by W. Albert Smith

Too long we have listened to the pious expression, heard from many quarters, which says, “Let the preacher stick to his Bible and leave the liquor question to laymen and politicians.”

One has only to examine the Bible to find abundant references condemning the drink evil. In fact, if the preacher is to preach the whole truth, and be fair with the Word of God, he must preach against sin.

I have taken Young’s Concordance and other helps, and have made a study of the Bible on the subject. It is indeed revealing! Here one finds scores of direct references comprising one hundred and sixty-two verses of Scripture. This is more Scripture than one will find on any of the subjects of lying, adultery, swearing, stealing, Sabbath-breaking, cheating, hypocrisy, pride, or even blasphemy.

Below Is a summary of these Scriptures for handy reference:

1. Genesis 9:20-26 – Here is the first mentioned drunkenness in the Bible. Note the concomitant immorality, – behavior ever since inseparably associated with alcohol consumption.

2. Genesis 19:30-38- In this instance drinking resulted in Lot’s debauchery of his own daughters.

3. Genesis 27:25 – Isaac was drinking wine when he blessed Jacob.

4. Leviticus 10:9 – Here is an express command not to drink.

5. Numbers 6:3 – No Nazarite should ever drink wine or liquor.

6. Deuteronmy 21:20 – Drinking leads to stubbornness, rebellion, and gluttony by young men; and brings dishonor to parents.

7. Deuteronmy 29:2-6 – Abstinence assures better knowledge of God.

8. Judges 13:4,7,14 – Samson’s mother; an example to all womanhood, was commanded to drink no wine. Was alcohol recognized even then as a protoplasmic poison, injuring posterity in the parents?

9. 1 Samuel 1:14-15 – Hannah, an example of all honored motherhood, practiced total abstinence.

10. 1 Samuel 25:36-38 – Nabal, a rich but churlish man who opposed David, died at the end of a drunken spree.

11. 2 Samuel 13:28-29 – Amnon, while in a drunken brawl, was murdered by his brother Absalom.

12. 2 Samuel 11:13 – Only by strong drink could David lead Uriah into a trap.

13. 1 Kings 16:8-10 – While a king was “drinking himself drunk” in his own home, one of his captains conspired against him and slew him.

14. 1 Kings 20:13-21 – No drinking army can hope to win battles. While Ben-hadad and thirty-two other kings were drinking themselves drunk in their pavilions, a small band of Israel’s men fell upon the Syrians and put them to flight.

15. Esther 1:5-22 – Drink wrecks homes and separates man and wife. At a drinking party which lasted a week, King Ahasuerus drunkenly subjected his queen to the beastly gaze of inebriated nobles and thus brought on the separation of the royal husband and wife.

16. Job 1:13-19 – The children of Job were drinking wine when blown away in a great wind.

17. Proverbs 4:17 – Through drinking the wicked become violent. They are bad enough at best, but drink leads them to violence.

18. Proverbs 20:1 – No wise man will take wine or liquor.

19. Proverbs 21:17; 23:21 – Strong drink leads to poverty.

20. Proverbs 23:19-21 – Young men should shun the company of drunkards.

21. Proverbs 23:29-30 – Strong drink produces woe, sorrow, contentions, babbling, wounds without cause, redness of eyes.

22. Proverbs 23:31 – We are urged not to look upon intoxicants.

23. Proverbs 23:32 – The Word of God says it hurts every one who drinks: it bites like a snake and stings like an adder.

24. Proverbs 23:33 – It fills men’s minds with adulterous and impure thoughts.

25. Proverbs 23:33 – It produces vain talk “every idle word” of which must be accounted for at judgement.

26. Proverbs 23:34 – It brings on insecurity.

27. Proverbs 23:35 – It brings on insensibility, which paves the way for every evil and dangerous act of the drunkard.

28. Proverbs 23:35 – It is habit-forming, one drink always calls for another.

29. Proverbs 31:4-5 – It is not for Kings, nor presidents, nor officials to drink.

30. Proverbs 31:6-7 – The only sanction given in Old Testament times for the use of strong drink was that it might be used as a medicine or anesthetic for those about to die. Let not one construe this as a command to take strong drink. We now have far better medicines and anesthetics than whiskey, wine or beer.

31. Ecclesiastes 2:3 – The writer of Ecclesiastes tried strong drink, but in the end was forced to acknowledge that it, too, is vanity.

32. Ecclesiastes 10:17 – Blessings are promised to the temperate and abstaining nation.

33. Isaiah 5:11-12 – Woe to the drunkards.

34. Isaiah 5:22 – More woes to them that drink wine.

35. Isaiah 22:13 – Drinking and carnality go together.

36. Isaiah 24:9 – Strong drink bitter to them that drink it.

37. Isaiah 28:1 – Woe to the drunkards of Ephraim.

38. Isaiah 28:3 – The pride of drunkards will be trodden down.

39. Isaiah 28:7 – Prophets and priests erred through drink.

40. Isaiah 28:7 – Prophets and priests put out of the way by drink.

41. Isaiah 28:7 – Prophets and priests finally swallowed up by wine.

42. Isaiah 28:7 – Drinking brings on spiritual blindness.

43. Isaiah 56:9-12 – Rebuke to drinking church leaders.

44. Jeremiah 35:5,6,8,14 – Total abstinence of the Rechabites cited as an example of obedience on the part of God’s people.

45. Ezekiel 44:21 – Priests are not to drink wine.

46. Daniel 1:5,8,16; 10:3 – God honored Daniel because he abstained from the king’s wine. Daniel, the man, was true to the home training he had received as a boy.

47. Daniel 5:1 – Belshazzar exhibited an example of a leader who drank and taught his people to drink. What of America’s leaders?

48. Daniel 5:2,23 – What becomes of a nation when its women resort to drinking?

49. Daniel 5:5-9, 26-29 – Ruin and downfall is certain to come to nations when their rulers and leaders cause them to drink.

50. Daniel 5:3 – Belshazzar’s sacrilege in using sacred temple vessels for liquor glasses.

51. Amos 2:8 – Wine of the condemned.

52. Amos 2:12 – Sin to give liquor to the priests.

53. Amos 4:1 – Oppressors of the poor and needy call for their liquor.

54. Amos 6:6 – Drinkers are not concerned about God, nor about the welfare of the people.

55. Hosea 3:1 – Part of the degradation of Hosea’s wife was induced by drink.

56. Hosea 4:11 – Strong drink and immorality go hand in hand.

57. Hosea 7:5 – King and people reproved because of their drinking.

58. Joel 1:5 – Drunkards called to awake from their drinking.

59. Joel 3:3 – Young womanhood sold for the price of strong drink.

60. Nahum 1:10 – Drunkards to be destroyed.

61. Habrews 2:5 – Strong drink is a transgression against God’s law.

62. Habrews 2:15 – It is wrong to give one’s neighbor strong drink.

63. Habrews 2:16 – Strong drink leads to shame and humiliation.

64. Matthew 24:49 – Drunkards warned against the return of Christ and His judgement.

65. Luke 1:15 – Greatness of John the Baptist linked with his total abstinence.

66. Luke 12:45 – Christ warns against becoming enmeshed in drink evils.

67. Luke 21:34 – Warning against drunkenness and the cares of this life.

68. Romans 13:13 – All are admonished to walk honestly and not in rioting and drunkenness.

69. Romans 14:21 – Drinking will cause one’s brother to stumble.

70. 1 Corinthians 11:22 – The Lord’s Supper no place for feasting and wine drinking.

