow have to abstain from drinking altogether.

Hi again Adam
I thought this was a pretty good article on terms translated “wine” in the Bible.

1. Terms translated “wine” in the Bible

Section One: A Lot Can Change in Four Thousand Years

In this first section we hope to demonstrate the following:

➢ The term for wine is not the same today as it was in ancient times.

➢ The use of wine is not the same today as it was in ancient times.

➢ That wine is not drunk today in the same way it was in ancient times.

Terms translated “wine” in the Bible

There are many terms translated by the English word “wine” in the Bible, each with its own unique shade of meaning. Most of these distinctions are not observable when reading in the English Bible. In some passages the usage of the term is completely foreign to the modern reader. Consider the following list of Hebrew and Greek words for wine. (Some readers may want to quickly skim over this rather lengthy list of foreign terms. It doesn’t make for the most interesting reading – but it is important to “see” for yourselves that these various terms do exist in the Scriptures.)

The Old Testament (Hebrew terms)

Yayin[i]: . From an unused root meaning to effervesce; 140 occurrences; The King James Version translates it as “wine” 138 times, “banqueting” once, and “winebibbers” once.

  • This is by far the most common term for wine in the Old Testament. It is most often used of fermented grape juice, and intoxicating beverage (Gen.9:21).

  • However, it is on occasion, used of unfermented grape juice (Isa.16:10).

Tirosh[ii] : This term occurs in the KJV 38 times and is always translated as “wine,” sometimes described as new wine (Isa.65:8) or sweet wine (Micah 6:15). The term means “wine, fresh or new wine, must, freshly pressed wine.”

  • Prov.3:10 – Note that in this passage, the word translated new wine is that which comes out of the presses, namely, grape juice.

  • Isa.65:8 – Note that in this passage, the term translated new wine refers to the juice which was still found in the cluster of grapes.

  • Obviously in these two occurrences, the term translated in English as new wine was in fact what we would refer to today as grape juice . When grapes are squeezed in the winepress, juice squirts out, not alcohol. Inside a cluster of grapes on the vine juice is found, certainly not what we would call wine today.

Shekar[iii] : Of the 23 occurrences of this term in the Old Testament, the KJV translates it as “strong drink” 21 times, “strong wine” once, and “drunkard” once. Strong’s defines the term as “strong drink, intoxicating drink, fermented or intoxicating liquor.” It is translated “strong wine” in Num.28:7.

There are three additional, less frequently used Hebrew terms for wine. They are as follows:

Chemer[iv] : This term appears only twice and is translated as “pure” once and “red wine” once. (Deut.32:14; Isa.27:2)

Awsees[v] : This term occurs five times and is translated as “new wine” twice, “sweet wine” twice, and “juice” once. Strong’s defines the term as “sweet wine, wine, pressed out juice.” (cf. Joel 3:18)

Mamsak[vi] : This term has two occurrences in the Bible and refers to a “mixed drink, mixed wine, or drink-offering.” It is the last word for wine in Prov.23:30, translated, mixed wine.

The New Testament (Greek Terms)

Oinos[vii]: Oinos is the most common term for wine found in the New Testament. It appears 33 times in the KJV, and is translated as “wine” 32 times, and “winepress” once. Strong’s defines the term simply as wine.

  • This term most often refers to fermented grape juice, an intoxicating beverage (Eph.5:18).

  • Sometimes it refers to grape juice not yet fermented (Rev.19:15).

Gluekos[viii] : denotes sweetness; new wine; must;

  • This term is used only in Acts 2:13. The term refers to fresh grape juice that has recently begun to ferment.

  • This term would not be used of a strong, completely fermented wine.

Sikera[ix]: – This Greek word is a transliteration from the Hebrew term shekar ( strong drink ). It is to be distinguished from oinos in that this is a wine made not only from grapes, but includes a strong drink made from grains and other fruits. This term is always used of a strong drink , an intoxicating beverage. It occurs only in Luke 1:15.

Oxos : This term means sharp wine or vinegar. In each of its seven occurances, it is translated “vinegar” (John 19:29,30).

We have included this list of terms because some have claimed that there is only one kind of wine in the Bible . Hence, they would say that the term wine always means wine. When the term is used in the Bible it always has the same meaning, and it is always refers to an intoxicating beverage. If wine meant an intoxicating beverage in one passage (example: Noah drank wine and got drunk), then it means an intoxicating beverage in every other passages where the English word “wine” is mentioned. They would further argue that since Jesus made wine and drank it, so it is OK for us to drink it too.

