What Kind of Wine Did Jesus Drink?

Many have presumed as the lyrics go “Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine” that Jesus drank alcoholic wine and even indulged in drinking intoxicating amounts of wine. What kind of wine did Jesus drink?

By the reading of scripture in the original language, scholarship presents that Jesus did not drink or make wine like today’s more alcoholic wine. How can this be? Most assume that the word “wine” in the Bible is always alcoholic or equivalent to modern wine. The Bible affirms that “wine” could mean alcoholic wine or non-alcoholic grape juice (1 Tim 3:8, Titus 2:3). What kind of wine did Jesus drink?

Remember the Bible was originally written in other languages, so the meaning and nuances of words are slightly different. Biblical “wine” is grape juice that may or may not have fermented. Both in Hebrew and Greek, the words translated “wine” can refer to non-alcoholic juice or fermented wine. The Hebrew word is yayin, and the Greek is oinos.

There are a number of examples of unfermented “wine”. Note the passages and references to non-alcoholic wine throughout the Bible:

  • “Wine” is called the blood of the grape (Gen 49:11-12, Heb yayin, Deut 32:14, Heb chemer).
  • “Red wine” is a description of a vineyard (Isa 27:2, Heb chemer).
  • “Wine” refers to the grape juice from the grapes of the field (Deut 11:14, 2 Chr 31:5, Heb tirosh, Jer 40:10, 12, Heb yayin).
  • Scripture describes “wine” that is in the grape (Isa 65:8, Heb. tirosh).
  • The grape juice of the wine-press is “wine” (Prov 3:10, Heb. tirosh, Isa 16:10, Jer 48:33, Heb. yayin).

These references clearly show that “wine” can simply refer to grape juice.

In reading the Old Testament, many would be surprised that Bible versions translate six different Hebrew words “wine” for which two words, asis means “sweet grape juice” or “new grape juice” and another word, hemer, simply means “grape juice”. Both words have no reference to alcohol, and yet translators interpret these words as “wine” to avoid interpreting the contexts with its nuances and ambiguity. Therefore, be careful not to assume that the word “wine” means alcoholic wine. [1] [2]

With an honest heart, may God’s grace encourage all believers to reconsider biblical wine. With the previous knowledge, a study of the Scriptures reveal that there is not one positive statement about intoxicating wine or any such drink throughout the Bible. There are positive words about non-alcoholic “wine” that many people presume to encourage the use of intoxicating wine. Yet, these positive passages of grape juice do not necessitate a reference to alcohol in any way (Gen 14:18, Num 15:5–10, Deut 14:26, Psa 104:15, Isa 55:1, Amos 9:14, John 2:1–11, 1 Tim 5:23).

There are many today professing a faith in Jesus who look to His drinking of wine to support their excessive drinking. By God’s grace, God has saved Christians from excessive drinking (1 Pet 4:3). Therefore, be very careful. Our brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with alcohol are receiving from many destructive reasons to  justify giving into excessive drinking. The consequences may be disastrous and extensive even to the death of innocents. Therefore, reconsider.

In the Bible, alcoholic wine is not like wine today. The sugar of grape juice can only ferment to 3 or 4% alcohol with wild yeast. For grape juice to exceed 4% alcohol, then the winemaker can add yeast. The yeast added to ancient wines produced between 4–10% alcohol. Alcohol kills these yeast cells and prevents levels of alcohol from exceeding 10%. Today, wines average 12–18% alcohol due to modern fermentation by adding sulfur dioxide and Saccharomyces (a cultured GMO yeast) to a late harvest of ripened grapes with higher fructose (Winemaker Magazine, UC DavisInternational Biblical Encyclopedia, “Bible Study Guide“, “Alcohol in the Church“, Bible Wine). Today’s wine is not biblical wine in regards to alcoholic content. Due to the later invention of distilling, strong drinks like liquor exceed 20% alcohol.

