Monday, November 12, 2007

The Alcohol Content of Wine in the Bible

Those who oppose the Christian use of alcohol often argue that the alcohol content of wine in Bible plays an essential role in determining whether the use of alcohol is permissible for Christians.

Two Kinds of Wine in the Bible?

The Scriptures mention “wine” over two hundred times, both in positive and negative contexts. Some Christians have used this positive/negative distinction to argue that the Bible is speaking of two different kinds of wine.

When the Bible speaks positively of wine, then this is referring to “wine” as non-alcoholic grape juice. When the Bible speaks negatively of wine, then this is referring to “wine” as alcoholic wine.

This argument was very popular among prohibitionists, particularly those that led the Temperance Movement. The advantage of this position is that it seems as though one is able to account for all of the Scriptures.

However, the alleged distinction between alcoholic wine and non-alcoholic grape juice does not exist in the Bible. The Bible uses the same word for wine in both positive and negative aspects.

The positive/negative distinction has to do with the use/abuse of alcohol. When the Bible speaks positively of wine, this is referring to the moderate use of alcohol. When the Bible speaks negatively of wine, this is referring to the abuse of alcohol, or drunkenness.

Was Wine Heavily Diluted?

Some Christians maintain that the wine in the Bible was almost non-alcoholic. It is argued that all wine in ancient times was filtered and dried into a paste, which was then mixed with water. Thus, small amounts of alcohol were present in wine, but the wine was so diluted as to minimize the intoxicating effects. The alcohol that was used was strictly for preservation purposes.

According to this view, the Bible does not prohibit the use of wine, provided we understand wine to be heavily diluted so that it was basically grape juice with only enough alcohol to preserve the grape juice from spoiling.

In our day, we have purified water, pasteurized grape juice, and refrigeration. There is no need to rely upon alcohol as a preservative. Thus, Christians should abstain from beverages that have a significant alcohol content, which would include all of our modern beers, wines, and liquors. This is the argument of many abstentionists.

This particular abstentionist argument demands that all wine was heavily diluted. While dilution was certainly used in some circumstances, this was far from the universal practice. The Biblical admonitions against drunkenness should suffice to prove that not everyone was diluting. Obviously, at least some people were getting a hold of the real thing and becoming drunk. If all “wine” was so low in alcohol content, then one would have to consume gallons and gallons to get drunk.

Moreover, this low-alcohol content argument has no support in historical scholarship. Virtually every scholar agrees that the alcohol content of wine during Biblical times was usually between 5-20%, which is enough to intoxicate.

Ironically, one popular abstentionist argues that the burden of proof should fall on those who claim that Biblical wine contained alcohol. This bold claim is precisely the opposite of reality. The burden of proof always falls on those who are against the consensus of historical scholarship. Such abstentionists have failed to prove that dilution was the universal practice.

Furthermore, many Biblical texts become silly or meaningless if they refer to non-alcoholic grape juice. Would the Shulamite have said to Solomon, “Your love is better than grape juice” (Song of Songs 1:2)?

If wine was super-diluted, why did the good Samaritan pour grape juice on the wounds of the man going to Jericho (Luke 10:34)? Why did Paul counsel Timothy to drink a little grape juice for his stomach (1 Timothy 5:23)?

If wine was basically grape juice, then the weaker brother argument is pointless (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8). Why would anyone object to the consumption of grape juice? No one’s faith is threatened by grace juice.

The wine of the Bible had to have been alcoholic. Alcohol can intoxicate, clean wounds, and heal stomach troubles. Grape juice does none of these things.

Is Alcohol Sinful?

Those who argue that some or all of the wine in the Bible was non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic are operating from a presupposition: alcohol is sinful. Both prohibitionists and abstentionists read the Scriptures through this presupposition.

However, material things are not sinful. Sin does not reside in objects, but in the human heart. Sin comes from the misuse of God’s gifts, not the godly use of God’s gifts. As we will see in the next chapter, alcohol is a gift from God. There is a godly and moderate use of alcohol.


Doug said...


TGIF! Cheers!

Can there be a godly use of marijuana too? If it is legal of course.


Eric Adams said...


Great to hear from you. Marijuana is a different issue because the Bible never endorses marijuana like it does alcohol.

Marijuana itself is not evil; Cannabis is not an evil plant. God made it, and it is good. Among other things, it is good for making ropes.

Also, there is a medicinal usage for marijuana (glaucoma patients, cancer patients, etc.).

Is there a godly recreational use of marijuana? Certainly not where it is illegal. We cannot disobey our government.

