What Kind of Wine Did Jesus Drink?

Is this true that Jesus drank alcoholic wine as the lyrics, “Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine”? Some Christians question this. What kind of wine did Jesus drink? Did Jesus drink intoxicating amounts of wine? 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. What kind of wine did Jesus drink?

Many have assumed that the word “wine” in the Bible is always alcoholic or equivalent to modern wine. The Bible affirms that “wine” could mean alcoholic wine of varying amounts or non-alcoholic grape juice (1 Tim 3:8; Titus 2:3).

Remember the Bible was originally written in other languages, so the meaning and nuances of words are slightly or very different from the corresponding English word. 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 the blood of the grape (Gen 49:11–12, Heb yayin, Deut 32:14, Heb chemer).
  • The vineyard is the place of “red wine” (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 the word “wine” can simply refer to grape juice in the Bible.

In reading the Old Testament, many are surprised that the Bible versions represent six different Hebrew words “wine” for which two words exclude alcohol. These are 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, one must remain 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. However, 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). Some other references to “strong drink” and “liquor” simply refer to cider as translated in Wycliffe’s Bible (i.e. Deut 14:26).

There are many today professing a faith in Jesus who look to Jesus’s drinking of wine to support their excessive drinking. By God’s grace, God has saved Christians from excessive drinking (1 Pet 4:3). Therefore, may every Christian remain very careful. Our brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with alcohol are receiving many destructive reasons to  justify giving into excessive drinking. The consequences may be disastrous and extensive even to the death of innocents. The Christian approach to alcohol is not to judge or condemn the person who may drink without excess and drunkenness, and yet, the Christian should follow the biblical examples and warn those who do drink and linger over the cup (Prov 23:29–35; Rom 14:17–22).

Bible Wine and Today’s Wine

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 must 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 like biblical wine in regards to alcoholic content. Due to the later invention of distilling, strong drinks like liquor now exceed 20% alcohol.

When reading the word “wine” in the Bible, the word may simply refer to grape juice or intoxicating wine never exceeding 10% alcohol. However, biblical wine is certainly not like wine today. Because of the use of the word “wine” in English Bibles, many presume that Jesus drank alcoholic 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 also drinking grape juice unlike John the Baptist who restricted his eating and drinking (Matt 11:18–19; Luke 7:33–34). However, when the reader considers the wedding that Jesus attended in Cana and Jesus’s institution of the Lord’s Supper, then His drinking of wine is not what many think.

Water to Wine

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 must assume this “wine,” oinos, was alcoholic when oinos means grape juice that is either alcoholic or nonalcoholic.

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 the word translated “drunk” referring to drunkenness by drinking intoxicating wine or filling oneself with nonalcoholic wine (Thayer’s Lexicon). Which is more likely: that Jesus created intoxicating wine for those who were drunk or that He made fresh “new wine” for those who had filled themselves with the previous nonalcoholic wine? If one interprets this passage as Jesus made alcoholic wine, then Jesus created more intoxicating wine to those who were already drunk. If one perceives that the wedding party were simply full of nonalcoholic wine, then Jesus made “new wine” with little or no alcohol. Furthermore, consider the reference to “new wine.”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 and became drunk 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 three hundred 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, consider a wedding party of a thousand guests. If one thousand people drank one hundred and fifty 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 a thousand people in binge drinking having intoxicated the guests with three additional drinks after already been intoxicated — “have well drunk.” For each guest to have had simply two more drinks, then the wedding would have had at least 2,400 attendees. Despite the number of the attendees, Jesus would have presumably contributed a considerable and consumable amount alcohol to those who were already drunk.

If Jesus did make a great amount of fermented wine, He would had aided the sin of drunkenness, excessive drinking, and participated in a drinking party, which are all condemned by His Spirit in the Scriptures (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 before the first harvest. Therefore, Jesus’s making of fresh nonalcoholic wine would have been an evident wonder of God, because this was late in the year just before Passover when old wine remained (John 2:13).

Wine and the Lord’s Supper

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, the Scriptures never use the word “wine” in any of the four accounts of Christ instituting the Lord’s Supper. Jesus mentioned the specific content of the cup containing “the fruit of the grapevine.” 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 of justifying their use of wine according to Jesus’s use.

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. God did not mean that Israel throw out the yeast and 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% because of wild yeast. 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.

What about those who got drunk over the Lord’s Supper in the Bible? This is another misconception from the use of the Greek word methuo, which can mean drunk or filled. First Corinthians 11:21–22 depicts, “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk [methuo].” Apparently, some ate the Lord’s Supper as a meal so that they were filled, and those who drank were also filled. If one still perceives that these Christians became drunk in the assembly using the Lord’s Supper, then they must also presume that those drinking used the wine for the Lord’s Supper rather than bringing their own alcohol. Either way, there is certainly not enough information in 1 Corinthians 11 to conclude that the Lord’s Supper consisted of highly alcoholic wine.