When we read the word “wine” in the Bible, it may be simply grape juice or intoxicating wine never exceeding 10%, but it is certainly not like wine today. Many presume that Jesus’s drinking of wine was the drinking of alcoholic wine because of the word “wine”. Again, grape juice is either alcoholic or nonalcoholic wine throughout the Bible depending on the context. Jesus also never drunk modern wine. The methods for fermenting highly-alcoholic wine had not yet been invented.

Actually, Jesus’s opponents accused Him of being a “wine-drinker” from the Greek oinopoteis, because He came freely eating and drinking grape juice unlike John the Baptist who restricted his eating and drinking (Matt 11:18–19, Luke 7:33–34). Yet, when we consider the wedding that Jesus attended in Cana, Jesus’s institution of the Lord’s Supper, and Jesus’s life, then His drinking of wine is not what many think.

What about Jesus turning water to wine? Many are mistaken to think that Jesus turned water into intoxicating wine at the wedding in Cana, a small town in Galilee (John 2). One would have to assume this “wine”, oinos, was alcoholic when oinos generally means grape juice referring to either alcoholic or nonalcoholic wine.

The Scripture infers that the wedding guests “have well drunk” a large amount of oinos, which the Greek word translated “well drunk” is methuo meaning literally to fill or make full. This word is also translated “drunk” referring to drunkenness by drinking intoxicating wine or filling oneself with nonalcoholic wine (Thayer’s Lexicon).

Consider the wedding and assume that Jesus intentionally made fermented wine consisting of about 10% alcohol. If the wine was alcoholic, then the attendees would have become drunk, because John 2:10 uses the word methuo that scholars translate as “drunk” or “filled”. If the attendees were drinking wine with less than 4% alcohol, their drinking would have “well drunk” rather than get drunk. Jesus would have filled with them with “new wine” that is from the presses although this was before the harvest. This wedding feast would have occurred in a short amount of time if the guests drank intoxicating wine although wedding feasts usually last a day and sometimes more (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah).

Supposing intoxicating wine, Jesus would have made more intoxicating wine amounting to between 120 to 180 gallons of “the good wine”. If there were 300 people there to drink another 150 gallons, these would have already each had much alcoholic wine considering that “the guests have well drunk”. Jesus would have given each guest an additional 64 ounces of alcoholic wine. The average person would have drunk another 4–6 drinks of alcoholic wine. Jesus would have poisoned a wedding party of three hundred attendants from the toxin of ethyl alcohol, and the guests would had been vomiting and passing out.

Now, let us consider a wedding party of 1,000 guests. If 1,000 people drank of 150 gallons of fermented wine that Jesus supposedly made, then the average amount of wine consumed by each person would have been 19.2 ounces of wine having previously well drunk. Presuming that this wine contained 10% alcohol, Jesus would have aided 1,000 people in binge drinking having intoxicated the guests with three additional drinks after already “have well drunk”. For each guest to have had simply two drinks, then the wedding would have had at least 2,400 attendees. Yet, the Scripture indicates that they well drunk the first wine.

If Jesus did make a great amount of fermented wine, He would had aided the sin of drunkenness, excessive drinking, and a drinking party, which are all condemned in Scripture (1 Pet 4:3). To assume that Jesus made intoxicating wine is to assume that after everyone had drunk all the other intoxicating wine, then they needed more of the better intoxicating wine and Jesus was the divine person to do it. For those proposing that Jesus made highly intoxicating wine like today’s wine, 16–24 oz. of today’s wine would intoxicate anyone at an alcoholic level of 12–15% according to the CDC. Such intoxicating wine would have been an absurdity at this wedding as much as simply fermented wine.

Jesus could not have made intoxicating wine at the wedding feast in Cana. The reference to Jesus’s wine as good wine indicates fresh grape juice, because this was late in the year just before Passover when old wine remained (John 2:13).