Is there a godly use of marijuana where it is legal, say, in Amsterdam? Obviously, we must be controlled by the Spirit (Eph 5:18). I've never inhaled, so I don't personally know how much control you lose with one toke. Where is the line? I dunno. Wherever it is, that's where it becomes sin.

vintage said...

Regarding "The Alcohol Content of Wine in the Bible:" Grape juice if left open and unattended will ferment to wine or vinegar. I do not know of anyone in the bible who drank vinegar. The more sugar in the juice, the stronger the results. For wine to be preservative or disinfectant, it must be at least 10% alcohol by volume. If left open and unattended, wine will continue to ferment to vinegar. If you want to keep wine as wine, fill a bottle up with it so no air is in the bottle, then seal the bottle.

vintage said...

Regarding alcohol content of wine in the Bible: Grape juice left open and unattended for several days will begin to ferment and become either alcoholic wine or vinegar. The more sugar in the juice, the stronger the results. I do not know of anyone who drinks vinegar in the bible. For wine to be preservative or disinfectant, it must be at least 10% alcohol by volume. Leave wine open long enough, it does become vinegar!

Pastor Lyndon said...

All it takes is one toke of good marajuana to get stoned - which is equivelent to drunkeness. So to smoke it, whether legal or not is sin.
Although wine definately had the content to get people drunk, I seriously doubt that Jesus would go against the proverbs and turn water into such a wine. Here are a few early Church quotes:

2. Horace, born 65 B.C.: "There is no wine sweeter to drink than Lesbian; that it was like nectar, and more resembled ambrosia than wine; that it was perfectly harmless, and would not produce intoxication." Anti-Bacchus, p. 220.

3. Virgil, born 70 B.B.: "Or from sweet must boils down the luscious juice, and skims with leaves the trembling cauldron's food." Georgic, lib. I. Line 295.

4. Plutarch, born 60 A.D.: "Wine is rendered old or feeble in strength when it is frequently filtered. The strength or spirit being thus excluded, the wine neither inflames the brain nor infests the mind and the passions, and is much more pleasant to drink." Symposium

5. Pliny, born 61 or 62 A.D.: "The most useful wine has all its strength broken by the filter." Liber xxiii. Cap. 24.

Lest Jesus would become a mocker of scripture, I think that His "best wine" as spoken of, was like these wines. It was not just grape juice! But it also would not cause drunkeness - lest He could be guilty of supplying a keg party.
The reality it - wisdom will cause a Christian to take the sake road and not touch it, as scripture instructs - or to not even look upon it. Why take a chance with such a controversial subject. Do not give into "spirits'! be holy as He is holy, do not offend others, and be a good example of a Christian, who can be without blame. Remember, the Bible does instruct a Bishop to not drink wine at all. Why is it okay for others and not the bishops? Maybe something cultural allowed it for some? Like bad water? Most I know that justify alcohol, even in moderation, do not have the closest walk with Christ. They seem to be hindered. Why take the chance?

Pastor Lyndon said...

All it takes is one toke of good marajuana to get stoned - which is equivelent to drunkeness. So to smoke it, whether legal or not is sin.
Although wine definately had the content to get people drunk, I seriously doubt that Jesus would go against the proverbs and turn water into such a wine. Here are a few early Church quotes:

2. Horace, born 65 B.C.: "There is no wine sweeter to drink than Lesbian; that it was like nectar, and more resembled ambrosia than wine; that it was perfectly harmless, and would not produce intoxication." Anti-Bacchus, p. 220.

3. Virgil, born 70 B.B.: "Or from sweet must boils down the luscious juice, and skims with leaves the trembling cauldron's food." Georgic, lib. I. Line 295.

4. Plutarch, born 60 A.D.: "Wine is rendered old or feeble in strength when it is frequently filtered. The strength or spirit being thus excluded, the wine neither inflames the brain nor infests the mind and the passions, and is much more pleasant to drink." Symposium

5. Pliny, born 61 or 62 A.D.: "The most useful wine has all its strength broken by the filter." Liber xxiii. Cap. 24.

Lest Jesus would become a mocker of scripture, I think that His "best wine" as spoken of, was like these wines. It was not just grape juice! But it also would not cause drunkeness - lest He could be guilty of supplying a keg party.
The reality it - wisdom will cause a Christian to take the sake road and not touch it, as scripture instructs - or to not even look upon it. Why take a chance with such a controversial subject. Do not give into "spirits'! be holy as He is holy, do not offend others, and be a good example of a Christian, who can be without blame. Remember, the Bible does instruct a Bishop to not drink wine at all. Why is it okay for others and not the bishops? Maybe something cultural allowed it for some? Like bad water? Most I know that justify alcohol, even in moderation, do not have the closest walk with Christ. They seem to be hindered. Why take the chance?

