Wine in the Bible
What many people don't know is that the word "wine" in the Bible is a generic term. The context (words before and after the word wine) in each case indicates whether it was fermented or not.
In, Isaiah 16:10b, grape juice is called "wine" (yayin) when it is still in the press, saying, "No treaders will tread out wine in the presses" where it clearly cannot be fermented yet.
Now, "Did Jesus make alcohol for the wedding in Cana? We find the story in, John 2:1-11, in the New Testament.
The person in charge of the wedding, after he had tasted the wine Jesus had just made, commented. "you have kept the good wine until now." Good wine was fresh grape juice, the fermented grape juice was considered inferior.
Another way we know that this was not an alcoholic drink is because Jesus always obeyed the Father. In, Proverbs 23:31 and 32 it commands, "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." No, Jesus did NOT make a fermented wine at this wedding, but rather He gave a wedding gift of at least 120 gallons of fresh unfermented grape juice.
In another place in the Bible, Deuteronomy 32:33, it says fermented wine is poison. Alcohol is a toxic mind-altering drug. Alcohol causes ill effects on the digestive, muscular, skeletal, nervous and circulatory systems. It causes cirrhosis of the liver, jaundice, pancreatitis, and blackouts along with many other sicknesses.
The Bible says wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses fights, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise! Proverbs 20:1
We need to trust God's Word, God does not lie. The misunderstanding is with us; because in our culture all wine is fermented, but not in the Bible.
Some people also think the Bible encourages drinking of a little alcohol because Paul told Timothy, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your often infirmities." Paul was telling Timothy to drink grape juice for medicinal purposes. Remember the Bible does not use the word "grape juice", but always the word "wine" which can be either fermented or unfermented depending on the context.
Getting drunk should not be taken lightly because the Bible says: "Don't you know that those who live immoral lives, who are idol worshipers, adulterers or homosexuals-will have no share in His Kingdom. Neither thieves or greedy people, 'drunkards', slanderers, or robbers." 1 Cor. 6:10.
Many young people today drink to get drunk. God's Word has something to say about this also: "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on their nakedness!" Habakkuk 2:15.
In other references such as 1 Timothy 3: 2, 3 and Titus 1:7, we have the phrase, “not given to wine” this is taken by some to mean, “not to be addicted” to alcohol. But in reality the Greek word used here is, “mee-paroinon,” literally, not at, by near, or with wine (alcohol). According to Paul, total abstinence is an indispensable qualification for a pastor. (See Bible Wines , William Patton)
Other references that have caused confusion to some, are the ones like 1 Timothy 3:8 and Titus 2:3, “not given to much wine.” In order to understand these verses, we will need to understand a popular vice of that time. That was to drink a lot of unfermented wine. They used various methods to promote thirst. These drinkers might continue drinking all night at their feasts.
Excessive drinking, even of non-alcoholic drinks corresponded to gluttony-the excessive use of food. Paul is simply guarding the deacons and deaconesses against a vice of the day. It would be similar in our day to “bulimia” (eating or drinking to the point of being gorged and then vomiting). This is unbecoming behavior for a Christian in any age!
In Revelation 1:6, we are called kings and priests, according to Scripture kings or princes were not to drink fermented wine or intoxicating drink, Proverbs 31: 4, 5. We are also told that priests were not to drink any wine or intoxicating drink when they went into the tabernacle (or temple), Leviticus 10:9 and 10. Then 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
Maybe as you have read this pamphlet, you have realized that you are not right with God. You know that if you were to die, you would not go to heaven. You can be saved today by turning from sin and obeying, John 3:16, where it says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For more information about wine and other alcoholic beverages in the Bible:
*For more information about grape juice and health:
or see our other Bible Commentaries
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Gary Tomás Panell
© 2005-2009 by Gary T. Panell
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