71. 1 Corinthians 6:10 – No drunkard shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

72. Galatians 5:21 – Revelers in drunkenness shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.

73. Ephesians 5:18 – Here is a direct command not to become drunk.

74. 1 Thessalonians 5:7 – Sobriety, as opposed to drunkenness, is enjoined upon the Thessalonians.

75. 1 Timothy 3:8 – Deacons must not drink.

by W. Albert Smith

13 COMMENTS

  1. This is absolutely insane. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, you Christians can’t even agree on issues the Bible clearly saw God HATES (a lying tongue, homosexuality, hands that she’d innocent blood). Left this behind and never looked back. Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy.

  2. There are enough verses that condemn drinking alcohol that a blind man should be able to see it.The people that protest either want to be like the world or can’t read and comprehend.There are things in the Bible that are up for debate not recreational liquor drinking

  3. ew Testament words for alcoholic beverages
    a. Oinos (wine)
    (1) Oinos is very obviously an alcoholic beverage for it is used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) to translate each of the Hebrew words that refer to an intoxicating drink (yayin, tirosh, ‘asis, shekar, hamer, sobe). Though we saw that there is a Hebrew word for the juice of grapes (mishrah cf. Num. 6:3) used in the Old Testament, the Septuagint does not use oinos (wine) to translate that word which it should have done if oinos (wine) in the New Testament is simply grape juice.
    (2) Oinos in the New Testament is an intoxicating beverage for the word for a “winebibber” (i.e. one who drinks wine to an excess) is oinopotes (Mt. 11:19; Lk. 7:34). In contrast to John the Baptist, the Lord was accused of being both a glutton and a winebibber (he was neither) because he ate bread and drank wine with sinners (Mt. 9:10; Mt. 11:18-19; Mk. 2:15-16; Lk. 5:29-30; Lk. 7:33-34; Lk. 15:1-2). The obvious contrast between John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus is that John, a Nazarite, lived in the wilderness and neither ate bread nor drank wine (he ate locusts and wild honey, cf. Mt. 3:4; Mk. 1:6), while Christ, a Nazarene (not a Nazarite, but a Nazarene i.e. one from Nazareth), both ate bread and drank wine. And yet the Jewish leaders found fault with both John and Christ. The Lord is simply pointing out to the Jewish leaders that their problem with John and with Him is not one of lifestyle (the lifestyles of John and Jesus were quite different), but rather their problem is with the message John and Jesus brought (the message of John and Jesus was the same). Jesus could hardly have been accused of being a winebibber had he totally abstained from alcoholic beverages as did John.
    (3) The same oinos that makes one drunk (Eph. 5:18) was created by Jesus to be served at a wedding feast with full knowledge that it had the capacity to make one drunk (Jn. 2:1-11). After tasting the wine which the Lord had created, the master of the feast told the bridegroom that it was the custom to give the guests “the good wine” first “and when the guests have well drunk” (literally, “when they become drunk”) then to give them the inferior wine. The Greek word for “drunk” (Jn. 2:10), methuo is used without exception in the New Testament to refer to one being intoxicated (Mt. 24:49; Acts 2:15; 1 Cor. 11:21; 1 Thess. 5:7; Rev. 17:2,6). The Greek word for “drunkard” (methusos , cf. 1 Cor. 5:11; 1 Cor. 6:10) is a form of methuo. One other form of methuo is found in the New Testament, methuskomai (Lk. 12:45; Eph. 5:18; 1 Thess. 5:7), and this word also refers without exception to one being intoxicated. Thus, it is clear that “the good wine” (oinos) which Christ created had the capacity to intoxicate. The master of the feast relates to the bridegroom that the inferior wine was normally saved to last after the guests had consumed “the good wine” and were drunk (by then they would not notice the inferior quality of the wine they were drinking), but in this case “the good wine” (the same oinos that could make one drunk) which Jesus had created was saved and served to the guests last. There is no getting around the fact that “the good wine” which Christ created was “the good wine” which made guests drunk at wedding feasts (Jn. 2:10). Obviously, Christ is not condoning drunkenness, but rather giving His tacit approval for the lawful use of alcoholic beverages even in social contexts.
    (4) The same oinos that could intoxicate (Jn. 2:10; Eph. 5:18) was hailed for its medicinal value by an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 5:23). This is not a mere suggestion from Paul to Timothy, but a command (literally, “Stop using water any longer, but continuously use a little wine on account of your stomach and your frequent weaknesses.”). The inspired Word of the all wise God declares that wine in moderation is not detrimental to one’s health, but to the contrary, beneficial to one’s health (“Let God be true, but every man a liar” Rom. 3:4).
    (5) The same oinos that had the capacity to inebriate (Jn. 2:10; Eph. 5:18) was not forbidden in moderate use to elders or deacons (1 Tim. 3:2,8) The prohibition in 1 Timothy 3:2 is against lingering a long time beside one’s wine (paroinos) i.e. lingering because one’s glass is repeatedly filled until drunkenness occurs. This is actually a prohibition against drinking much wine not against the moderate use of wine. This is made clear in 1 Timothy 3:8 where the prohibition is against drinking “much wine”, not against drinking wine at all.
    b. The fruit of the vine (Mt. 26:29; Mk. 14:25; Lk. 22:18)
    (1) This phrase does not refer to grape juice any more than does the phrase “the blood of grapes” (in Gen. 49:11 “the blood of grapes” is parallel to yayin i.e. alcoholic wine, and in Deut. 32:14 “the blood of grapes” is parallel to hamer i.e. fermented wine).
    (2) If taken quite literally, “the fruit of the vine” would refer to whole grapes, thus the phrase must be used figuratively in some sense.
    (3) Dunlop Moore summarizes the distinct Jewish meaning of the phrase as follows:
    The expression the “fruit of the vine” is employed by our Saviour in the synoptical Gospels to denote the element contained in the cup of the Holy Supper. The fruit of the vine is literally the grape. But the Jews from time immemorial have used this phrase to designate the wine partaken of on sacred occasions, as at the Passover and on the evening of the Sabbath. The Mishna (De. Bened, cap. 6, pars i) expressly states, that, in pronouncing blessings, “the fruit of the vine” is the consecrated expression for yayin.. . . . The Christian Fathers, as well as the Jewish rabbis, have understood “the fruit of the vine” to mean wine in the proper sense. Our Lord, in instituting the Supper after the Passover, availed himself of the expression invariably employed by his countrymen in speaking of the wine of the Passover. On other occasions, when employing the language of common life, he calls wine by its ordinary name (Cited in The Christian And Alcoholic Beverages by Kenneth L. Gentry, p.55).