Eric Adams said...

Vintage, I have no idea what your point is.

Pastor Lyndon, thanks for expressing your opinions. I'll stick with the Scriptures (Psalm 104:14-15; Luke 7:33-34, etc.).

HelloWorld said...

I'm just gonna throw in my 2 cents:
while I tend to agree with you that the wine spoken in the Bible is of the alcoholic variety, you've misunderstood the temperist position -- they say that there are 2 wines in the Bible: good (non-alcoholic) and bad (alcoholic), and that in ancient times, the word "wine" refered to both (determined by context). So for example, the wine the samaritan used was obviously alcoholic, while the wine Jesus made was not--- that's the "2 wines" position.

I don't follow this view because of 1 Tim 3:8 and Titus 2:3. Why are deacons and aged women commanded to not drink too much grape juice?

However, I personally don't drink at all, neither do I encourage others to do so. Why? The reasons given in the Bible for consuming alcohol don't apply to us anymore. For example, we now have stomach medicine (1 Ti 5:23); we are not under the OT Law, so we do not need to keep the festivals; etc.

Tom said...

I don't know what all this talk of "diluted wine" is all about. The Bible says absolutely nothing about it.

What many fail to realize is that "mixed wine" and "new wine" were very intoxicating. The Bible mentions both quite often.

Back then, if one had access to freezing temperatures (like the mountains during winter) he could let a jar of wine freeze - skim off the ice, and enjoy a high-proof wine, similar in strength to brandy.


rocktexas said...

In my opinion more damage to the word of God has been done by those trying to twist scripture to prove abstinence than alcohol has ever done. If the same wine that got Noah and Lot drunk was acceotrd by a type of Christ then that settels it for me.Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek4442 king4428 of Salem8004 brought forth3318 bread3899 and wine:3196 and he1931 was the priest3548 of the most high5945 God.410

Mary Ann said...

I personally hate fundamentalism in any religion. Jesus was most scathing against the Pharisees because they were obsessed with rules and regulations being kept to the letter.

Luckily for humanity, God is not so dictatorial. He looks at each one of us and judges us at what is in our hearts. If we get caught up in inventing and discussing ad nausea 'God's law', we will lose the bigger picture of our role as Christians - to love God and love our neighbours as ourselves.

I for one, fail to see the relevance of the Old Testament in Christianity. I would truly lose my faith, for example, if I were to believe the story of the plagues as described in the OT. The God that I love would NEVER have innocent babies killed to prove a point. God does not commit murder in any form, more so to innocent children.

The whole crux of the matter is to use nature (and that includes wine) in moderation. It is gluttony that is a sin, not enjoying a glass of wine with your meal.

If one chooses to abstain from alcohol, that's his personal choice and it's fine. But saying that other people are sinning is condescending and acting like the Pharisees of the Bible.

Eric Adams said...


Jesus doesn't agree with your rejection of the Old Testament.

HelloWorld said...

Yes, Mary while we should not be obsessed with rules and regulations (and also focusing on them will cause us to lose sight of what it's really about), God really did "kill those babies" as you said -- that's why one of the reasons we should be grateful for living in the *New* Covenant. Those days are over -- Jesus now came to *save*. (BTW, the explanation has to do with the doctrine of original sin -- which is out of the scope of this post)

Mary Ann said...

He never told us to believe it all either. Unfortunately, we're told that Jesus explained passages from the Bible but never gave us much of what he said about it.

Can any Christian believe that God took sides during wars and condoned massacres? Do you actually believe in God sending fatal plagues indiscriminately? Of killing children? The Old Testament was written HUNDREDS of years after things were meant to have happened. It was also written by those who were supposed to be 'the chosen ones'.

I have no disrespect to the Jewish faith but we should be concentrating on changing the world for the better - each one doing the best he can in one's own circumstances. Pouring over words written thousand of years ago to try to find different interpretations for the same words is simply a waste of time and energy.

Eric Adams said...

Mary Ann,

Your idea of a Christian has no correspondence with what the Bible actually teaches.

HelloWorld said...

Actually, he did tell us to believe ALL of the Bible. Remember, Jesus said, I came not to destroy the law but to fulfill the law. While this does not directly prove my claim, it does show us that we can't just throw away or ignore the Old Testament. Also remember that Jesus said, "In the volume of this book it is written of me." Thus, studying the Bible is NOT a waste of time -- it will point you towards Jesus and reveal more of His character to you. You do want to get to know Jesus more, right? Or let me put it this way, How do you expect to "change the world" if you don't know Jesus intimately? His Word is one way we can know Him. Don't just throw it away or ignore it.