Misconceptions about Wine

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 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.” Galatians 5 also condemned “wild parties” or “revelries” where any of the list of sins like drunkenness would constitute a party as sinful and carnal. 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 and compromises the sobriety of the Christian conscience — one’s heart (Rom 2:14–15; 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 this word 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 translated from the Greek 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 participate in events that meet and center around drinking. Christ had no part with drunkenness and drinking parties, so His followers must not. While Christians should not condemn their brother over a drink, he must warn against its use (Prov 23:29–35; Rom 14:17–22).

The wine that Jesus drank cannot be assumed as intoxicating or any more than grape juice with no more than 4% 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.

390 Responses to What Kind of Wine Did Jesus Drink?

  1. Chris Woods says:

    We serve an all knowing, all powerful, a God who is everywhere at once. This God’s wisdom is infinite. He conducts himself in the affairs of men and directs the course of man’s history. Whenever Jesus spoke he used allegories, parables and examples from everyday life so that even the un-learned of his listeners could understand him. Now you are telling me that this all-knowing God did not know enough to have the phrase “juice of the grape” used instead of the term “wine”?
    That somehow he could not foresee that the word “wine” would be interpreted by most people as an alcoholic beverage? That this mighty God would be so negligent as to not properly instruct even the un-learned of his flock? So unless I go to seminary and learn Greek and Hebrew I can’t properly understand God’s Word? Nay, but many are full of learning and lack understanding. This is comparable to Jews who practice the tradition of not mixing meat and milk. God forbade the boiling of a calf in it’s own mothers milk, and they took an ordinance of compassion and turned into works to make themselves appear holy. There is no folly in God, and anyone can safely trust in God’s word. Paul said all things are lawful but not all things are expedient. He also asked why should my liberty be affected by another man’s conscience. Who are you to judge another man’s servant? to his master he stands and to his master he falls. I do not drink alcohol casually but I dare not conform God’s holy word to meet my standards.

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    • How would you translate oinos when the word may refer to alcoholic or non-alcoholic grape juice? We can’t avoid that or other subtle differences from translating ancient Greek into English. You don’t have to go to seminary to learn Greek or to use Greek and double-check what linguists assert. By the way, learning Koine Greek is very beneficial to etymology and precision in English. Why create new terms by using Greek and Latin? The word “medical” comes from Latin, and words like biology and zoology are formed from two Greek words. Instead of translating baptisma as immersion or submersion, we now know a biblical Greek term — baptism. Biblical names and titles of Bible books are also transliterated from Greek or Latin.

      The accountability falls on translators — not God — and their use of philosophies for translation that are consistent with the Scriptures.

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    • seattlebruce says:

      “Now you are telling me that this all-knowing God did not know enough to have the phrase “juice of the grape” used instead of the term “wine”?”

      You could say the same thing about every Scriptural word conflict ever – what about Calvinism and Armenianism – Predestination and Free Will. Perhaps God allows some uncertainty so we’ll trust Him, but in the case of drinking and the Church, the ‘pro’ drinking crowd have take it way overboard, and forgotten our weaker brothers and sisters, which Paul speaks of so passionately in Romans 14, and forgotten the idea of in the world, but not of the world, which Jesus so passionately speaks/prays in John 17. I think we’d do well to recall the main sweeps of Scripture, like the call to holiness and being a peculiar people to the Lord, over and above word conflicts and challenges. Romans 14:22 sums up our Christian liberty and responsibility quite well: “Whatever you think about these things, keep between yourself and God.” Not much conflict in those word – pretty straightforward. Right? I also really agree that we need to consider how drinks today are much stronger than in Jesus day, whether Jesus drank wine, or merely was involved making wedding wine, and was at the Last Supper drinking say new wine (or very slightly fermented grapes/grape juice) matters less than that we know Jesus was not drunk, did not sin, and did not cause brothers to stumble. We do well to talk and live like Jesus!