    (4) Furthermore, the drink offering that was poured out before the Lord at the Passover and on other occasions was wine not grape juice (Num. 28:24; cf. Num. 28:14 where the drink offering is specifically identified as wine, yayin ). It would certainly follow that the Lord used wine at the Passover celebration (and at the institution of the Lord’s Supper) with His disciples in Matthew 26:29.
    (5) Just as Isaiah can refer to “a vineyard of red wine” (hamer, fermented wine ) in Isaiah 27:2 because fermented wine is derived from the vineyard, in like manner Jesus can can refer to “the fruit of the vine” and yet mean the fermented wine that is derived from the fruit of the vine.
    (6) Christ teaches that the “fruit of the vine” signifies “My blood of the new covenant” (Mt. 26:28). Though the phrase, “the blood of grapes” is not used in the Last Supper account, it is difficult to overlook the parallel between the “blood of grapes” and the “blood of the new covenant.” Yet “the blood of grapes” is used synonomously for both yayin (alcoholic wine) in Genesis 49:11, and for hamer (fermented wine) in Deuteronomy 32:14.
    (7) Melchizedek is a type of Christ (Heb. 7:3) while Abraham is the father of all who believe (Rom. 4:11). Even as Abraham tithed of his increase to Melchizedek, the king of righteousness (Heb. 7::2,4), so do the children of Abraham tithe of their increase to Christ, the King of righteousness (Heb. 7:9-10). Likewise, even as Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High, gave to Abraham bread and wine (yayin ) and then blessed Abraham (Gen. 14:18-19), so does Christ, the Great High Priest of the new covenant, give to the children of Abraham bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper and bless them (Mt. 26:26-29).
    (8) Finally, one must assume that intoxicating wine was being used to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the church of Corinth for believers were combining the love feast with the Lord’s Supper and some were partaking of the Lord’s Supper in a drunken state as a result (cf. 1 Cor. 11:21 where the verb metheuo is used i.e. intoxicated). Although wine was clearly abused by the Corinthian believers in conjuction with the Lord’s Supper, Paul does not condemn the Corinthian Chirsitans for using wine, nor does he prohibit the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper. Paul’s correction is directed toward their sinful abuse of wine not their lawful use of it. If wine was not lawfully to be used in the Lord’s Supper, here was the ideal time for Paul to demonstrate where the use of wine would lead those who broke God’s law by using it in the Lord’s Supper. The silence concerning any prohibition of wine in the Lord’s Supper at this point is deafening.
    c. Sikera (strong drink)
    (1) This is one of the intoxicating beverages that John the Baptist was prohibited from drinking (Lk. 1:15). The other intoxicating drink prohibited to John was oinos (wine).
    d. Gleukos (new wine)
    (1) Gleukos was certainly capable of intoxication for the disciples are accused of being filled with gleukos (new wine) in Acts 2:13. Whereas Peter attributes the behavior of the disciples not to drunkenness (metheuo), but to the Spirit of God (Acts 2:15).
    e. Therefore, the words used for wine in the New Testament (oinos, sikera, gleukos) speak of beverages that have the capacity to intoxicate contrary to the view of some who would argue that wine in the New Testament was so diluted with water that it was almost impossible to intoxicate using it, or that the wine of the New Testament was essentially grape juice.
    f. There was a Greek word available to the writers of the New Testament which might have been used to refer to grape juice (trux) had they wanted their readers to understand that the common beverage used by Christ, the disciples, Timothy, the elders and deacons, and the Corinthian believers was unfermented grape juice (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament And Other Early Christian Literature , by Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich, p.564). The Holy Spirit of God chose not to use trux (grape juice) even one time in the New Testament. There is therefore no reference in the New Testament to unfermented grape juice, but all references are to fermented wine.
    g. A summary of New Testament principles that argue against the Prohibitionist Position.
    (1) The reasoning of many Prohibitionists is as follows:
    (a) Scripture condemns drunkenness.
    (b) Drinking alcoholic beverages can lead to drunkenness.
    (c) Therefore, Scripture condemns the drinking of alcoholic beverages.
    (2) However, following the same line of reasoning, Christians would also be forced to conclude the following:
    (a) Scripture condemns gluttony.
    (b) Eating food can lead to gluttony.
    (c) Therefore, Scripture condemns all eating of food.
    (3) Or the following:
    (a) Scripture condemns murder.
    (b) Owning a gun can lead to murder.
    (c) Therefore, Scripture condemns the owning of all guns.
    (4) Or the following:
    (a) Scripture condemns the abuse of authority.
    (b) Parents have abused their authority.
    (c) Therefore, Scripture condemns all parental authority.
    (5) It is not the lawful use of fermented wine that is condemned in Scripture. It is the unlawful abuse of fermented wine that is condemned in Scripture.
    (6) It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles a man, but rather that which proceeds from an evil heart that defiles him (Mk. 7:15-23). Therefore, wine that enters the mouth is not evil, but rather the sinful abuse of it which proceeds from an evil heart.
    (7) There is no material thing that is evil in and of itself, it is the abuse of it that is evil (Rom. 14:14). Therefore, wine is not intrinsically evil, rather it is the abuse of it that is sinful.
    (8) Don’t submit your conscience to man-made decrees that forbid touching, tasting, or handling in order to keep the flesh in check, for they are all futile (Col. 2:20-23). The only way to keep the flesh in check is by living in dependence upon the Spirit in applying the finished work of Christ to your life (Col. 2:1-15). Therefore, God alone is Lord of the conscience (in the matter of alcoholic beverages and and in any other matter) and He has left your conscience free from the commandments of men that are in any way contrary to His word.
    (9) Don’t give heed to doctrines of demons which teach that it is unlawful to marry or to eat certain foods which God has created, for every thing God has created is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer (1 Tim. 4:1-5). Therefore, since alcoholic beverages have been given by God to man (Ps. 104:14-15), they may be lawfully enjoyed by God’s people if they are used with moderation and received with thanksgiving. Thus, to teach that it is sinful to use alcoholic beverages is to teach what Paul classifies as “doctrines of demons,” for it is to teach that evil resides in what God has created, rather than in the evil hearts of men.
    (10) The only prohibitions in the New Teatament against the use of alcoholic beverages were for those who had taken Nazarite vows (as in the case of John the Baptist in Lk. 1:15; Lk. 7:33), and for those who abused them by becoming intoxicated (Eph. 5:18).
    3. Therefore, I submit to you that the Scripture does not provide warrant for the Prohibitionist Position, but on the contrary does provide warrant for the moderate use of alcoholic beverages.