As for the "indiscrimant killings" (as you put it), actually, they were *always* directed at law breakers (i.e., sinners). That infants and other "innocents" were often included shows us how seriously God takes sin. Be grateful that we live in the covenant of grace were He came to save and not to destroy! In fact, the harsh terms of the law are designed to show us exactly how much God hates sin and how we all fall short of His standards. Just one question Mary: Do you believe that God parting the red sea is a historical fact?

Eric Adams said...

Well said.

Mary Ann said...

No one is ever going to convince me that God actually killed those innocent children, whatever the Bible says. Wars should never be waged upon the sinners but upon sin.

Christianity is all about loving your enemy, forgiveness, and harmony - a far cry from the violent and unforgiving nature met with in the OT. And you believe that God suddenly changed tactics? Jesus came to show us the way to be saved from sin not to save us from the wrath of God!

Also, we have NO WAY of knowing the exact words that Jesus said, since it was all written down several years after his death. The differences in the four gospel accounts is enough to show that it was written by mere humans and each author gave his own understanding of what had happened.

Christianity is not just the Bible. So I have no qualms about being a Christian and not believing every line in the Bible. It does not make me less of a Christian than those who believe it word for word.

Shouldn't Christians be concentrating their efforts on voicing their disapproval against wars, against abortion, against the capital punishment, against unnecessary cruelty to animals, against pollution - in short, giving more value to human life and to God's creation)

I take it that most of you on here are from the USA? I find that Americans are rather fundamental with regards to the different religions they practise. In Europe, we have a totally different approach to it. So I guess it has as much to do with culture as with anything else!

HelloWorld said...

Just one question, Mary -- How are you sure that you aren't following your "own" madeup Jesus if you don't believe the Bible? Not picking a fight here :-) But without an *objective* standard, you have no way of measuring your claims.
So you're from Europe? That's interesting because in the US, most evangelicals are known for social issues but European Christians are not.

Citizen Grim said...

Mary said: "No one is ever going to convince me that God actually killed those innocent children, whatever the Bible says."

Isn't this the original sin? Satan tempting us into believing that we can pick and choose what God says, accepting some of it and ignoring what we dislike?

It's important to remember about the Old Testament that it is the symbol that precedes the subject. Many things that seem bizarre to our modern culture are actually essential concepts to grasp before God revealed the much more profound and transcendent salvation through Christ.

How could one understand a perfect sacrifice if they didn't first practice imperfect sacrifices? How could one understand grace if they weren't first bound by the law?

As for difficult passages (such as those involving the deaths of children), isn't it much more likely that you are misunderstanding the passage, rather than that God made a mistake?

Mary said: Christianity is all about loving your enemy, forgiveness, and harmony..."

Incorrect. Christianity is about loving God and living in His will. The rest comes naturally if your relationship with God is in the right place.

BWJ said...

very interesting discussion. as a christian my desire is to be in a right relationship to God, that has been done for me by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

that being said. anything can be a source of sin. work, overeating, drinking, smoking, shopping, exercising....whatever it is that becomes our focus.

it does not hurt my relationship to God to share a good bottle of wine with my family. everything that God created is good, thanksgiving is around the corner and we will be moderate in our eating and drinking and while we are doing that we will give thanks to God, for his saving grace.

We are called to be a light to the world, to reach out to our neighbors. if someone thinks it is wrong to drink they shouldn't.

i am so thankful that i am not the judge!

thanks Eric for this blog, it was refreshing.

DavyLightning said...

Mary Ann,

Having travelled extensively through Europe on several occasions and having lived for a time in the Middle East, I can tell you that geography does not determine an individual's salvific relationship with Jesus Christ. It may shape the "pop Christianity" of a culture for awhile, but there is a consistency throughout the ages and cultures with respect to one's acceptance and adherence to the Bible as God's revealed word. One need only read Bonhoeffer, Solzhenitsyn, Lewis, Augustine, Chesterton, Jean Cauvin; etc., to see that zeal and passion for God's word is not something that was invented in the U.S. in the 19th and 20th centuries.

You stated that it would destroy your faith in the God you love, to believe some of the things stated in the OT. However, you fail to recognize the basic truth of God's authority. E.g., if I cut down a tree in your yard, I am guilty of wrongdoing, but in my own, I am perfectly within my rights to do so. Perhaps God simply took each of those children immediately to Heaven without allowing them to suffer. In any case, I doubt that would suffice for you, because it is obvious that this existence, and how much each of us enjoys it, is your personal benchmark for whether God is doing "good" to that person or not. If that is the case it is clear that you don't get Christianity in any way deeper than a philosophy for life on this earth - which was certainly not what Jesus intended.

Post-Grace Sojourner said...