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  2. Chris Woods says:

    I’m always amazed at how people find new ways to re-interpret God’s Word to meet their own sense of morality. Yes, it is a sin to be a drunkard. Yes a Christin should be sober and walk circumspect. But to say that Jesus drank grape juice at the first communion, well that is just a lie. Historically speaking it makes no sense at all. People love to re-interpret the scriptures based on their own modern lifestyles, mores and conveniences, but unless you were squeezing fresh grapes everyday, drinking unfermented grape juice was taking your life in your hands. There was no refrigeration back then, and fermentation was a way of preserving the grape juice. And to use the scriptures that speak about grapes on the vine as proof that it refers to grape juice and not wine, well that’s like saying the meat is in the cow…but, no one in their right mind is going to eat raw cow meat (which is forbidden in Jewish law), they will cook it first. As a Christian I don’t drink alcohol casually. That is a personal choice because of the perception of drinking. But to conduct communion with grape juice to me is a defilement of Jesus’ Holy Communion.

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    • Chris, You judge me wrongly if you think that I seek to reinterpret Scripture to fit my perspective. My position is to support the Scriptures and gain my beliefs from it. However, considering Proverb 18:17, I must consider both sides interpretation, and yet allow the Scriptures to interpret themselves. I hope you reread and reconsider. I think you miss a fundamental point here. Grape juice has not other word than the Greek oinos, which is also translated “wine.” I think you also miss that if we assume that biblical wine was alcoholic, it is certainly not the potency of today’s wine.

      I thought you were making the case for the use of wine that is fermented grape juice, but you find that using grape juice in the communion is a defilement. What do you mean? Are you saying that leavening and fermentation are essential elements to the communion?

      Lastly, if you do some more research, you will find that before refrigeration, there were methods of preserving grape juice like boiling the juice into a syrup or placing it in cool water such as a lake. While left unleavened, the grape juice does not exceed 3% alcohol. Such amounts of alcohol do not appear to concern the biblical writers, but rather, the more intoxicating alcohol consisting around 10% that enables drunkenness (Eph 5:18).

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      • Chris Woods says:

        It is one thing to advocate temperance and soberness for Christians, an I agree with that wholeheartedly, but to impress upon people that Jesus never drank alcohol, well that is a lie, and I will not accept that. That is the issue I have. Consuming small amounts of alcohol and being a drunkard are not one and the same. People have a tendency to take God’s admonishments for temperate living and turn them into works ( Paul refers to it as ‘will worship’ in the book of Colossians), and then it becomes a litmus test of holiness rather than personal choices. As far as using grape juice rather than wine for communion, well Paul makes it quite clear that the beverage consumed for the Lord’s communion was alcoholic because he charged the Corinthians with getting drunk during the Lord’s supper. At no time did he tell them to stop drinking wine, but rather he explained to them that this was a Holy event to be conducted with reverence for Christ, and that no one should do it unworthily, that is, its purpose was to commemorate the sacrifice Christ made by giving his body(bread) and his blood (wine) for our sins. So if Christ used wine, I will use wine. And when God told Moses to build the Ark, and the tabernacle, and all the utensils for worship, he admonished Moses saying make sure you follow the pattern I gave you. Had Moses varied in any of God’s directions he surely would of been rejected of God. But today men disregard the teachings and examples of Jesus and God’s holy apostles, because they somehow seem to feel their way is better.

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        • This article neither confirms nor denies that Jesus consumed any alcohol, because the Scriptures do not teach that Jesus drank alcohol. Therefore, we cannot presume that Jesus drank alcohol. He certainly does not condone it by word or example. The legalism comes when someone judges others for consuming alcohol. This study makes no such judgments. Like Solomon, I write this article to warn about wine that sparkles in the cup and bites like a serpent (Prov 23:29-35). Proverb 20:1 states, “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Am I wrong for making such warnings? Note that Solomon goes further than “do not taste” when he teaches to not look at wine while it sparkles in the cup. Christians should apply such warnings against admiring any temptation and not escaping it. How does wine bite if we are simply looking at it? How is wine a mocker with or without our consumption of it?

          Next, 1 Corinthians 11 cannot mean “drunk” anymore than John 2:10 which is the same Greek word methuo that is translated filled or full. “Full” or “filled” is the meaning of the Greek word methuo. Consider also the parallels between not becoming drunk in Ephesians 5:18 as compared to becoming filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:19. The translators infer drunkenness making it harder for the non-Greek reader to determine for themselves via the context. I have another article posted on this site concerning the word methuo — just search methuo. If we presume that these Christians were getting drunk and not filled in the assembly, we do not have to infer that they were intoxicated from the fruit of the vine provided for the Lord’s Supper since they were also eating to become filled and we do not have to presume that they were eating only the unleavened bread. Furthermore, Paul ate his own meal in the upper room of Troas in Acts 20:11. What other food was there? What other drink did these bring to the assembly? Either way, the Apostle condemned being filled with intoxicants in the assembly as he does in general living.