  4. e case of the Rechabites (Jer. 35:1-19) was a prophetic picture (like that of Hosea marrying a harlot) in which the Rechabite’s refusal to drink wine, to build houses, to sow seed, and to plant vineyards indicated their willingness to obey the command of their father Jonadab (it was not God who prohibited these things to the Rechabites nor to any one else under normal circumstances) even though the command was strict. To the contrary, God’s people, Judah, refused to obey God their Father. Furthermore, the Rechabite’s vow not only involved abstaining from wine, but also other lawful activities such as building houses, sowing seed, and planting vineyards which likely indicated that a time of God’s judgment was shortly to come in which the people of Judah would not drink wine, build houses, sow seed, nor plant vineyards in the land of Judah–they would be like the Rechabites. It is obvious that just as it was not unlawful for God’s people to build houses, to sow seed in a field, or to plant vineyards, so it was not unlawful for God’s people to drink wine. Those today who would follow the pattern of the Rechabites in vowing to refrain from alcoholic beverages must also refuse to sow seed, plant a vineyard and live in a house, and rather vow to dwell in tents for this was the total prophetic picture that was presented to Judah (the living in a house and planting a garden would have violated their vow as much as drinking wine, cf. Jer. 35:8-10). Moreover, the Rechabites did not condemn others for drinking wine (yayin), living in houses, or planting gardens, thus their example does not fit into the prohibitionist position where all use of alcoholic beverages is condemned by the prohibitionist.
    (5) The abuse of alcoholic beverages in drunkenness is strictly forbidden (Prov. 23:20).

  5. 1. Old Testament words for alcoholic beverages
    a. Yayin (wine)
    (1) The same wine (yayin) that intoxicated Noah (Gen. 9:21), Lot (Gen. 19:32-35), Nabal (1 Sam. 25:36-37), and others (Is. 28:1,7) was given as a gift to others by godly men. For example, Melchizedek, a type of Christ and the priest of the Most High God, gave yayin to Abraham (Gen. 14:18; Heb. 7:3).
    (2) Yayin is commanded by God to be brought to Him as an offering in worship (Ex. 29:38,40; Lev. 23:13; Num. 15:5,7,10).
    (3) Yayin is a gracious blessing from God to be enjoyed by His people (Deut. 14:26; Ps. 104:14-15; Eccl. 9:7; Is. 55:1; Amos 9:13-15).
    (4) Yayin in plenty is a sign of God’s blessing, while the lack of it is a sign of God’s cursing (Deut. 28:39).
    (5) Yayin is one of the delicacies that Divine Wisdom prepares for all who seek her (Prov. 9:1-5).
    b. Tirosh (new wine)
    (1) The same tirosh (new wine) that could enslave the heart when abused (Hos. 4:11) is a blessing from God (Gen. 27:28,37; Deut. 7:13; Prov. 3:10).
    (2) The removal of tirosh is a sign of God’s curse (Deut. 28:51).
    c. ‘asis (sweet wine)
    (1) The same’asis (sweet wine) that intoxicates when abused (Is. 49:26; Joel 1:5) is also used as a sign of the Messianic blessings to come for God’s people (Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13).
    d. Shekar (strong drink, from the root shakar, to be drunk or intoxicated)
    (1) The same shekar (strong drink) that makes drunk (Prov. 20:1; Is. 5:11) is yet commanded to be offered as a drink offering to the Lord in worship (Num. 28:7), and is to be joyfully consumed as a part of the “rejoicing tithe” unto the Lord (Deut. 14:26).
    e. Hamer (wine in the Chaldean language, from hamar which means to ferment)
    (1) The same hamer abused by Belshazzar (Dan. 5:1-4) is a blessing God gives to His people (Deut. 32:14). In Deuteronomy 32:14 hamer (fermented wine) parallels the phrase “the blood of the grapes” and yet it is this same hamer that has the capacity to intoxicate in Daniel 5:1-4.
    f. Sobe (translated as wine, liquor, and drunken)
    (1) This word only occurs three times in the Old Testament (Is. 1:22; Hos. 4:18; Nahum 1:10).
    (2) God condemns Jerusalem because “the faithful city has become a harlot” (Is. 1:21) and because “your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water” (Is. 1:22). The point being that all that was good in Jerusalem had become corrupted. Just as good silver is corrupted by dross, so good wine (sobe) is corrupted (not helped) by water. Thus, from this text it appears that the argument used by many today that the wine used in biblical times was diluted with water to such an extent as to render the alocoholic content of no effect is contradicted by Isaiah 1:22. For God says that the diluting of wine with water is a symbol of corrupting or adulterating that which is good.
    g. Mesek (wine mixed with spices)
    (1) The same mesek that produces an intoxicating drink (Is. 5:22) is used for one part of the banquet which Divine Wisdom prepares for those who seek her (Prov. 9:2,5).
    (2) Mesek describes the mingling of spices with wine (yayin) as in Proverbs 9:2,5 or the mingling of spices with strong drink (shekar) as in Isaiah 5:22.
    h. Mishrah (the juice of grapes)
    (1) There is a word in the Hebrew language that means “grape juice.” The only time it is used in the Old Testament is in Numbers 6:3 where the Nazarite is not only forbidden from drinking yayin (wine) and shekar (strong drink), but is also prohibited from drinking mishrah (grape juice).
    (2) Those who would argue from silence that there was an unfermented yayin (wine) used in the Old Testament must produce an example to demonstrate that such is the case. Simply to make an assertion is no argument. Otherwise, I can equally assert that such was not the case and my argument must stand.
    (3) In interpreting the meaning of the various words used for alcoholic beverages in the Old Testament, one should assume these words refer to fermented beverages wherever they appear (since there are clear biblical references to establish the fact that they could intoxicate when abused) unless the context clearly states otherwise and cannot be understood using the stndard meaning of the word found elsewhere in Scripture. In other words, God must define these words–we must not impose our own definition upon them (i.e. Scripture must interpret Scripture).
    (4) Finally, since God does use a word in the Old Testament that unambiguously means grape juice (mishrah), why is it used only once? Why is mishrah (grape juice) not used instead of yayin (wine) throughout the Old Testament if it was essentially grape juice that was being used as a common beverage. To the contrary, God demonstrates that yayin (wine) and mishrah (grape juice) are two different types of beverages by using two different words in Numbers 6:3–one being alcoholic (yayin), the other being nonalcoholic (mishrah). Thus, wine (yayin) must be understood throughout the Old Testament to be a fermented beverage unless God speaking in Scripture specifically alters the meaning.