Wow. What a powder-keg this discussion has turned into. From wine to the Old Testament. I think a balance is needed in the OT thing. Yes, it has been preserved for us to read and learn from. Yes, holy men wrote it. But their own personalities, foibles, opinions, paradigms, filters did shine through. While the message is clear, the messenger wasn't always loving or forgiving in his portrayal. Often when stories that have been passed down for hundreds of years finally get written down, they do reflect the current culture including things such as hatred of enemies, loftiness of their ideals, etc. And God let this happen so we could see that, in spite of their human-ness, he used these holy men to pass on a great story of God's redemptive grace for all of creation in all ages. Is this the conventional view of 'inspiration'? No. But then a lot of our doctrine, like much of Scripture, is our retelling of God's story in our own context.

Eric Adams said...

Post-Grace Sojourner,

As you said, what you are espousing is not the traditional view of inspiration.

By what authority do you presume to speak for God? Why is your opinion authoritative?

The Bible judges us. We do not judge the Bible.

Grace said...

Btw, scripture says that Kings and Priests were not allowed to drink.(, Prov. 31:4,5 , Lev. 10:9) We are called a royal priesthood. Should we follow the OT ruling, stay away from it and keep a clear head in all circumstances?

Eric Adams said...

Grace, two truths to consider:

1) Jesus is our high priest.
2) Jesus drank enough to be called a drunkard.

If our high priest can drink alcohol, then so can we.

tommy said...

" 1) Jesus is our high priest.
2) Jesus drank enough to be called a drunkard.

If our high priest can drink alcohol, then so can we."

Amen to that! Wine gladdens the heart of Man and God.

Jordan Valdiviez said...

Thanks for posting this man. It has been something i have thought about for a while. Although, proverbs31 still rings in my ear. said...

I did not know that understanding Gods revelation is progressive, and that seeing this in unique dispensations was such a bad thing. But i am trying to get a good understanding on the consumption of alcohol for Christians. I read an old article in Christianity Today ( june 20 1975 ) "wine - drinking in the new testement times" by Robert Stein. It seems like all wine was watered down, and that the strong drink was straight wine. Wine at the passover was 3 - 1 mixture. distilled spirits seemed to appear arround 800 ad. This article leads one to believe that drinking straight wine was barbaric. I am not a historian, and would love your comments.
By the way I was disipled by a wonderful PCA Chaplain in the Navy
John Owen

Eric Adams said...

Never read the Stein article, but it would not alter my view. Whether wine was stronger or weaker in ancient times is absolutely irrelevant, unless you believe that alcohol is evil. Drunkenness has always been sinful, and wine has always been good when enjoyed in moderation. Cheers!

HelloWorld said...

@Eric@ - good point - yes, but what passed for "wine" in ancient times still contained alcohol. It's still possible to get drunk with watered down wine. Just ask Noah or Timothy :-) (Your comments also apply to OT times. And I mean 1 Tim 3:8.)

I'm short and thin. To my physique, "enjoying *modern* wine in moderation" means exactly one glass of wine over dinner. I get a buzz with anything more and I can't handle the "strong stuff" in any amount.

The second point is that yes, "distilled spirits" are a relatively modern practice. Their popularization seems to have negatively changed our perception of alcohol. In other words, we went from one extreme to another --- from whiskey to no alcohol. But we threw out the baby out with the bath water...

John Owen said...

I guess my question is if wine was diluted during the writing of scripture, should Christians dilute also when enjoying Gods creation? It seems that if it was diluted; you would not be getting close to the line of sin as rapidly. we think it is prudent to stay as far away from the gray area in our other liberties as a Christian.

Eric Adams said...

John Owen,

Scripture says nothing about wine being diluted. Diluting or non-diluting is not a measure of godliness in any way. This whole argument is driven by the presupposition that alcohol is sinful. It is godly to drink wine and feel your heart warmed (Psalm 104).

Rickngoldie said...

Interesting Blog. I think the following scripture answers a lot of folks comments. No one would invite an alcoholic to a glass of wine but you could create an alcoholic without knowing it. Read on.

Romans 14:17-15:6
17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;
18 he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19 Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats;
21 it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble.
22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.
23 But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves;
2 let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him.
3 For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me."
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,
6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why let wine come between believers. I abstain but if you don't, keep it to yourself.

Eric Adams said...

Rick, if you are abstaining from alcohol because of Romans 14, then can I assume that you are also a vegetarian? I deal with this passage in my other posts on alcohol.

Greg said...