Did Jesus use alcoholic wine in the Lord’s Supper? Many have justified excessive drinking and drunkenness by how many churches have made alcoholic wine a part of the “Eucharist”, the Lord’s Supper. Did Jesus use highly alcoholic wine when He instituted the Lord’s Supper? No, He did not even use the word “wine”. See, alcoholic wine has no reference in Scripture to the Lord’s Supper. The Greek word for “wine” is never used in Scripture to describe any part of the Lord’s Supper. Many have again presumed that Jesus used alcoholic wine in the Lord’s Supper for their own purposes. Jesus mentioned the specific content of the cup containing “the fruit of the grapevine”.

On top of all of this, Jesus used unleavened bread because it was the time of the Passover, which is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They threw out all leaven by God’s command including the leavened bread. It is absurd to think that God meant that Israel throw out the yeast, the bread with yeast, but leave the grape juice fermented by yeast (Exo 13:6-7).

When Jesus used “fruit of the grapevine” in the Lord’s Supper, the only possible fermentation would be between 0–4%. If one assumed this was alcoholic wine, then the highest level of alcohol could reach 4%. When Jesus used “the fruit of the grapevine”, then this cup would have been nonalcoholic or never exceeded 4% alcohol. The intent of the cup of the Lord was not to intoxicate.

The misuse of the word “wine” has become the means for many to presume that the excessive drinking of alcohol to some level of intoxication is permissible behavior with God. By the word “wine”, many try to justify the sins of drunkenness and excessive drinking. The Bible warns about the temptations of wine. Solomon wrote by the wisdom of God,

Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things. (Prov 23:31–33)

Therefore, “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov 20:1). The Scriptures are clear about drinking intoxicating drinks. There is not one positive statement about alcohol in the Bible. The New Testament clearly teaches that Christians are not to walk in drunkenness filling themselves with alcohol.

The Greek word translated “drunkenness” literally means “filling oneself” in Scripture (Eph 5:18–19, cf. Rom 13:13). Christ’s Spirit in Galatians 5:19–21 teaches that such “drunkenness” is a “work of the flesh” and “those who are doing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Christ also reveals in 1 Corinthians 6:10 that drunkards “will not inherit the kingdom of God”. Drunkenness and filling one’s body with intoxicants is a sin.

Filling oneself with alcohol is evil being harmful to the sobriety of the Christian conscience of one’s heart (1 John 3:19–21). Christ’s words and those of His Apostles and prophets urge us to reconsider. First Peter 4:3 warns,

For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Nations want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness [lit. excessive drinking], orgies, drinking parties [lit. drinkings], and lawless idolatry.

The word for “drunkenness” here is not the usually word for drunkenness in Greek, but it is oinophlugia made of two words oinos meaning wine and phlugia is to do something in excess. Excessive drinking is a sin. Do not overlook the reference here to drinking parties. This is the word potos, which denotes occasions for drinking. This is when hosts permit any occasion to excessive drinking.

Christians being followers of Christ must remain sober and make no provision to become drunk on any level (1 Thess 5:8). Christians cannot be a part of events meeting and centered around drinking. Christ had no part with drunkenness and drinking parties, so His followers must not.

The wine that Jesus drank cannot be assumed intoxicating or any more than grape juice with no more than 5% alcohol. Jesus neither encouraged drunkenness nor is He recorded to have used intoxicating wine. Many need to reconsider their position on drinking alcohol based upon Jesus. If anyone uses Jesus to justify excessive drinking, drunkenness, and drinking events, then let that person hear this plea to rethink their views according to the words and life of Christ. The reality is that the Bible does not support the drinking of intoxicants. By God’s grace, Christians are forgiven to no longer continue doing what they have been forgiven for doing. Abstain from drunkenness.


Of Wine and Wineskins

Wine in the Lord’s Supper?

Is Drinking a Sin in the Bible?

Reconsider Being Biblically Drunk

About Scott Shifferd Jr.