          Lastly, you say that you desire not to vary from what Christ used in the Lord’s Supper. For this, we agree. However, where are you getting your wine? How much alcohol does it have? Has it been fermented with the genetically modified yeast that certainly did not exist in Jesus’ time in the flesh? Does your wine vary from the wine that Jesus drank? Did His wine consist of yeast during the Feast of Unleavened Bread when the Jews cast out all yeast in bread et cetera? Drink your wine as Christ did knowing that He did not use wine of high potency — no more than 4%, which is the highest product of wild airborne yeast.

          Thank you for thoughts and questions.

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        • seattlebruce says:

          Chris, you’ve called Scott a liar twice now – and the Scriptures are very clear that lying and being a liar are serious, and in fact that’s a serious charge. Are you just trying to be melodramatic, or are you actually actually accusing Scott of lying outright? You can disagree with Scott, without accusing him of lying! You can say, ‘what you’re claiming isn’t true’ without accusing him of being a liar. We know this, Jesus did not sin, did not stumble his brothers and sisters to sin, was in the world, but not of the world, and was full of grace and truth.

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          • Rudy Schellekens says:

            Those who insist on teaching that Jesus never drank wine (of any kind) are teaching a lie! On the other hand, those who teach Jesus did drink wine are correct – because He did.
            Nothing wrong with that conclusion – the texts speak for themselves.
            That the act of drinking wine (and strong drink) was allowed in the Old Testament is also a fact. It was even allowed as a part of the sacrificial system. You cannot argue against that.
            Those who argue about the alcohol content being high, low or indifferent also have a problem – There is no information on that in the Bible. Starting at Noah’s vineyard, his “grape-juice” was strong enough to get him drunk enough to do something wrong – and caused his son to be cursed!
            All here agree that drunkenness is sin. Some seem to want the job of judging the conscience of others. That, too, is sin. Allow each other the freedom to make these decisions for themselves.

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  3. Glennis E. James says:

    Look, no one is advocating inviting someone who has a drinking problem and pouring him a glass of wine. Of course you should help that person in anyway you can, praying with him, listening to him, encouraging him, helping him find help, etc. I just don’t think people should be labelled sinners if they have a glass of wine to drink. I don’t believe the bible says it’s wrong. It says that getting drunk is wrong. And, also, unless the person with the drinking problem reaches a point where he can see alcohol and resist it, he will never succeed.

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    • seattlebruce says:

      “I just don’t think people should be labelled sinners if they have a glass of wine to drink. I don’t believe the bible says it’s wrong. It says that getting drunk is wrong. And, also, unless the person with the drinking problem reaches a point where he can see alcohol and resist it, he will never succeed.”

      We’re sinners when we make our brothers and sisters stumble. Alcohol is a powerful drug, and all the more so today, than it ever was in Bible days. That means if we choose to drink, we should be even more careful than ever (and the Bible advises much caution related to this), if we care about modeling and discipling our generation and the next, because there will be many there that will become alcoholics, if they do not walk down a different path. We should ponder these things before God, as it is a sacred trust we have been entrusted by God to raise the next generation in the fear of the Lord. (Ps. 111:10)

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  4. Glennis E. James says:

    It seems like people are saying that if you want to drink a glass of wine you should hide it. That seems wrong. If I go to a restaurant and drink a glass of wine and drink responsibly, I think that is a good example to others. You don’t have to announce that you’re going to have wine, but you shouldn’t have to sneak around either.

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    • seattlebruce says:

      “It seems like people are saying that if you want to drink a glass of wine you should hide it.”

      Not saying that. I am saying that there are millions of alcoholics and problem drinkers in the US, and millions around the world. So how should we Christians interact with them. I don’t think it’s wise to just ignore that reality – do you? It’s not so much hiding it, as it is being quite careful and discrete in your drinking – erring on the side of loving these folks. I don’t think that’s too much to ask in light of Scripture and reality. If you’re at a restaurant, there’s probably no good way of knowing who may have issues there – but I think this bears to whether we should be having ‘drinking events’ at churches – which seem in some circles all the rage. And of course many will decide not to drink at all – especially those involved in ministry to the recovery community, or perhaps with kids, and this may also apply to parents not wishing to make drinking normative in their Christian home. Lots to consider given the reality of alcohol problems, right?

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  5. seattlebruce says:

    Additional comment to the above – I thought you were calling out the percentages I cited relating to alcohol related crimes and behavior, when you may have been discussing the % of alcohol in wine that I mentioned. I think it’s clear that it took a LOT more drinking in days of old to get drunk. We’ve kind of streamlined the process, have we not? 2 or 3 glasses of wine today is equal to 10 to 15 glasses of wine of old. That’s a big difference. We’ve exacerbated and accelerated the problem of alcohol, addiction and alcohol related sin because of this. As such, I think it requires that we Christians exercise more caution than ever related to wine and other types of alcohol – certainly not less!