I cannot agree that the wine was diluted or that God forbids the use of alcohol. If you read the story in John about Jesus at the wedding feast,
they had run out of wine and the party was dying. Jesus first miracle was to change some where between 120 and 180 gallons of water into wine.
Read a bit further and you see that the tradition was to serve good wine at first, then when people had had enough that they didn't notice or care, serve the cheep stuff. I would suggest this implies they were getting a little tipsy.
They had run out of both the good and cheep wine when Jesus miraculously provided sufficiently more wine...Just to keep the party alive.

Does God condone drunkenness?? I don't think so. But neither do I believe he is opposed to people having a good time at a party, maybe even getting a little silly.
But drawing the line at that. Maintaining self control (which is evidence of the Holy Spirit) should be the priority. If alcohol is a weakness for you and it challenges your energies?
Then maybe you shouldn't drink. but neither should you condemn others who can.

And before you condemn me....I haven't had a drink in 12 years.

God Bless

DTHOLT said...


Eric Adams said...

DTHOLT, you should read my other posts on alcohol because I spend some time answering your objections.

In short, the sin of drunkenness has caused untold sorrow and heartache. Alcohol is not the problem. Sin is.

Alcohol is not sinful. God created wine to gladden our hearts (Psalm 104:14-15).

Stephen said...

Grapes are harvested during the peak of ripeness, which lasts only about two weeks.

Once picked, the grapes will last for 2 or 3 days as long as the skins aren't broken.

But, the skins are covered with natural yeasts, primarily Saccharomyces cerevisiae. And as soon as the skins are broken, fermentation begins. Indeed, Pasteur demonstrated this right around 1869 with a microsocope.

If left in an open container, within 3-5 days primary fermentation will be complete and alcohol content by volume will be 4-5%; but wine is not drunk in this stage when the obvious bubbling of CO2 is still seen.

If then enclosed in goatskins, secondary fermentation will take two more weeks at which point the wine wil be complete and will yield 10-15% alcohol by volume, depending on temperature. In Palestine, during a normal year, it would be around 14%.

The end result of this is that for two weeks of the year, fresh grapes could be eaten. Grape juice could only be consume on the day it was created, because within six hours, measurable amounts of alcohol will exist.

For fifty weeks of the year, fully fermented wine was all that was available, at three times the strength of a typical American pilsner. This was called "new wine."

It would last for up to a year in the goatskin (or decades in a bottle once those came around). After about a year, the goatskins would begin to lose their efficacy, air would leak in, and oxidation would begin to turn the wine into vinegar. This wine-vinegar mixture was called "old wine" and was not as palatable.

Contrast this with alambic distillation, which was known as early as 3000BC and was definitely in use in Palestine, Greece, and Rome. A fermented mash of corn, potatoes, or rye would be distilled to create a drink with alcohol by volume of 40-80%. This, is what the Bible refers to as "strong drink" and is to be avoided.

Wine, is not strong drink; and it is (essentially) always fermented, particularly in March and April when Passover arrives.

Dilution and filtering as discussed by some church documents did happen at later times, but to assume it was the normal course of events during Biblical times is merely an exercise in eisegesis.

kenneth said...



Angie said...

I appreciate so much your clarification of this issue. I was reared in a Christian home with wonderful parents, but their traditions elevated any use of alcohol whatsoever, apart from that which is in medicinal products, etc., to a sin only slightly below the unpardonable level. I somehow got the impression that I could do a multitude of things that the Bible forbids, including holding grudges and talking about people, eating with abandon,provided I went to church and did not drink. That was the manifestation of my faith in a nutshell.(Of course, I know it isn't an either/or proposition.) I have come to share your point of view in recent years, and I must tell you that while I have no desire to drink too much and drink no more than a glass or so per week if that, I truly understand how wine makes the heart glad. It is a gift. I wish I had paid more attention to actual sins rather than reveling in being righteous and hammering other people for failing to measure up. I also wonder if the hard line on alcohol use helped to create the mystique of forbidden fruit that makes alcohol so attractive to young people. Thanks for adhering to scripture alone.

Jason said...

I can't say it any better than Ken Gentry JR, so I will quote him on what he says about the subject of thinning wine with water. "Some who deem drinking as everywhere and always evil will concede that fermented wine was actually drunk in the Bible. But they then insist that it was always diluted with water.. For a variety of reasons, this objection does not undercut the moderationist position. First all the evidence supporting this contention comes from extra biblical sources such as Pliny's Natural History. Note, however, the Scripture reference to "mix wine" such as Chapter 9 and 23 of Proverbs and Isaiah 65, are not about wine mixed with water. These text do not mention "water" in the mix.

Second, nowhere does the biblical record distinguish "undiluted" (so-called safe) wine from "water- diluted (so-called safe) wine. Were it actually a mark of righteousness to avoid undiluted wine, why then is Scripture silent on the matter? After all, is not the Scripture "profitable for teaching....." Tim 3:16-17?