It sure sounds like a powerful argument to say “ wine means wine .” Who could argue with that logic? To many, that is the end of the debate. When the position is stated in those terms, it might even seem foolish to attempt to contend otherwise. Pardon my folly, but I am going to challenge that claim. There is NOT only one kind of wine in the Bible. As we have just seen, there are many terms in the Scriptures which are translated “wine” in our English Bible, and each has a slightly different shade of meaning. I would argue that it is inaccurate and quite misleading to say, “wine means wine.” In fact, “wine (the word found in our English Bibles as a translation from over 10 different Greek & Hebrew terms) does NOT always mean wine, according to our modern understanding of the term. It CAN mean wine, but it can also mean other things. It can refer to unfermented grape juice. It can be used of a juice that is just beginning the process of fermentation. It can also mean a mixture of water and wine. And of course, it can refer to a completely fermented wine, a strong drink. It would not be fair or honest for a Christian to base his practices on a superficial, bumper sticker slogan, (“wine always means wine”) without taking the time to dig a bit deeper into God’s Word. Upon further investigation, one discovers that in the Bible the terms translated wine are not exact parallels to our modern usage of the term.

With ten different terms translated “wine” in our English Bible, it is incumbent upon the reader to consider these various terms and their various shades of meaning. Time spent in a good Bible concordance would be time well spent, and could be greatly used of the Lord in cementing conviction in the hearts of God’s people concerning God’s mind on this matter.

Consider the various ways the terms wine and must were used on the English language in the past five centuries[x]. The following references indicate how the term wine was understood by the translators of our English Bible.

More at

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One simple way we know that the wine was alcoholic is this.

Luke 7:34
New American Standard Bible
34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a heavy drinker, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

Jesus ate and they accused him of being a glutton.
Jesus drank alcohol and they accused him of being a drunk.
Jesus talked with sinners and they accused him of surrounding himself with them.

If the drinks were not alcoholic they would not have accused him of being drunk.

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Remainder of article
Dictionary of Arts: “Juice when newly expressed, and before it has begun to ferment, is called “must”, and in common language, “new wine.”

Littleton’s Latin Dictionary (1678): “Gleukos is new wine. Must is new wine; close shut up and not permitted to work. (“Work” is an old word for ferment)

Chambers Cyclopedia (1750) “Sweet wine is that which has not yet fermented.”

Rees’ Cyclodpeia: “Sweet wine is that which has not yet worked or fermented.”

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities: “The sweet unfermented juice of the grape was termed gleukos.”

These OLD dictionaries indicate to us how the translators of the King James Version used the word “wine” in their day. Today, we think of wine as always being fermented, and of having a high alcoholic content. But the original Greek and Hebrew terms, as well as the English usage in the 1600’s when the KJV was translated, did not always have that connotation.

There were DIFFERENT words for wine, which indicated various types of beverages. In Old English, as in the ancient Hebrew and Greek, wine did NOT always refer to a fermented, alcoholic beverage. The term COULD refer to either unfermented, sweet grape juice OR fermented grape juice. In AD 60 Plutarch wrote, “Filtered wine neither inflames the brain nor infects the mind and the passions, and is much more pleasant to drink.”[xi] Note that Plutarch used the word wine to describe a non-intoxicating juice (sometimes called wine) that was greatly valued.

Thus, when we read the word “wine” in our English Bible, we should NOT assume that it must refer to the same kind of alcoholic beverage that we call wine today. Strong drink always refers to alcoholic content. The other terms do not necessarily imply an intoxicating beverage. Thus, it is incumbent upon the interpreter to consider the following:

➢ Determine which Greek or Hebrew term stands behind the English translation.

➢ Consider the context.

➢ Consider the customs of the day.

Reading 20th century habits into the culture and customs that existed from two to four thousand years ago is a serious historical, cultural, and interpretational blunder – and can be quite misleading.

For example, the Greek term oinos could be used for EITHER alcoholic or non alcoholic beverage. Don’t assume anything without considering the context. In Ephesians 5:18, the wine (oinos) is obviously an intoxicating beverage. On the other hand, in Matthew 9:17, we see the term used for both a non-intoxicating beverage AND an intoxicating beverage in the same verse. Jesus said not to put new wine (oinos) in old wineskins. Wineskins were used to carry beverages and were made from the skins of animals. Old leather skins became brittle and fragile. If the process of fermentation began inside an old, brittle skin, the leather would split and the wine would run out. In this passage Jesus used the word oinos for BOTH the new wine (not yet fermented) which was poured in, and the wine that ran out after it fermented and broke the wineskin. Both the grape juice and the fermented wine were called “oinos” in this passage and translated “wine” in our English Bible.