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Christ, Church of Christ and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

339 Responses to What Kind of Wine Did Jesus Drink?

  1. deeplyaware says:

    By the way, it’s a funny pun: Seeing God’s Breath, an article about alcohol…
    This article does everything except address middle-of-the-road issues, it only mentions excessive drinking as examples. It’s an empty-shell of an article because of it.

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    • seattlebruce says:

      deeplyaware: “It’s an empty-shell of an article because of it.”

      Firstly, your mockery of another believer’s (pastor’s) efforts at interpretation of such an important topic, is not helpful. All that this author points out is that Biblical references to wine indicate both alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine existed and that furthermore alcoholic wine wasn’t as strong as it is in modern times. Whether or not, you or I agree with Mr. Shifferd’s conclusion that there’s not one positive reference to alcoholic wine in the Bible, is not as important (imho) as his other point that we should be more passionate in defending Christ’s teaching of temperance than defending our use of alcohol, and his points elsewhere that we should passionately be preaching Christ to a lost world (over and above our passion to defend drinking.) In any case, in my mind it’s not so much about whether one drinks a glass of wine or two, but how one comports oneself before weaker brothers, and sisters, and children. Romans 14:22 states, “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” Please take these matters to heart friend.

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  2. deeplyaware says:

    Wow, so much spinning of the scriptures. It all boils down to fear. The author, and so many Christians are so afraid that they might make someone fall into alcoholism, and they will go to hell for it. Grow up! Sounds so silly to say that the wine Jesus made was different than the wine the apostles, just a short few years later, said not to drink too much of. Also, sounds so silly to assume there were no alcoholics during Jesus time, yet he did not hesitate to make water into wine. If Jesus wanted to send the right message, do you think he would have even risked being misinterpreted by make water into “non-alcoholic” wine? The truth, in common sense, is that there is freedom. You can be sensible to the people you know suffer from alcoholism, but still have the freedom to drink. People who prohibit drinking of alcohol, add to the Bible things which are not in the Bible, all in the name of justifying their own fear, and in misunderstanding what God is all about.

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    • Charlie says:

      It couldn’t be said any clearer than deeplyaware has said it. I don’t know why this subject has been going on and on for so long, it has been answered over and over again correctly, it’s the incorrect answers that cause doubt and confusion. The incorrect answers have also been shown to be incorrect and the correct answers are shown to be correct straight from the bible but somehow they are not good enough for some. Some seem to have their mind dead set against any alcohol that they have their minds so made up they blind themselves to the truth and even read into scripture to make themselves blind.
      Jesus turned water into wine, Jesus drank wine, the bible said to use a little wine for the stomaches sake, God said to go to the feast of tabernacles and enjoy wine or even strong drink while there rejoicing. On the other hand God plainly tells us that it’s the excess of wine where the problem is, and that too much causes problems. Having a drink or two and enjoying it as well as having a good time with others is not wrong or harmful as the bible shows, but we are all responsible for our own actions and drinking in excess is what we are not to do, not forbid it totally. Getting drunk is sin, drinking in moderation is not. Eating too much and being a glutton is sin, but food isn’t forbidden, eating properly is the answer. Everything is so plain until we try to change scripture to make it say what it doesn’t say, just like deeplyaware explained. I think it’s time for another subject, this one is going around in circles and hopefully some aren’t becoming wrongfully confused because of it.

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      • Rudy Schellekens says:

        My question was more based on the idea that the conclusions one reaches on this (and some other topics) are based on the culture of the author, rather than an unbiased application of Scripture.
        And there are a few more of those… Our use of the passage in 1 Cor. 6 in the context of smoking, for example. I have never heard this used in the actual context of the passage (sexual immorality with prostitutes)…
        Or Acts 20 – introducing the work “every” into our reading and use for the frequency of the Lord’s Supper.

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        • You have a point about 1 Cor 6, but I did not misuse that passage. Acts 20:7 does not say “every”, but does affirm the practice of the disciples (all Christians) to assemble on the first day of the week to break bread. Is there a better time to assembly than when all first-century Christians assembled along with the Apostles? Also, why wrangle with other believers over the word “every”?