Jason said...

I left my last church after I sat through an hour of listening to the pastor explain away wine in the Bible. He used this two wine theory. Whenever the Bible spoke negatively about wine it was fermented wine. Whenever the Bible spoke positively about wine it was unfermented. The last time I had someone tell me "this is what the Bible says, but this is what the Bible is really saying" was when Jehovah Witness come a calling. Unfortunately this time it was a Baptist preacher.

racoon1 said...

If you are interested in truth, check out "Alcohol the Beloved Enemy" or "Bible Wines or Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients". One thing I learned and verified is that there were different Hebrew words for grape juice and fermented wine in the original old testament. Grape juice was teerosh or tirosh (look in a transliterated Hebrew/English dictionary) and yayin or yayeen was either grape juice or wine depending on context. They both got translated as "wine" in the Greek old testament. I verified this from a transliterated Hebrew Old Testament.

It's not like God is trying to take away our fun, but instead he is trying protect us from the forces of darkness which mean us harm. Drugs have spiritual effects that go beyond the physical effects. It says in Genesis that drugs ("pharmakeia" in Greek I think) are witchcraft and sorcery and are an abomination to God. Alcohol always brought a spirit of darkness over me when I drank, regardless of how much. I finally got smarter and quit. Hope you do too.

Eric Adams said...

racoon1, in your study of the Old Testament and the Hebrew language, you might want to check out Psalm 104:15. God created wine to make our hearts glad. The abuse of wine does bring darkness, but not the use, at least, according to God.

Bible Thumper said...

"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving..."

"What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'"

"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them."

Having experience with both drugs, alcohol and marijuana, I feel qualified to say that they are NOT the same, they are not even remotely similar. Smoked or ingested weed has an effect that has nothing in common with alcohol. I can smoke a joint and ride my bike at top speed down a narrow mountain trail with grace. I can engage in theological argument. I can read the Word of God with inspiration. I cannot do any of these things after a couple beers.

Cannabis stems are the BEST natural fiber. The foliage makes an excellent browse for livestock, and highly-fertile soil ammendment. The flowers are useful for medication, inspiration and meditation. It's all in HOW you use it, what is your goal?

Praise God for cannabis!

If you truly believe a Christian may not disobey the government, then you must believe America was founded on sin, for our founders rebelled against a recognized "authority" to form this country. Certainly God has blessed that action! Government has AUTHORITY when it sticks to its Biblical mandate of terrorizing the evil-doer. When it steps beyond this, it has only power, without authority, and we are no longer required to oblige. This is the exact reasoning used by the pastors of the founder's time to justify the war against the King. See Jon Mayhew's sermons on the teachings of Paul in this regard.

Eric Adams said...

Bible Thumper, yes, praise God for his creation, including cannabis. However, Romans 13 still applies. Cannabis must be used in a lawful fashion. The civil magistrate is not limited to "terrorizing the evil-doer." I doubt your pastor would support your logic that leaps from 1776 to smoking doobies.

Ally said...

While this is a rather unrelated subject, the principle could apply:
Scripture does not endorse polygamy, however many spiritual Bible characters were involved with it.

Can the consumption of alcohol be viewed in this light?

Jock4Jesus said...

I don't drink alcohol as a matter of health, and to provide an example to my children, but I don't appreciate others distorting the truth on this matter. Some can make something as clear as the promise of salvation through a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, into something murky through legalism reminiscent of the Pharisees.

Several points here:
1) Jesus spoke on the issue of whether things we consume can be a sin. Mark 7:14-23 states this clearly. Specifically, verse 15 states, "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man."

2) Water wasn't largely used in the Roman empire to make wine taste better until after Jesus' birth.

3) Matthew 9:17, Luke 5:37, Mark 2:22 all talk about not putting new wine into old wine skins. Albeit this is referring to the new covenant, but this also points to the fact that it was very common to ferment wine in animal skins. NOT GRAPE JUICE!

4) There was no refrigeration in biblical times, so grape juice would spoil quickly in heat of Palestine. Grape juice would need to be consumed almost immediately, which would not be practical.

5) Authors such as Elmer L. Towns point to the fact that Jesus wouldn't have supported the use of "leaven", so he wouldn't have made or consumed alcoholic wine. This is misleading, as wine ferments naturally, especially after the skins are removed. No "leaven" is required. This isn't bread they are making...

6) Jesus DID consume extremely fermented wine when on the cross and given vinegar on the sponge by the Roman soldier.