Some have argued that the term wine in the Bible does NOT refer to grape juice. One man argues as follows: “One can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that wine is always grape juice, for then the negative statements in scripture make no sense; those who say that it is only grape juice tend to focus just on the neutral and positive passages, conveniently allowing them to condemn the drinking of real wine at all times.”[xii] But note carefully his strawman argument. Of course one could find fault with those who claim that wine in the Bible ALWAYS means grape juice. It would be quite foolish to make such a claim – because it is so easily refuted. We would not argue that the term wine ALWAYS means grape juice, but rather that it SOMETIMES refers to grape juice. In some passages it refers to a partially fermented grape juice or sweet wine. And of course, it OFTEN refers to an intoxicating beverage. To claim that the English word “wine” always refers to grape juice would be foolish (and dishonest), as this author correctly implies. However, it is equally foolish to assume that EVERY occurrence of the term “wine” in the Bible must refer to a strong, intoxicating drink.

We are not arguing that wine always means grape juice, nor are we arguing that that “new wine” NEVER had an alcoholic content. Often it had no alcoholic content, but sometimes it obviously did. The “new wine” mentioned in Acts 2:13, is the Greek word gleukos, which refers to anything that comes from the fruit. It normally referred to a sweet juice, but also includes the early stages of fermentation, similar to apple cider as it begins to ferment. In this context, men were accused of being full of new wine because of their unusual behavior. Clearly the onlookers thought that the men were affected by the new wine… in fact, drunk! Note how Peter answers this accusation in verse 15. Peter responds by stating that these men were not drunk because it was only the third hour of the day. They didn’t have TIME to get drunk from new wine (a juice that had just begun the process of fermentation with a very low alcoholic content). You would have to drink a LOT and for a long time to get drunk on gleukos. In other words, it was possible to get drunk on new wine, but you would have to imbibe a colossal amount to do so and it would take a long time. Peter simply states that these men did not have TIME to get drunk on a wine that has just begun the process of fermentation! On the other hand, it does not take much time to get drunk on completely fermented wine.

Some have not only argued that wine in the Old Testament was always an intoxicating beverage, but have gone so far as to claim that the Bible actually speaks positively about the “high” that the intoxicating beverage produces! Without question, the Bible DOES say that wine “cheers” the hearts of men (Cf. Zech. 9:17; Judge 9:13; Ps. 104:15; etc.). The modern mind almost automatically associates the “cheer” wine produces with the euphoric feeling alcohol produces. But once again, it is fair and wise for us to question what the Holy Spirit MEANT by this term “cheer” in Zech.9:17. Is it really equal to the “buzz” obtained from a few glasses of alcohol?

Consider Zechariah 9:17. “For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.” The verse states that new wine “cheers” the maids. HOW does it cheer them? Obviously, it cheers them in the same way that corn (grains such as wheat or barley) cheer the young men. The prophet is not speaking of an alcoholic high. Rather, he is speaking of the utter JOY experienced by the young men and women when God blessed their hard labors in the field and prospered their harvest of crops. Those living in an agrarian society worked long and hard in the fields and orchards, and when harvest time came, their hearts were cheered and full of joy and thanksgiving to God for blessing their labors. Gathering in the many bales of wheat and other grains meant food for their families for many months. Gathering in the clusters of grapes to be squeezed into sweet juice provided a delicious drink. This abundant harvest brought a cheer to hearts that we don’t experience because we purchase our grains and juices in a supermarket with hardly a thought about the toil that went into the working the soil, sowing, weeding, and harvesting.

In fact, the term translated “cheerful” in Zech. 9:17 is used four times in the King James Version, and (according to Strong’s Concordance[xiii]) is translated as “bring forth” twice, “increase” once, and “make cheerful” once. It means to bear fruit, or in a figurative sense, to make to flourish. This could hardly be stretched to be the equivalent of a “buzz” from alcohol. In Zechariah 9:17 the term has the meaning of flourish. After gathering in a flourishing harvest of grains and large clusters of grapes, the young men and women who worked the fields experienced a “flourishing” of their hearts too. In other words, their hearts would be vibrant, joyous, fulfilled. Psalm 104:15 speaks of wine that “maketh glad the heart of man.” The psalmist knew the joy of harvest. When the corn and grapes are gathered in, the hearts of the laborers are glad. This speaks of a sense of delight and accomplishment that perhaps only a farm worker (whose life and livelihood depended upon it) could understand completely.