          Furthermore, “the breaking of bread” is the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 10:16). We are to partake of the Lord’s Supper when we meet together in the assembly (1 Cor 11:17-34). We are not to forsake our assembling together (Heb 10:24-25). The custom of forsaking the assembly shows a lack of hope (Heb 10:23). Willful sinning ends with giving up Christ’s sacrifice, fear of judgment, and coming to fiery indignation (Heb 10:26-27). What more needs to be said?

          Please consider a kinder approach to your comments.

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          • Gary W. says:

            Scott, I hardly see where Acts20:7 “affirms the practice” of the disciples assembling on the first day of the week. This was a one-time event that Luke reports took place a day before they departed from Troas. We need to be careful we don’t read into Scripture things that are not there. The early Christians met together many times weekly, at different homes and different days of the week. Their meetings consisted of teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread and prayer (Acts 2). There is no pattern set in the New Testament of meeting one day a week on Sunday.

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          • Rudy schellekens says:

            Simple: the difficulty in explaining vs 7 and 11 in the text. Also, the problem in Acts 2 – broke bread daily.
            The danger of assuming the gathering to be habitual in Acts 20.
            The imperative “as often as you do this…”
            There is by far a stronger historical case for the celebration of the Supper on the first day of every week than can be made from Acts 20!
            Please know that I am not trying to be unkind!
            “We,” too, have to be consistent on our use of the Bible, like we demand others to be!

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          • Verse 11 is singular. Acts 2 differentiates between the breaking of bread and the daily breaking of bread. There is already an article posted on this. Acts 20:7 says that the disciples broke bread on the first day. First Corinthians 11 says every time that they assembled together (20, 33).

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          • Rudy Schellekens says:

            Singular: Paul, in the company of the disciples, took a meal by himself? Is that not pushing the text a bit??
            Acts is plural… “They broke break…”
            42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved…”
            I know there is a line of arguing that goes, “If the text says “they broke bread and they ate…” it was a common meal, but when it just says “They broke bread…” then it was the Lord’s Supper..”

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      • Gary W. says:

        Charlie, Unlike the author of this article and many like him, you undoubtedly are able to understand Scripture and the truth concerning this subject of drinking alcoholic beverages. Those who are able to set aside their emotions and their ideas of what they want the Bible to say, and do an honest study from Genesis to Revelation, will come to the realization that God actually encourages Christians to drink. The Bible is so convincingly clear about this that it’s astonishing how anyone can proffer anything different.

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    • Anita says:

      I love receiving the wine and bread at MASS where the Priest turns the bread into JESUS’s precious body and the wine into HIS precious blood and I consume JESUS!!! It is heaven on earth!

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    • As the author, this is not partly true. No fear here — just truth. There is no indoctrination either. My brethren have no creed or hierarchy other than Christ and His Spirit’s words in Scripture.

      For my stomach’s sake, I may drink a little wine with my water. The Bible warns against wine without a positive statement about strong drink in the Scriptures. There are few passages that suggest moderation, but for the most part, excess drinking and being intoxicated are taught against. Drink all the new oinos you want, but be filled with the Spirit rather than with wine (Eph 5:18-19). Let us defend Christ’s word of temperance more than alcohol.

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    • Bruce Anderson says:

      “The truth, in common sense, is that there is freedom. You can be sensible to the people you know suffer from alcoholism, but still have the freedom to drink.”

      Please elaborate how we should be sensitive to those suffering from alcoholism, in light of Romans 14:22,23. Thank you. My personal view is that since studies indicate that 10 – 30% of people in our modern day struggle with drinking (and the distillation of alcohol has made for MUCH stronger drinks than in Jesus day, fermented or non-fermented discussion aside), that Romans 14:22 clearly states, “22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.”

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      • Alcoholism is a coping addiction. It is a sign of depression or at least a practice of anxiety. As our faith, hope, and love in God grow, our reliance on alcohol will decrease. I have ministered to those struggling up and down with this addiction. Using biblical “therapy”, I have ministered to them through awareness.