    i. The only circumstances under which alcoholic beverages were prohibited in the Old Testament were the following:
    (1) While priests ministered in the Tabernacle before the Lord they were to be careful that their judgment was not impaired so as not to incur the wrath of God as did Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:9).
    (2) When kings sat in courts to rule as judges they were not to use anything that might dull their judgment in the use of God’s law (Prov. 31:4,5).
    (3) When one took a Nazarite vow he was to refrain from what was lawfully enjoyed by others (e.g. wine, strong drink, vinegar, grape juice, grapes, or raisins) in order to demonstrate that he was consecrated to God (Num. 6:2-6). Those today who would use the Nazarite vow as a warrant to prohibit all alcoholic beverages must not stop with wine and strong drink, but must as well vow to refrain from consuming grape vinegar, grape juice, grapes or raisins (Num. 6:3). Moreover, they must not cut their hair (Num. 6:5), nor attend a funeral (Num. 6:6-7), not even the funeral of a close relative. Finally, when the days of the vow are completed (note here that this vow was not normally a lifelong separation from the things mentioned above), they must bring the following offerings to the door of the tabernacle (Num. 6:13-20): a male lamb, a female lamb, a ram, unleavened bread, drink offerings, and their hair. In other words, to resurrect the Nazarite vow is to resurrect the ceremonial shadows of the Old Testament law (Col. 2:17; Heb. 10:1). But again, note that when the vow was completed (Num. 6:20), it was not a sin to drink the same wine (yayin ) that one was forbidden to drink while under the Nazarite vow (Num.6:3). Thus, it is clear that the use of alcoholic beverages was not normally unlawful to God’s people

  6. hics
    A. Where do you learn what to think, say or do in any and every situation?
    1. From the Scripture alone.
    a. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
    b. ” For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
    c. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).
    d. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Prov. 28:26).
    e. “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (Is. 5:21).
    f. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” Is. 55:8-9).
    g. “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts” (Is. 65:2).
    h. “The supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the scripture” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, 1:10).
    i. How many supreme standards of judgment are there in the world? Only one–the holy Scriptures. Jesus Christ is Lord over every area of life. It’s not what I believe or you believe that determines what you should think, say or do in a particular situation. It’s not what you “feel” like you ought to do, nor is it even how you “feel” the Lord is leading you that is to determine your actions. It is “what saith the Scriptures” that is always to determine your convictions or actions in any matter.
    B. What about my conscience? Isn’t it a standard for me to follow in matters like the use of alcoholic beverages?
    1. The conscience is a moral judge that either condemns or excuses your actions (Rom. 2:15).
    2. However, since the fall of Adam, the conscience of man is not a reliable standard by which to determine truth. The conscience condemns or excuses a man’s actions based upon the ethical standard it is given. If the conscience is making judgments based upon the Word of God, it is reliable. If the conscience is making judgments based upon one’s feelings, one’s culture, one’s environment, one’s church background, or on any so-called expert, than the conscience is not reliable. The conscience is not autonomous or independent. It is dependent upon some ethical standard. The only question is: Whose ethical standard? Yours or God’s? The teachings of men or the Word of God? Your conscience must be submitted to the teaching of God’s Word.
    3. In fact, the Scripture actually teaches you to distrust your own understanding, your own thoughts, and your own ways: “Be not wise in thine own eyes” (Prov. 3:7); “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Prov. 28:26); “Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee” (Is. 47:10); “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Is. 55:8). Rather than trusting in your own thoughts and your own ways, God calls you to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart” (Prov. 3:5) for in Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).

  7. It’s not my place to judge anyone, but I have discovered that Christians should be striving to live the Crucified life in Christ. Galatians 2:20 – if your flesh is dead, and you are being led by the Holy Spirit, abstaining from certain things are not a problem. Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but not all are expedient.” No one that is walking in the Spirit is going to be adamant about whether alcohol, even though it may be lawful for you, is right. If you are walking circumspectly, you can see the devastating effect alcohol has had on America alone, so the bottom line is yes, you have the decision between you and God to make, and if you have the right fear of the Lord, the Almighty God of the Universe (which is lacking in many Christians, but is where true wisdom comes from) I would pray that God would help you be as holy as you can through the Holy Spirit. Selfishness in this area is truly a sad thing. Christian means “little Christ”, so honestly, how many true Christians are out there?