This gladness of heart and “cheer” were expressed communally in the annual feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Ingathering. “Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates” (Deut. 16:13-14). The Rabbis used to say, “He who has not seen Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles does not know what rejoicing means.” [xiv]

The thought of a liquor “high” cannot possibly be found in the passages which speak of wine “cheering” hearts. Perhaps if we lived in a hot, arid, desert-like region, a cup of cool, freshly squeezed grape juice would “cheer” our hearts too! It was considered a real treat. In fact, kings delighted in the luxury of freshly squeezed grape juice. In Genesis 40:11, the Pharaoh’s cupbearer squeezed grapes directly into the king’s cup. In a hot, arid climate, freshly squeezed grape juice was a royal treat that cheered the heart.

As the Bible term “wine” is seen in various contexts, it is clear that it can but does not always refer to an intoxicating beverage. In modern English, we would not think of using the term “wine” to refer to grape juice. The Modern English usage is not the same as the term was used in Bible times, or even its usage in the 1600’s when the King James Version was translated. There is not an exact parallel between the one Modern English term wine and the various terms in Old English or ancient Greek or Hebrew. Hence, (as illogical as it may appear on the surface) “wine is not always wine!” In order to understand what the Bible is saying on this issue, it is essential to consult a good Bible dictionary or lexicon to discover the terms which underlie the English translation “wine” and to note the various shades of meaning in its context. One need not be a Bible scholar to engage in such a study either. With a few easy-to-use Bible study tools[xv] anyone can dig into the Word for him/her self. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing truth for oneself in the Scriptures. Nothing will more firmly deepen one’s convictions than forming those convictions by personal Bible study (Acts 17:11).

[i] Enhanced Strongs Lexicon, Hebrew # 3196

[ii] Ibid, Hebrew # 8492

[iii] Ibid. Hebrew # 7941

[iv] Ibid., Hebrew # 2561

[v] Ibid. Hebrew # 6071

[vi] Ibid., Hebrew # 4469

[vii] Ibid., Greek #3631

[viii] Ibid, Greek # 1098

[ix] Ibid., Greek # 4608

[x] William Patton, Bible Wines, Sane Press, Oklahoma City, 1871, pp.14-15.

[xi] John MacArthur Jr., Living in the Spirit , Word of Grace Communications, 1981, p.12.

[xii] Daniel B. Wallace Ph.D, The Bible And Alcohol, Biblical Studies Foundation.

[xiii] Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, Hebrew # 5107

[xiv] Victor Buksbazen, The Feasts of Israel; Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc.,Bellmawr, 1987, pg. 46.

[xv] Such tools would include the easy-to-use Strong’s Concordance, Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, etc.

I do not believe in design. Not for most of what we see and especially not for living organisms. Therefore there are things in life I can wish they simply didn’t exist. The consequences might be more than I realize, it is true. But I don’t believe it is all part of some design which cannot be altered in the slightest way. So I wish there were no yellow jacket wasps… perhaps replaced with more honey bees and praying mantises. I just hate those wasps.


Well… with all the trouble that alcohol causes, I could wish that didn’t exist as well. And this is despite the fact that I drink, though in very small quantities… (less than $50 a year… helps when my mouth or throat hurts and I like the taste. I do not like the effect on the brain… feels like getting sick with a fever.) And both my wife and myself have family members negatively impacted by alcohol. It really is a big problem. And people forcing other people to drink… that really really really pisses me off! It is not funny! It is wrong.

On the other hand, alcohol has had so many uses for medicine and industry perhaps its nonexistence would be a huge mistake. Ahhh… life is tough.


Problem being is that without refrigeration and given the warm climate as soon as grapes were pressed they would start to ferment. There is a naturally occurring yeast that grows on the grapes so there is no stopping the process. Yes the alcohol is present at low levels, but it is still there. Which lends support to the idea that “drink” is ok but “strong drink” isn’t.


Exactly. That’s why Jesus talked about new wine skins for new wine. The fermentation would burst the old wine skins.

And that’s why it’s almost impossible to keep booze out of prisons. Some prisoners let their fruit juice ferment by keeping it at room temperature. It’s called “pruno.”


Racism helped fuel our country’s path to prohibition. Wine drinking was associated with Italians. Beer drinking was associated with Germans.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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