        All people should be able to relate. Some of us eat to treat our nagging stresses in life (i.e. the sad may eat ice cream or some other “comfort food”). While this may be temporary, alcohol will not easily let go of the individual who uses it for personal treatment.

        The key to helping others with addictions and habitual sins is to help them realize God’s forgiving grace and also to see through their behavior to the destructive outcome. We want to encourage them to see through these temptations, urges, and sins all the time despite the setting. When we see the inevitable outcome of something harmful and we detest it, then we will not give into it.

        Add to this that seeing that God has previously forgiven us this sin actually will keep us from doing it again. When we do not realize this, we continue in sin, convince ourselves of false grace, and we have no more forgiveness (Rom 6:1-2, 1 John 1:5-10). Seeing God’s forgiving grace increases our love for God and compels us to die with Christ to sin (Luke 7:40-50, 2 Cor 5:14-15). The indwelling of God’s love is the way in which the Spirit continues to indwell in Christians (1 John 4:12-13, 16).

        This is my actual format for addressing such addictions:

        http://Godsbreath.net/2012/12/12/how-to-overcome-addictions-with-christ/

        Otherwise, we further read and consider other passages of Scripture:

        http://Godsbreath.net/2011/12/02/addiction-bible-verses/

        Now, I think that I need to write a new article. Thank you, Bruce.

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  3. Rudy Schellekens says:

    What surprises me, is that this passage is overlooked in most studies on the subject of whether or not God’s children can drink fermented drinks.
    Of course, another case is found in the Nazorite vows – abstain from strong drink. If I am expected to abstain because of a particular vow, that means that those who are not under this vow have no such restriction.
    From a logical perspective, when there is a command against drunkenness, I cannot come to any other conclusion than: The use of fermented liquids is indeed allowed – as long as I am not drunk.
    And yes, I understand the “safety” argument, but that is not a Biblical argument!

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    • The safety argument comes from Romans 14:23 applied to context 14:14-23 that references wine, oinos.

      I remember studying Deuteronomy 14:26, but I do not remember my conclusion. Still, there is no positive reference to strong drink. We could ask further about the purposes of this strong drink. These were often alcoholic mixed with other substances. Was this medicinal?

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      • Rudy Schellekens says:

        My preferred position is: What does the text say? A question I would ask is, “Does it conflict with any other text on the same subject?” Since there is no further information about the question you asked re. medicinal, and since there is no conflict with any other passage on the same subject, it stands as it is.

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      • Gary W. says:

        No positive reference to strong drink? KJV says “or for sheep, or for wine or for STRONG DRINK”. English Standard Version says “or sheep, or wine, or STRONG DRINK”. How much more positive can one get, Scott?

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  4. Rudy Schellekens says:

    25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose:
    26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
    27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
    28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
    29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

    From Deuteronomy 14. I picked the KJV for no specific reason, other than many people believe it is the only “right” version. But is says the same thing the NIV, ASV, RSV, NASV, NKJV etc. say. The reference to “strong drink” makes it clear that Jews are directed (or allowed) by God to drink “strong” or “fermented” drink. God forbids drunkenness – for obvious reasons (Noah, Lot).
    But to argue that God is against the use of fermented (i.e. alcoholic) is not what this particular passage supports.

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  5. niki says:

    Just because Jesus made good wine that contained alcohol, it doesn’t mean that everyone finished what was in the barrels. Look at the story of the fish , bread and leftovers. Point wasn’t to encourage gluttony, but rather to show His power and ability to multiply. So the author’s pointing that out wasn’t the greatest example.

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    • Gary W. says:

      Niki. Your post was one of the best in this whole debate. Unfortunately, many people tend to put their own opinions into their discourses about the Bible instead of sticking to the facts.