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  6. coffeebrah says:

    There’s just one problem with the assumption Jesus drankk non-alcoholic wine: botulism. If you don’t let the grape juice ferment enough to make wine, you’ll have bad grape juice and if consumed you’ll become sick with botulism. Grape juice as we know it was near non-existent until the 19th century.

    Drinking a glass of wine or a beer every now and again is not sinful, but getting drunk to the point of brain hinderence is because you can’t make rational decisions.

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    • Anita says:

      Everything that JESUS does IS good. He is without sin and loves us. Therefore, the wine was good, because JESUS made it, and He is perfect. JESUS loves us, beyond our imagination.

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    • it never says Jesus drank the wine. But it does seem fairly obvious it was alcoholic wine, unless people just don’t want to see it.

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      • seattlebruce says:

        “But it does seem fairly obvious it was alcoholic wine, unless people just don’t want to see it.”

        There are references to alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine in the Bible. Alcoholic wine in Biblical times referred to naturally fermented wine. The yeast that exists naturally in the grape will result in a limited alcoholic content by today’s standards – 3% at full fermentation. Compare that with wine today of 12 – 18%, using additional manual processing methods. 4 to 6 glasses of alcoholic wine then, is equal to 1 glass today. Now there is also no good evidence at all that what Jesus made for the Wedding at Cana was fully fermented – to be sure it could have been fresh wine having almost no alcohol. At the very least, what Jesus made miraculously at that wedding, was logically very different than what we make manually today as 12 – 18% alcoholic wine. Acknowledging this reality can bring those Christians who drink wine, and those who advocate refraining from wine for many various reasons, closer together. Some of my friends have acknowledged getting tipsy on just half a glass of wine. Well, no wonder, as that’s like drinking 2 to 3 glasses in Bible days. Knowing this is important. It’s also important to note that half a glass of wine is like a single 12 oz. glass/can of beer. So if our goal here is to understand our brothers and sisters who drink, or who don’t drink, we should try to compare apples to apples, grapes to grapes, and understand what these comparisons are.

        It’s also factual that there are somewhere in the range of 6 to 8% of all drinking adults in the US that are alcoholics (roughly 12 to 14 million people) and another 50% more than that that have problems with alcohol. Understanding, acknowledging and pondering what responsibility we Christians have toward this massive segment of our population will help those Christians who drink and those who don’t ‘get on the same page’ when it comes to this topic. I think Romans 14:22 is instructive and helps us to understand that while there is Christian liberty, there is also Christian sacrifice on behalf of our brothers and sisters, and for our Lord Jesus.

        Let us strive for unity, to be humble and sober for the purpose of prayer.

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          • Steveinjax says:

            Jesus apparently drank enough wine that he was accused of drinking to excess. In his own words he proclaimed, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking; and you say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard’” (Luke 7:34). So Jesus was accused of being a drunk.

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          • Let us think about this, because we want to be truthful even if we find ourselves wrong.

            (1) If accusations against Jesus imply that he drank enough or much alcoholic wine to accuse him of excess, then the Scriptures record His drinking of much wine.

            (2) However, Jesus is not recorded drinking alcoholic wine in the Scriptures. Jesus observed in Luke 7:33-35, “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! ’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” (ESV) This passage does not imply that he drank wine, but that he ate and drank. Furthermore, this accusation is associated with Jesus’s friendship with tax collectors and sinners. Consider that the accusation includes gluttony, because Jesus ate food. Add that today’s leavened wine at its mildest is not comparable to first-century wine at its most intoxicating as noted by the sources in the above article.

            (3) Therefore, Jesus did not drink enough or much alcoholic wine to truthfully imply accusations of excess.

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  7. Pingback: Alcohol, facts and the Bible | Life of A Christian Girl

  8. Glennis E. James says:

    Isn’t it possible to drink a glass of wine with dinner without becoming drunk or drinking to excess? Isn’t that like saying that if I bring cheesecake to a dinner I am promoting gluttony and obesity? If someone has an addictive personality, he will find something to abuse. The Mormons say that drinking coffee is a sin. I don’t believe that either wine or coffee is inherently sinful, but the abuse of anything is, especially if it becomes important than God.

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    • seattlebruce says:

      “If someone has an addictive personality, he will find something to abuse.”

      What should be Christians’ loving response people who have these addictive personalities that you describe? That question and answer is equally important, if not more so, than the questions regarding Christian liberty, especially in light of the teaching throughout the Word to love and care for those who are weak, helpless, frail, etc.