    • ew Testament words for alcoholic beverages
      a. Oinos (wine)
      (1) Oinos is very obviously an alcoholic beverage for it is used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) to translate each of the Hebrew words that refer to an intoxicating drink (yayin, tirosh, ‘asis, shekar, hamer, sobe). Though we saw that there is a Hebrew word for the juice of grapes (mishrah cf. Num. 6:3) used in the Old Testament, the Septuagint does not use oinos (wine) to translate that word which it should have done if oinos (wine) in the New Testament is simply grape juice.
      (2) Oinos in the New Testament is an intoxicating beverage for the word for a “winebibber” (i.e. one who drinks wine to an excess) is oinopotes (Mt. 11:19; Lk. 7:34). In contrast to John the Baptist, the Lord was accused of being both a glutton and a winebibber (he was neither) because he ate bread and drank wine with sinners (Mt. 9:10; Mt. 11:18-19; Mk. 2:15-16; Lk. 5:29-30; Lk. 7:33-34; Lk. 15:1-2). The obvious contrast between John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus is that John, a Nazarite, lived in the wilderness and neither ate bread nor drank wine (he ate locusts and wild honey, cf. Mt. 3:4; Mk. 1:6), while Christ, a Nazarene (not a Nazarite, but a Nazarene i.e. one from Nazareth), both ate bread and drank wine. And yet the Jewish leaders found fault with both John and Christ. The Lord is simply pointing out to the Jewish leaders that their problem with John and with Him is not one of lifestyle (the lifestyles of John and Jesus were quite different), but rather their problem is with the message John and Jesus brought (the message of John and Jesus was the same). Jesus could hardly have been accused of being a winebibber had he totally abstained from alcoholic beverages as did John.
      (3) The same oinos that makes one drunk (Eph. 5:18) was created by Jesus to be served at a wedding feast with full knowledge that it had the capacity to make one drunk (Jn. 2:1-11). After tasting the wine which the Lord had created, the master of the feast told the bridegroom that it was the custom to give the guests “the good wine” first “and when the guests have well drunk” (literally, “when they become drunk”) then to give them the inferior wine. The Greek word for “drunk” (Jn. 2:10), methuo is used without exception in the New Testament to refer to one being intoxicated (Mt. 24:49; Acts 2:15; 1 Cor. 11:21; 1 Thess. 5:7; Rev. 17:2,6). The Greek word for “drunkard” (methusos , cf. 1 Cor. 5:11; 1 Cor. 6:10) is a form of methuo. One other form of methuo is found in the New Testament, methuskomai (Lk. 12:45; Eph. 5:18; 1 Thess. 5:7), and this word also refers without exception to one being intoxicated. Thus, it is clear that “the good wine” (oinos) which Christ created had the capacity to intoxicate. The master of the feast relates to the bridegroom that the inferior wine was normally saved to last after the guests had consumed “the good wine” and were drunk (by then they would not notice the inferior quality of the wine they were drinking), but in this case “the good wine” (the same oinos that could make one drunk) which Jesus had created was saved and served to the guests last. There is no getting around the fact that “the good wine” which Christ created was “the good wine” which made guests drunk at wedding feasts (Jn. 2:10). Obviously, Christ is not condoning drunkenness, but rather giving His tacit approval for the lawful use of alcoholic beverages even in social contexts.
      (4) The same oinos that could intoxicate (Jn. 2:10; Eph. 5:18) was hailed for its medicinal value by an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 5:23). This is not a mere suggestion from Paul to Timothy, but a command (literally, “Stop using water any longer, but continuously use a little wine on account of your stomach and your frequent weaknesses.”). The inspired Word of the all wise God declares that wine in moderation is not detrimental to one’s health, but to the contrary, beneficial to one’s health (“Let God be true, but every man a liar” Rom. 3:4).
      (5) The same oinos that had the capacity to inebriate (Jn. 2:10; Eph. 5:18) was not forbidden in moderate use to elders or deacons (1 Tim. 3:2,8) The prohibition in 1 Timothy 3:2 is against lingering a long time beside one’s wine (paroinos) i.e. lingering because one’s glass is repeatedly filled until drunkenness occurs. This is actually a prohibition against drinking much wine not against the moderate use of wine. This is made clear in 1 Timothy 3:8 where the prohibition is against drinking “much wine”, not against drinking wine at all.
      b. The fruit of the vine (Mt. 26:29; Mk. 14:25; Lk. 22:18)
      (1) This phrase does not refer to grape juice any more than does the phrase “the blood of grapes” (in Gen. 49:11 “the blood of grapes” is parallel to yayin i.e. alcoholic wine, and in Deut. 32:14 “the blood of grapes” is parallel to hamer i.e. fermented wine).
      (2) If taken quite literally, “the fruit of the vine” would refer to whole grapes, thus the phrase must be used figuratively in some sense.
      (3) Dunlop Moore summarizes the distinct Jewish meaning of the phrase as follows:
      The expression the “fruit of the vine” is employed by our Saviour in the synoptical Gospels to denote the element contained in the cup of the Holy Supper. The fruit of the vine is literally the grape. But the Jews from time immemorial have used this phrase to designate the wine partaken of on sacred occasions, as at the Passover and on the evening of the Sabbath. The Mishna (De. Bened, cap. 6, pars i) expressly states, that, in pronouncing blessings, “the fruit of the vine” is the consecrated expression for yayin.. . . . The Christian Fathers, as well as the Jewish rabbis, have understood “the fruit of the vine” to mean wine in the proper sense. Our Lord, in instituting the Supper after the Passover, availed himself of the expression invariably employed by his countrymen in speaking of the wine of the Passover. On other occasions, when employing the language of common life, he calls wine by its ordinary name (Cited in The Christian And Alcoholic Beverages by Kenneth L. Gentry, p.55).
      (4) Furthermore, the drink offering that was poured out before the Lord at the Passover and on other occasions was wine not grape juice (Num. 28:24; cf. Num. 28:14 where the drink offering is specifically identified as wine, yayin ). It would certainly follow that the Lord used wine at the Passover celebration (and at the institution of the Lord’s Supper) with His disciples in Matthew 26:29.
      (5) Just as Isaiah can refer to “a vineyard of red wine” (hamer, fermented wine ) in Isaiah 27:2 because fermented wine is derived from the vineyard, in like manner Jesus can can refer to “the fruit of the vine” and yet mean the fermented wine that is derived from the fruit of the vine.
      (6) Christ teaches that the “fruit of the vine” signifies “My blood of the new covenant” (Mt. 26:28). Though the phrase, “the blood of grapes” is not used in the Last Supper account, it is difficult to overlook the parallel between the “blood of grapes” and the “blood of the new covenant.” Yet “the blood of grapes” is used synonomously for both yayin (alcoholic wine) in Genesis 49:11, and for hamer (fermented wine) in Deuteronomy 32:14.
      (7) Melchizedek is a type of Christ (Heb. 7:3) while Abraham is the father of all who believe (Rom. 4:11). Even as Abraham tithed of his increase to Melchizedek, the king of righteousness (Heb. 7::2,4), so do the children of Abraham tithe of their increase to Christ, the King of righteousness (Heb. 7:9-10). Likewise, even as Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High, gave to Abraham bread and wine (yayin ) and then blessed Abraham (Gen. 14:18-19), so does Christ, the Great High Priest of the new covenant, give to the children of Abraham bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper and bless them (Mt. 26:26-29).
      (8) Finally, one must assume that intoxicating wine was being used to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the church of Corinth for believers were combining the love feast with the Lord’s Supper and some were partaking of the Lord’s Supper in a drunken state as a result (cf. 1 Cor. 11:21 where the verb metheuo is used i.e. intoxicated). Although wine was clearly abused by the Corinthian believers in conjuction with the Lord’s Supper, Paul does not condemn the Corinthian Chirsitans for using wine, nor does he prohibit the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper. Paul’s correction is directed toward their sinful abuse of wine not their lawful use of it. If wine was not lawfully to be used in the Lord’s Supper, here was the ideal time for Paul to demonstrate where the use of wine would lead those who broke God’s law by using it in the Lord’s Supper. The silence concerning any prohibition of wine in the Lord’s Supper at this point is deafening.
      c. Sikera (strong drink)
      (1) This is one of the intoxicating beverages that John the Baptist was prohibited from drinking (Lk. 1:15). The other intoxicating drink prohibited to John was oinos (wine).
      d. Gleukos (new wine)
      (1) Gleukos was certainly capable of intoxication for the disciples are accused of being filled with gleukos (new wine) in Acts 2:13. Whereas Peter attributes the behavior of the disciples not to drunkenness (metheuo), but to the Spirit of God (Acts 2:15).
      e. Therefore, the words used for wine in the New Testament (oinos, sikera, gleukos) speak of beverages that have the capacity to intoxicate contrary to the view of some who would argue that wine in the New Testament was so diluted with water that it was almost impossible to intoxicate using it, or that the wine of the New Testament was essentially grape juice.
      f. There was a Greek word available to the writers of the New Testament which might have been used to refer to grape juice (trux) had they wanted their readers to understand that the common beverage used by Christ, the disciples, Timothy, the elders and deacons, and the Corinthian believers was unfermented grape juice (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament And Other Early Christian Literature , by Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich, p.564). The Holy Spirit of God chose not to use trux (grape juice) even one time in the New Testament. There is therefore no reference in the New Testament to unfermented grape juice, but all references are to fermented wine.
      g. A summary of New Testament principles that argue against the Prohibitionist Position.
      (1) The reasoning of many Prohibitionists is as follows:
      (a) Scripture condemns drunkenness.
      (b) Drinking alcoholic beverages can lead to drunkenness.
      (c) Therefore, Scripture condemns the drinking of alcoholic beverages.
      (2) However, following the same line of reasoning, Christians would also be forced to conclude the following:
      (a) Scripture condemns gluttony.
      (b) Eating food can lead to gluttony.
      (c) Therefore, Scripture condemns all eating of food.
      (3) Or the following:
      (a) Scripture condemns murder.
      (b) Owning a gun can lead to murder.
      (c) Therefore, Scripture condemns the owning of all guns.
      (4) Or the following:
      (a) Scripture condemns the abuse of authority.
      (b) Parents have abused their authority.
      (c) Therefore, Scripture condemns all parental authority.
      (5) It is not the lawful use of fermented wine that is condemned in Scripture. It is the unlawful abuse of fermented wine that is condemned in Scripture.
      (6) It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles a man, but rather that which proceeds from an evil heart that defiles him (Mk. 7:15-23). Therefore, wine that enters the mouth is not evil, but rather the sinful abuse of it which proceeds from an evil heart.
      (7) There is no material thing that is evil in and of itself, it is the abuse of it that is evil (Rom. 14:14). Therefore, wine is not intrinsically evil, rather it is the abuse of it that is sinful.
      (8) Don’t submit your conscience to man-made decrees that forbid touching, tasting, or handling in order to keep the flesh in check, for they are all futile (Col. 2:20-23). The only way to keep the flesh in check is by living in dependence upon the Spirit in applying the finished work of Christ to your life (Col. 2:1-15). Therefore, God alone is Lord of the conscience (in the matter of alcoholic beverages and and in any other matter) and He has left your conscience free from the commandments of men that are in any way contrary to His word.
      (9) Don’t give heed to doctrines of demons which teach that it is unlawful to marry or to eat certain foods which God has created, for every thing God has created is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer (1 Tim. 4:1-5). Therefore, since alcoholic beverages have been given by God to man (Ps. 104:14-15), they may be lawfully enjoyed by God’s people if they are used with moderation and received with thanksgiving. Thus, to teach that it is sinful to use alcoholic beverages is to teach what Paul classifies as “doctrines of demons,” for it is to teach that evil resides in what God has created, rather than in the evil hearts of men.
      (10) The only prohibitions in the New Teatament against the use of alcoholic beverages were for those who had taken Nazarite vows (as in the case of John the Baptist in Lk. 1:15; Lk. 7:33), and for those who abused them by becoming intoxicated (Eph. 5:18).
      3. Therefore, I submit to you that the Scripture does not provide warrant for the Prohibitionist Position, but on the contrary does provide warrant for the moderate use of alcoholic beverages.