      Like

  6. Josh says:

    I appreciate the read. I was taught and convinced growing up that it was a sin for a Christian to drink alcohol. As I have matured I have begun to question that teaching. I’m not a language scholar but spent some time looking up the Greek words for wine in Luke 7:33-34 referring to John not drinking wine but Jesus doing so and John chapter 2 referring to the wedding. It seems clear that Jesus made and drank “wine” of some type in these passages. Using my concordance it appears the Greek word is oinos or wine with a reference back to the Hebrew word yayin, that means wine (fermented). Incidentally (or not) this is the same word is used for the wine that Noah and Lot got drunk on. It goes against what I have believed but the words seem to demonstrate that the Lord both made for others and drank himself a fermented wine. I have heard strained explanations of how wine doesn’t really mean wine (fermented) but am I missing something from the translation of these specific words?
    Thanks,
    Josh

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    • Anita says:

      Sorry to change the subject about wine, but urgent PRAYER is needed now, for the poor Christians being persecuted and martyred over seas. Please pray to STOP abortion. Lets all fight the good fight. Thanks

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    • Gary W. says:

      Actually Josh, you are right on. The use of the same words definitely shows that Jesus did, indeed, drink and make an alcoholic beverage.

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  7. What did Paul mean a *little wine for stomach’s sake (1 Ti 5.23)? Why only a little then and why with water?

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    • There are a lot of various suppositions about this. I suggest you read the usual commentaries. You might be surprised by what you read, as most seem to hint that drinking wine was not a sin but the focus is on temperance, not on aceticism or total abstinence. Most commentators seem to feel that Timothy took his place as a minister of the gospel very seriously and was careful not to fall into any impropriety. And I suggest we look at this whole issue similarly, not trying to focus on and mince out what is an isn’t sin, but instead on what glorifies God. We know drunkeness doesn’t. But clearly drinking wine is not a sin, either.

      http://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_timothy/5-23.htm

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    • There are a lot of various suppositions about this. I suggest you read the usual commentaries. You might be surprised by what you read, as most seem to hint that drinking wine was not a sin but the focus is on temperance, not on aceticism or total abstinence. Most commentators seem to feel that Timothy took his place as a minister of the gospel very seriously and was careful not to fall into any impropriety. And I suggest we look at this whole issue similarly, not trying to focus on and mince out what is an isn’t sin, but instead on what glorifies God. We know drunkeness doesn’t. But clearly drinking wine is not a sin, either.

      http://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_timothy/5-23.htm

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    • Gary W. says:

      Scott. Wherever did you get the idea that this Timothy passage talks about drinking wine with water? Please read it carefully. Paul tells Timothy to stop drinking only water. He says begin drinking wine, also, on a daily basis just as you drink water. And it wasn’t just for his stomach but as a preventative medicine for his frequent ailments. Why only a little? Because it only takes a couple drinks a day to enjoy all the well-known health benefits.

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  8. chechipapwiche says:

    Read Luke 7:31-35

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  9. Dunamis,

    why is disagreeing with someone and stating why intelligently called “attacking?”

    I have studied this issue inside out and backwards and I can honestly say it seems clear the wine was alcoholic. Drinking of wine in the bible is never condemned, but drunkenness is, just in like manner that sex is never forbidden, only when outside the parameters God has set, as in adultery. One cogent example in the NT concerning wine is when Paul tells Timothy to take some for his stomach. There is no reason to believe grape juice was what he was referring to. If you study you will find it has no medicinal effects for a sour stomach, in fact it might even make one worse, HOWEVER, it is widely known historically that alcoholic wine was considered to have had medicinal effects in ancient times, like during the time of the apostles. What reasonable conclusion can we derive then? It seems obvious. Again, Paul didn’t say elders should not drink, he said they should not be “given to too much wine.” If this was such a clear case that you and the teetotalers advocate we could expect Paul to have said, “No drinking.” but he didn’t.

    What is clear to me is that people are basing their understanding based upon the bias of tradition, of this county, their denomination or otherwise. Let’s let scripture decide the truth rather than what we have been taught by those with traditions at stake. Study the issue honestly and see what the word has to say.