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      • Rudy Schellekens says:

        the issue was not the addictive personality problem. The issue is how we approach Scripture. Creating incorrect meanings of words to suit a specific “interpretation” should never be a method! The bible speaks of “wine” and of “Strong (or fermented) drink.” The Bible even tells the Jews to buy that, use it it, invite strangers, widows and orphans, and celebrate! That such can cause drunkenness is a fact. But that does not remove Deuteronomy 14 from the Bible!
        Nowhere does the Bible define the alcohol content of both wine or fermented (strong) drink. So we can only guess those levels (since there is no record of such measuring in the new Testament either we are guessing there, too!).
        And yet, here we are, discussing a topic the Bible was never concerned about – the drinking of wine/strong drink. Scripture is concerned about drunkenness in the same way it is concerned about gluttony (Staying with the food, drink). And I have not seen anyone argue that we should do away with food, because of addictive personalities! And remember: In this country obesity is a by far bigger issue than alcoholism!
        our congregation has a monthly potluck. Our ladies are terrific cooks (as are some of our men). But no one measures out the amount of food on people’s plates, even though it would be very, very good to do that for some!
        Let’s work on a balance not only in our intake of… and at the same time work on our balanced approach to Scripture!

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        • Please read Deuteronomy 14:26 again. Why translations say similar drink compared to biblical wine?

          Who told you that gluttony is comparable to drunkenness? Why do you think obesity is caused by gluttony rather than other causes like our food having more fat and sugar, or because we do not walk as much?

          Focus on drunkenness and anything that removes our sobriety. Realize that today’s wine is not like the oinos grape juice that may or may not have fermented.

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          • Rudy Schellekens says:

            I figured someone would say that gluttony and obesity were not related. MOST cases of obesity have to do with dietary choices in portions and content. SOME is related to medical issues. So, we have that out of the way.
            “And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink,” KJV
            You may spend the money for whatever your [a]heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your [b]heart [c]desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. NASB
            Use the silver to buy anything you wish—cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or anything you wish. Then you and your family will eat and celebrate there before the Lord your God. NCV
            Then you may spend the money however you wish for cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or whatever you desire. You and your household may eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and enjoy it. NET

            Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice NIV

            I think this is a fairly representative listing of versions. And your statement, “Realize that today’s wine is not like the oinos grape juice that may or may not have fermented…” has no objective basis. You cannot show anyone that the alcohol content was or was not more or less than today’s wine.
            Apart from that, “Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”…” NKJV

            But I digress. ALL of us agree that drunkenness is a sin. ALL of us agree that gluttony is a sin. But to argue then that ALL use of alcohol is sin, or wrong is un-biblical (regardless of alcohol content). I have not heard anyone argue that we should stop feeding people, because it might lead to gluttony. And gluttony starts with food, folks! Moderation and responsible use of both is what we need to emphasize, rather than making Scripture say something it never did.

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          • James Barron says:

            So true Rudy. Well said again! The real sin in all this discussion about whether a person should drink wine or not is the sin of distorting scripture to say what they want it to say. A far more grievous sin than even drunkeness.

            Like

          • Who has said that all use of alcohol is sin?

            It has been proven repeatedly that today’s wine is not the same last century, twenty centuries, or thirty-five centuries ago.

            The existence and use of GMO yeast for fermentation proves this. Otherwise, why modify yeast if not for altering fermentation?

            Lastly, please use verbal translations. We have no time for word wrangling.

            As noted elsewhere, grape juice was kept from any fermentation by sealing it in basins and additionally submerging the basins in cool water or boiling them in water for a few hours. Also, the grape juice was also boiled down to a syrup. See the Biblical Encyclopedia and the numerous authorities in Anti-Bacchus about the preservation of grape juice with fermentation. I refer you also to “Bible Wines” by William Patton.

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          • Is the strong drink in Deut 14:26 applicable to Christians? This is Moses’s law (2 Cor 3, Heb 8:13), and we know that Moses wrote some things because of the hardness of heart (Matt 19).

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          • Rudy Schellekens says:

            Again, those are “straw men” or, as someone from Holland might say, “Red herrings.” The problem is in the argumentation and misuse of Scripture. No one argues for drunkenness.

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          • There are numerous ancients sources that note the preservation of grape juice without alcohol. See Palladius, Horace, Democritus, Columella, Pliny, and the Mishna. Alcohol evaporates at 170F and grape juice boils at 212F.