  8. Excellent misuse of scripture. The inaccuracy are equivalent to the Serpent tempting Even in the garden. To pick 1 of the examples, 1 Timothy 3:8 states that a deacon be ‘not indulging in much wine’. It does not condemn it. I think maybe the author should read the bible before stating an points of fact about it.

  9. You (the author) are either blind (as I was), or you are dishonest. I trust you are just blind to this subject.

  10. The 75 reasons all refer to getting drunk! The bible says do not get drunk with wine! There’s a big difference in having an occasional glass of wine and getting drunk!

  11. Jesus And Wine

    by Chris Wilhoit

    Did Jesus turn water into “alcoholic” wine at a party?

    Did Jesus drink alcoholic wine? It is assumed by a great many that He did. Let’s examine this for a moment. Do you know how much wine Jesus made during His first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana? He made 6 firkins, or about 150 gallons. Now, of course, the New International Version (NIV), which never changes anything of significance (yea, right), says by implication that Jesus did this “after the GUESTS had too much to drink”. You do understand that Jesus was a GUEST don’t you??? So, let me understand this correctly, Jesus was at a party where the guests were drinking to excess, Jesus was one of the guests, and He supplied a few extra kegs to liven things up a bit after they had already drank to excess. Is that your Jesus?

    Jesus Sinned?

    The King James Bible (KJB) rendering which states they had “well drunken” (had plenty to drink) is the correct one. The New American Standard Version and other literal modern versions agree with the KJB here, leaving the NIV alone in its radically liberal paraphrase. Even if you take the rendering in the KJB, which I do, you have to conclude the guests had drank their fill of wine. If this wine was alcoholic then it is likely that they would not be ready for another 150 gallons of alcoholic wine. Think about it. How many glass of wine would this be? If you figure 4 ounces to a glass, 128 ounces to a gallon, you get 32 glasses of wine per gallon and a grand total of 4,800 glasses of wine. Now I do not know how many people were at this feast, but surely 500 would be a large number for such an event at this time. If this wine was alcoholic then Jesus did cause all who were there to drink to excess. This is clearly a sin in the Old Testament. Not only would His excessive drinking have been a sin, but causing others to do so is also a sin. Every Jew present at this wedding, and they were undoubtedly all Jews, would have known Him to be a sinner because of this verse, and many others:

    Habakkuk 2:15, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also…”

    Now my liberal (apostate) friends are quick to assert that Jesus drank alcoholic wine, as a tea totter of course, but are often shocked by the implication this has in John 2. Some have suggested that Jesus didn’t drink any, and that the guests did not have to drink all that he made. These are interesting thoughts, but I think it is clear from context that the guests had drank their fill and were now given a great deal more to drink. I think it is also abundantly clear from context this was not alcoholic wine.

    Biblical Word Wine and Its Usage

    The word “wine” is mentioned 231 times in the King James Bible. In the Old Testament there are 3 Hebrew words that are all translated as “wine”.
    YAYIN: Intoxicating, fermented wine (Genesis 9:21).
    TIROSH: Fresh grape juice (Proverbs 3:10).
    SHAKAR: Intoxicating, intensely alcoholic, strong drink (often referred to other intoxicants than wine) (Numbers 28:7).
    The New Testament, translated from Greek, uses the word “wine” for both fermented and unfermented drink. There are 2 Greek words for wine the New Testament.
    OINOS: Wine (generic) – Matthew 9:17 — unfermented, Ephesians 5:18 — fermented.
    GLEUKOS: Sweet wine, fresh juice (Acts 2:13).
    The context reveals the type of wine as in Proverbs 20:1, ”Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise”. If grape juice is substituted for the word wine, the verse doesn’t make sense.

    The Bible is full of prohibitions about using alcoholic wine. It was forbidden for priests and for those who took the Nazarite vow. It was forbidden for kings and princes (Proverbs 31:4-6) and pronounced woe upon anyone who provided his neighbor alcoholic wine and made him drunk (Habakkuk 2:15). It would be inconsistent for the Bible to speak against alcoholic wine and then have Jesus ignore it.

    Relevant Questions to the Discussion

    Didn’t they use fermentation to preserve wine? How much alcohol content does naturally fermented wine have? Did they ever water it down? Is granulated sugar important to fermentation and alcoholic content? Was fermentation the only way to preserve grape juice?

    Fermentation, Preservation and Alcoholic Content

    One must have a clear understanding of fermentation to see the unlikelihood of the above contention. First, naturally (no additives) fermented wine has a low alcoholic content. Until the advent of widely available granulated sugar, strongly alcoholic wine was rare. To make wine strongly alcoholic like what we have today (10%-15%) you must add a lot of sugar and yeast. These are the two key components to fermentation, and they are not present in large enough quantities naturally to create the strong wine we have today. Alcoholic wine during biblical times, which was much weaker than the wine of today, was often watered down for drinking. They basically only had water and wine. Like Pepsi or Coke today, wine was consumed by adults and children alike as a tasty substitute for water. Watering down wine was something they did and they drank it this way regularly. Also, boiling it down to a syrup was frequently done for preservation. This boiling killed the yeast that would cause fermentation. The syrup could easily be reconstituted later for drinking purposes. A third form of preservation was by straining out the yeast to prevent fermentation.