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    • I very much agree with your conclusion, and I can accept fellowship with despite minor disagreements in the body of your comment.

      The questions to be faced are: Is all biblical wine alcoholic? If not, how can we tell the difference?

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      • Well, first we have to look at the original language and then the context. The word used here, “oinos” was the normal word Greeks would have used to mean alcoholic wine. In this context it was a wedding feast. and at a normal Jewish wedding, the custom of the time would have consisted of using fermented wine. And the text gives us no reason to believe otherwise, in fact, it gives us other clues that support it being alcoholic, “you saved the best for last.” They saved the best grape juice for last at a 7 day wedding feast? The people of those times were grape juice conissuers? no, that makes no sense logically, historically or otherwise.

        Here’s a link that further explains it: http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-water-wine.html

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        • Anita says:

          Remember Jesus is Holy, His mother is pure, the wine He made was amazingly good. This wine was different from ordinary man made wine. Jesus’s wine was a miracle. Do you think Jesus would make wine that would get the guest ugly drunk? Drunks would have ruined the reception. The wine probably gave the guest joy (being a gift from Jesus), but did not let them get drunk. That is what I think.

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          • No offense, but it doesn’t really matter what you think. the bible is not about what we think and then can inject into the text. Jesus fed 5000 people with fish and loaves so much that there was food left over, yet gluttony is a sin. How is that any different? Or when Jesus told Peter to get a sword then admonished him for using it exactly as it was designed to be used? We live in a world where we are free to make choices. People could drink the wine and get drunk, or enjoy it responsibly. That’s how God’s creation operates.

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          • Anita says:

            Free Will. Right?

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      • Anita says:

        We are all good Christians who believe and love JESUS!!! Amen.
        Let us not argue about wine or grape juice. All Christians around the World must join together in prayer, know truth, obey the Ten Commandments and HOLY LOVE! Christians are being killed and persecuted by ISIS in other countries. Our government laws are against God’s commandments. Our leaders are weak, without God. We must vote for life in the next election or lose our freedoms. The HOLY ROSARY is our greatest weapon against evil! The miracles from praying the HOLY ROSARY are true. We are in a great spiritual battle between good and evil. Lets fight the GOOD fight, together!

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        • Kevin Lang says:

          Dear Anita, Did you read the title of this article? The topic for discussion is wine, not ISIS! Please be appropriate with your remarks concerning this issue for the sake of all of us. We as Americans are fortunate to be able to voice our opinions, ideas, experiences, quote references, etc. because of our Constitutional Right of Freedom of Speech. I’m certainly glad that our Creator has created us with a desire to search for and understand truth concerning any issue we face as our Creator cares for us and wants the best for us. (see Matthew 10:31) and has allowed this forum for an open discussion concerning the issue of wine and how in moderation it is beneficial (I Timothy 5:23). Fortunately we scientific evidence to shed light on this timely issue as published in the Prevention Magazine, October 2012 issue article entitled, “Health Benefits of Red Wine”, so that we are not bound by darkness and superstitions so prevalent in our past history during “The Dark Ages” when religion often sought to answer most of life’s questions. Let’s be clear to make the distinction between religion (man-made rules of moral conduct) and living a spiritual life according to the Creator’s design as revealed in scripture (The Holy Bible – singular irrefutable source of God’s Wisdom).

          http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/health-benefits-red-wine

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      • Gary W. says:

        Wine is wine. All wine is alcoholic. If it isn’t alcoholic then it isn’t wine. In New Testament times there was no grape juice because they had no way to prevent the grape from fermenting. Grapes are already fermenting on the vine. That’s because there are two ingredients necessary for the fermentation process…yeast and sugar. Both of these are
        self contained elements of the grape. Albumen (yeast) is found in the skin and seeds and sugar within the grape. Grapes are already becoming wine as they are removed from the vine.

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