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        • seattlebruce says:

          “So we can only guess those levels”

          Wine naturally ferments fully to 3% alcohol, after which its natural yeast is used up. Compare that with a glass of modern wine at 12 to 18% and you see that one glass of wine today is 4 to 6 glasses of old. At the very least we have a different, and more intense alcohol today causing many more problems for many more people. Can we agree on that piece? Unless and until you work with recovery programs, this will just remain esoteric, but when you do, it becomes life and health. Romans 14:22 tells us that ‘whatever you think about these things, keep between yourself and God” and 1 Cor. 13 tells us that “Love always protects.” That is where I believe the Christian needs to ponder what it means to set an example and operate in the Spirit in today’s world. Notice I did not say a believer couldn’t discretely drink a glass of wine. But please notice what I did say Scripturally here.

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          • Rudy Schellekens says:

            IF the % matters, I should be good with beer, right? Most of that is in the 3% – 5% range. Is that really a solution???

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          • seattlebruce says:

            That’s true – beer is less intoxicating than wine, actually. I think from the standpoint of wisdom – better 1 or 2 beers than 1 or 2 glasses of wine, actually. But Romans 14:22 is even more important – I should keep these kinds of liberties, no matter what I think, between myself and God.

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        • seattlebruce says:

          “And I have not seen anyone argue that we should do away with food, because of addictive personalities! And remember: In this country obesity is a by far bigger issue than alcoholism!”

          Obesity is a huge issue. As is lack of exercise, and all around not caring for the temple of the Holy Spirit that God has given us. But let’s take your parallel here and examine. Does overeating cause people to completely lose control of their lives, marriages, families and jobs? For some small percentage of people/Americans (since we’re examining our culture for the moment) yes. But for 8 to 10% of drinkers alcoholism does indeed cause them to lose complete control of their lives, health, marriages, families and jobs. There are 12 million alcoholics – at least, and many times higher than that the number who are impacted by it as part of an alcoholic family units – by many estimates 50 million Americans in these alcoholic family units. Also consider that alcohol is a factor in the following [http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/statistics-on-alcoholics.html]:
          73% of all felonies
          73% of child beating cases
          41% of rape cases
          81% of wife battering cases
          72% of stabbings
          83% of homicides

          What is this comparison you make to food?

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          • Rudy Schellekens says:

            Once again, the issue is NOT drinking or eating. The issue is: How do we apply biblical passages?
            As far as the percentages go, it does not matter! Gluttony is a sin – eating is not. Drunkenness is a sin – drinking a glass of wine is not. As we are cautioning people about drinking a glass of wine (and the POSSIBLE repercussions), so we should caution people about eating habits (And the POSSIBLE repercussions). Or smoking. Or extreme sports. Or workaholicism… ANYTHING which harms our body is bad. Who cares about percentages?
            ANY abuse of Scripture is wrong, who cares about the percentages?

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          • seattlebruce says:

            ” Who cares about percentages?”

            The topic of this post is ‘What kind of wine did Jesus drink?’ And importantly from the discussion of that, the author draws distinctions between ancient wine, and modern wine, and even what would be considered closer to grape juice (although perhaps slightly fermented on the vine). This too, the Bible calls wine. I agree that our approach to Scripture should be one of rigor and honor – as it is God’s Word, and our authority for faith and life. God is not a God of confusion, nor One who ignores reality or context in our lives. “If any lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who will give it generously and without reproach.” (James 1:5) Also, “from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (I Chron. 12:32). The statistics are important, as they provide a backdrop to knowing our times, and to seeking wisdom about how a Christian should approach wine and drinking, especially in light of Romans 14:22, “Whatever you think about these things (Christian liberties involving eating and drinking), keep between yourself and God.” Further, any of the so-called positive passages about wine, need to be considered within the historical and cultural context from which they came, as this is a basic hermeneutic principle. Even Duet. 14:26 with its mention of wine or other fermented drink should be understood to mean 3% alcoholic wine, let’s say, and that festival was once/year – so where does that fit in with the thought that this kind of gives great license to drinking our more highly alcoholic wine much more frequently. Perhaps once/year, in the context of that culture, and with much less alcohol than a glass of modern wine contains. Clearly we need to take Deut. 14:26 alongside of the the warnings of Scripture that ‘Wine is a mocker’ (Prov. 20), as they are part of the context here, and Scriptural context, historical and cultural context, applying sound hermeneutics, are part of not abusing Scripture in ANY way – that you’re calling for, right Rudy?

            To answer your question – God cares about the percentages, because God loves people. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And so, if I choose to imitate God, I too will seek to love (all) people, and I too will care about what damages God’s creation, and I too will sacrifice my liberty to drink (perhaps), or to drink too brashly and openly when so many are suffering from it (Phil 1:30).

