There are divided opinions among Christians when it comes to alcohol. While some argue that Jesus, himself, drunk wine, others say that alcohol is destructive, and therefore no sincere Christian should consume it. But what does God say about wine?
Two Types of Wine
First, let’s consider that biblically speaking, there are 2 types of wines. Indeed in the Bible, the word “wine” sometimes means fresh grape juice, and other times it means a fermented product containing alcohol. We can conclude this from the Hebrew and Greek translations, and also from the context in which the word “wine” was used.
What does God say about the consumption of fermented wine:
- “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”- Proverbs 20:1
- It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” – Romans 14:21
- Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!” – Isaiah 5:11
- “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, That puttest the bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, That thou mayest look on their nakedness!“ – Habakkuk 2:15
- Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.” – Proverbs 23:31-33
- Woe unto [them that are] mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink” – Isaiah 5:22
- “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.“ – Galatians 5:19-21
Did Jesus turn water into fermented wine in Matthew Ch. II?
Jesus turned six pots of 20 to 30 gallons of water into wine. This would produce about 180 gallons of wine which would be more than enough wine to make everyone at the wedding very drunk if the wine was fermented! But Jesus would never go against his own word. As a result, this context clearly shows that the wine was unfermented and was grape juice.
What about the Last Supper?
It is clear that Jesus used wine when we read the verses about the Last Supper. But it was not the fermented variety.
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” – Matthew 26:28-29
The New Covenant is represented by the new wine (not a fermented one). Jesus also says “the fruit of the vine” which is therefore not fermented. There are also many other verses in the Bible containing the word wine that might make some readers assume that it is ok to consume wine. But it is important to put those verses into their context and it is interesting to even look at the Hebrew or Greek translations of those verses. The Bible clearly tells us that God wants our own good and we should not eat or drink what can be destructive to our bodies:
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20
What does God say about the Effects of Wine
We all know that alcohol can destroy brain cells as it can severely affect the nervous system. It can also slowly destroy the body which is a violation of the 6th commandment “Thou shalt not kill” – Exodus 20:13
Drinking alcohol also makes anyone more vulnerable and much weaker while facing temptations. The Bible tells us: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7
While some scientists have promoted that there are some modest cardiovascular benefits associated with moderate drinking, even if there were benefits (also found in unfermented wine (grape juice), it beclouds the many ways that alcohol threatens health. There is no amount of alcohol that is safe to drink. In 2016, alcohol was the seventh leading risk factor for premature death which contributing to 2.8 million deaths worldwide.