    The Myth of Natural Fermentation

    Nature NEVER forms spirituous liquors. The fruit (grape) may rot and turn sour but it takes ART to convert juice to alcohol. The indispensable conditions for vinous fermentation are exact proportions of sugar, yeast or gluten and water with air temperature between 50 and 75 degrees. Chemical science forbids vinous fermentation when heat exceeds 75 degrees and assures the acetous (vinegar). Since the Middle East is well above that even at night most of the year, something had to be done to preserve the juice (wine) for the year, or else it would all turn to vinegar! To assume it was all turned to alcoholic wine is a ridiculous assertion and flies in the face of historical fact. Josephus, famous Jewish historian declares that he has seen provisions at the Jewish fortress Massada including grapes and fruits, kept fresh to last for 100 years!!!! Pliny the Roman historian confirms this. Don’t let anyone tell you that grapes have to be kept by making alcoholic wine so they can last the year!!

    So we see that the portrayal that grape juice was only preserved by fermentation is utterly false. Unfermented wine was the most common wine in biblical times. It was not what we know as wine today which is always alcoholic. You cannot defend wine drinking today on the basis of biblical times because the two are totally different.

    Argument from the Passover

    Some will still say that Jesus Christ indeed drank alcoholic wine and we know this by the Passover (which was the last supper – Mark 14:14-17). There is a difference of seven months grapes between the harvest and Passover. They will say “they didn’t have refrigerators, so to keep the grapes from souring, they were fermented”. As we have shown above, the seven month time span would not have been a problem due to the multitude of frequently used preservation methods, all of which easier than fermentation, available to the people at that time.

    Furthermore, in Matthew 26 it was “the fruit of the vine” (verse 29) they drank. This is also in Mark 14, Luke 22, and 1 Corinthians 11. The “fruit of the vine” would be grapes, and when the grapes are crushed they do not make alcoholic wine. You do know that God calls it wine while the juice is still in the grape don’t you?

    Isaiah 65:8 Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster….

    If you have ever seen a painting of the last supper you will know that Jesus was depicted holding up a cluster of grapes at the last supper, not a Budweiser.

    Argument from the Good Samaritan

    Another contention about Jesus drinking alcoholic wine stems from the story of the Good Samaritan. The Greek word for wine used here is oinos. The claim is that it is alcoholic here because the Good Samaritan used it as an antiseptic. This is the same Greek word used in John 2, so it is contended that Jesus did turn the water into alcoholic wine.

    If you know anything at all about Greek you know that oinos can refer to fermented or unfermented grape juice. The word oinos is used at least 33 times in the LXX to translate tirosh the Hebrew word for grape juice. The word “wine” not only in Greek, but in Old English, in Latin, and in Hebrew is a generic term including all kinds of wine, unfermented and fermented.

    In the 1828 Webster’s dictionary wine is defined as unfermented and fermented juice. Only by context can one know whether the wine in question is fermented or not. Thus, the fact the wine made by Christ at Cana is called oinos offers no grounds for concluding hat it was fermented wine.

    It is interesting that the new versions, which claim to have up-to-date language, still translate all these original language words as wine since the definition of the English word “wine” has changed in the last 100 years. Where the KJB is accurate in its translation given the definition of the word in 1611, the new versions misrepresent the true meaning of these Hebrew and Greek words when they translate what is by definition juice in the Old Testament (tirosh) and clearly presented as such in context in the New Testament.

    It is a false private interpretation of these passages in the NIV that the guests, including Jesus, were drunken and then Jesus made more to further the intoxication. The fact is that the context tells us otherwise. By the simple fact that the governor of the feast noted that He had saved the good wine until last. If they had been intoxicated the governor would not have been able to tell it was the best because his senses would be dulled. The argument from the Greek word oinos is completely invalid.

    Argument from the Pharisee’s Accusation

    Another contention about Jesus drinking alcoholic wine comes from what our Lord said about the Pharisees. The Lord was demonstrating how it was impossible to please these arrogant theological intellectuals. No matter what you did they could find it to be wrong somehow. Jesus gives the illustration like this:

    Matthew 11:18-19
    18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.
    19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

    The argument from this passage goes like this: “Jesus must have drank alcoholic wine or they would not have made the accusation”. That is an interesting comment, one that I considered very closely. However, if this argumentation is correct it must be applicable to the former comment about John the Baptist. For them to accuse him he must have been possessed by a devil (maybe just a little one and only infrequently). The obvious implication of this analogy is that neither is true. John was not possessed of a devil, and Jesus did not drink alcoholic wine and therefore could not have been a winebibber. It also bears mention that the Pharisees also accused him of breaking the Sabbath by healing the sick, and of blaspheming God by making Himself equal with God. Neither of these accusations were true since helping the sick on the Sabbath does not fall under the category of work (Mark 3:3-5), and He was equal and co-eternal with the Father (John 1:1-18).

    What Does the Bible Say About Drinking?

    Proverbs 23:29-35
    29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
    30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
    31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
    32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
    33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
    34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
    35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

    I know, I know, you guys that drink alcohol never drink too much do you? Sure you don’t. I was around people who drank this stuff a lot before I was saved and I know from experience that someone who drinks almost always does it to get a buzz from it. Do your eyes behold strange women when you drink? Do you utter perverse things, like curse words, or dirty jokes when you drink? I am convinced that most of the fornication going on out there is at least partially attributable to alcohol consumption. Even the most worldly people consider it a sin product. Keep justifying it in your mind, but remember this verse:

    Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

    Is Wine Destructive?

    As I have demonstrated, nowhere in scripture do we find Jesus drinking alcoholic wine. Alcohol is destructive and addictive. It is a depressant drug that actually attacks the brain cells and destroys them. Twenty percent of all patients admitted into mental hospitals have a problem with alcohol. Alcohol has caused numerous health and social problems. In addition to this a majority of traffic fatalities and accidents can be directly attributive to alcohol. Drunkenness destroys lives and relationships. It is not just a disease. It is a sin.

    Notice the damage alcohol did in the lives of these Bible characters:
    Noah – It brought shame (Genesis 9:21).
    Lot – His daughters committed incest (Genesis 19:30-36).
    Nabal – God killed him (1Samuel 25:36-37).
    Elah – Was murdered by Zimri (1Kings 16:9-10).
    Belshazzar – The Assyrians take his kingdom (Daniel 5)
    The Corinthians – During the Lord’s Super God kills some (1Corinthians 11).

    Where Do You Get Your Joy?

    Some people seek their happiness, comfort and peace in a bottle. The Lord will always be the Christian’s source of joy. Jesus said in John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full”. 1John 1:4 reminds us, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full”.

    God has given us His Word to provide comfort and to maintain joy in our lives. The Christian’s happiness does not come in a bottle. It comes in a book — the Bible! Consider that others are watching our example. What example are we setting? 1st Thessalonians 5:22 warns us, “Abstain from all appearance of evil”.

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