            Yeah, context matters. The Word is to be honored, and if we don’t APPLY the Word in light of the times we live in, how gravely do we abuse it?

            Liked by 1 person

          • seattlebruce says:

            Additional comment to the above – I thought you were calling out the percentages I cited relating to alcohol related crimes and behavior, when you may have been discussing the % of alcohol in wine that I mentioned. I think it’s clear that it took a LOT more drinking in days of old to get drunk. We’ve kind of streamlined the process, have we not? 2 or 3 glasses of wine today is equal to 10 to 15 glasses of wine of old. That’s a big difference. We’ve exacerbated and accelerated the problem of alcohol, addiction and alcohol related sin because of this. As such, I think it requires that we Christians exercise more caution than ever related to wine and other types of alcohol – certainly not less!

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          • I appreciate this discussion from both sides. And your kind attitudes.

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      • Glennis E. James says:

        People who are addicted to wine will only be okay when they choose to face their addiction and overcome it and we can offer them emotional support as they strive to do this. However, just like any addiction, they must reach the point where they are able to resist temptation. The bars, restaurants, and liquor stores are always going to be there. The strength and willingness has to come from within. Whether it’s wine, food, sex, money or whatever, anything can destroy your life if you make it the most important thing. We can help by being there for them but I’m never going to cure an alcoholic by not having a glass of wine. He has to do work on that.

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        • seattlebruce says:

          “The bars, restaurants, and liquor stores are always going to be there. The strength and willingness has to come from within.”

          True. What we don’t need however, are churches contributing to the temptations for our brothers and sisters, and what they need from us who don’t struggle with this, is empathy and compassion and perhaps some self sacrifice. If you work with the recovery community, you’ll understand exactly what this entails, and you’ll discover practical means to execute, even if you drink. But in my humble opinion, even if you don’t work with that kind of ministry, or with impressionable kids, or what not, all Christians should ponder their attitude, approach and strategy about alcohol because of the pervasiveness of the problem. Here’s something to think about related to the impact of alcohol on our youth: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/underage-drinking-community-guide.pdf. Look, if the Surgeon General can issue a Call to Action – then what about the Church of Jesus Christ?

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          • Rudy Schellekens says:

            our “family” struggles with many things, from pride to greed to alcohol, sex etc. We should treat all with the same consideration. some of those in recovery groups are addicted to sex. Should we therefore no longer talk about how sexual relations fit within marriage?
            teaching on moderation covers a lot of areas, so let’s treat all of them with the same consideration. And, use Scripture with the same careful approach, no matter what the subject is.

            After all of this, I would like to ask a question on a totally different subject. Why does it seem that churches of Christ have lost their concept of God?

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          • seattlebruce says:

            “our “family” struggles with many things, from pride to greed to alcohol, sex etc. We should treat all with the same consideration. some of those in recovery groups are addicted to sex. Should we therefore no longer talk about how sexual relations fit within marriage? teaching on moderation covers a lot of areas, so let’s treat all of them with the same consideration. And, use Scripture with the same careful approach, no matter what the subject is.”

            Yes agreed. However some churches are having keggers in the parking lots, and wine events to raise funds, and to accompany Bible study. Clearly such events give not even one passing thought to the recovering alcoholic, or those that may become one. The same sorts of events are not being held related to discussions on sex, and a sound discussion of sex need not be titillating, and tempting for brothers and sisters who are weak in that area. One drink (leading to thousands more) can kill a decade or two, or take lives. Talking about moderation, and consideration – we need to be cognizant and aware of reality here as well. Consuming alcohol – a dangerous drug – should not be encouraged within the churches. And as Paul said about Christian liberty, “Whatever you think about these things, keep between yourself and God.” (Romans 14:22). if we care about our alcoholic brothers and sisters, and those who may become alcoholics (about 10 % of all who drink), then we should be very cautious with the much more highly alcoholic drinks that are common today. We need to love our brothers and sisters that much.

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        • seattlebruce says:

          “We can help by being there for them but I’m never going to cure an alcoholic by not having a glass of wine.”

          True. But by not drinking carelessly in front of those who struggle with alcohol, are alcoholics, or may become alcoholics, you minimize the acceptance of drinking as normal or preferable, and the peer pressure such feel when they view people they love and respect imbibing, when they themselves shouldn’t/can’t. You can’t tell me that peer pressure doesn’t enter into these decisions – especially for our teenagers. 14 year olds that binge drink (and that’s what teens do, BTW) are about 8 times more likely to become alcoholic adults than the percentage in the general population. Wisdom and love would compel those who seek to disciple and model for the next generation to be VERY cautious about today’s more highly alcoholic drinks.

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