At the end of the day, this alcoholic issue, and nearly every other contentious matter, such as God's clear position on homosexuality, requiring Israelites to kill all men, woman, children so that they wouldn't later be hindered in worship of pagan gods such as baal, ALL of these issues are what I term as "walkers". A clear biblical understanding of these issues can make a person's walk with God easier, and would glorify Him, but have absolutely NO bearing on whether a person is saved. Let's focus on spreading the Gospel, not arguing the finer points. We are throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it would seem. If you can drink with moderation, and are careful not to be a stumbling block in other's walk with/towards Christ, I can't see how drinking a glass of wine with dinner destroys God's temple in our body more than eating a chocolate cheesecake after a greasy steak.

Brad K Mayer said...

You need look at the Greek and Hebrew dictionary in the back of the Strong's Concordance so you can talk intelligently about whether "wine" in the Bible is alcholic or nonalcoholic/
You need to do your homework!!!

Brad K Mayer said...

Read the ready references of Greek and Hebrew meanings of "wine" in the back of a Strong's Concordance. Do your homework and you will see that there are clear distinctions between alcoholic wine and non alcoholic wine!!!

Eric Adams said...

Brad K Mayer, are you joking? Strong's concordance is a nice tool for novices, but NO ONE considers the "ready reference" definitions to be authoritative. Show me a standard Greek lexicon that supports your opinion. Do your own homework!

Mark Higgs said...

My wife and I were recently told that we could no longer participate in church services by our pastor. My wife is not allowed to play the piano, we cannot sing gospel songs, or deliver any kind of message. Why? Because my wife made the comment outside of church that Paul told Timmothy to take a little wine for his stomach, and she felt there was nothing wrong with havind a glass ow wine with a special dinner. From this our pastor decided we must be "sociable drinkers," whatever that means. I guess he thinks we are wild partiers. I confess that my wife had a margarita at a Mexican restaurant two or three years ago, and I usually drink about two beers over the course of a summer. What drunkards we are!!

Eric Adams said...

Mark Higgs, clearly you have committed the unpardonable sin and are unfit to minister in any capacity. May God have mercy on your soul! :)

Eric Risner said...

Proverbs 23:29-35

This passage is clearly describing a drunk.
Verse 31 is speaking of fermented wine(alcoholic)

New and old wine, read Isaiah 65:8
The new wine is found in the cluster. This is simply grape juice that is not fermented. The bible speaks of strong drink when referring to fermented wine. New wine/wine is grape juice.
Deut. 32:14 speaks of the pure blood of the grape, Grape Juice is called wine in the bible. We have it backwards today. Its not backwards in the Bible.

If wine was wine as we know it today then Judges 13:14 would not make sense. The verse says wine or strong drink. Not wine and strong drink. Strong drink is alcohol, wine is grape juice in the bible. There is a difference between wine and strong drink in the Bible.

Why would someone who is truly saved drink alcohol? Tell me what good comes from drinking. How about all the death and destruction from drinking. How about all the innocent people killed from drunk drivers. What about the irreversible damage it does to your liver and brain? It is nothing but a tool of Satan. You think you can get away with just a little and be fine. Well guess what the Bible teaches us true saved Men and Women of God to come out from the world and be different.2 Corinthians 6:17
But that's our problem these days, we don't want to be different and be labeled by the world. Satan is the god of this world and we are to BE DIFFERENT. Stop being scared of what the world thinks of you and stand for Christ and be different.

The fact that you are not a Dispensationalist just proves that you are not correctly dividing the world of God. How can you not dived what is said to the Jews and the nation of Israel and what is said to the Gentiles in this age of Grace? We are not operating under the old law of Israel, not everything in the Bible is meant for us today. You still need to study the entire bible as all scripture is profitable. But you have to look at what is being said, who it is being said to, and what is the context.

Stop living like the world and calling yourself a Christian. Stand up and be different than this world as we are instructed.

Eric Risner said...

Isaiah 65:8. “Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all.”
When the juice of the grape is still “in the cluster” God calls it “wine.” “Grape juice still in the cluster is not ‘fermented’ wine,” I explained. “It is unfermented wine. It is grape juice. There are two kinds of ‘wine’ in the Bible. Fermented and unfermented.”
Jesus neither drank nor created fermented wine. That would have been disobedience to His Father’s Word. Disobedience is sin and He never sinned. (Hebrews 4:15)
Jesus, our High Priest, would have obeyed or He was just a sinner man, like everyone else.
“Do not drink wine nor strong drink, …when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;” (Leviticus 10:9,10)

Unfermented “wine” or grape juice is “Holy” or “clean” while fermented wine is “unholy” and “unclean.” All alcoholic beverages are unholy and unclean!

Ignorant, immature Believers use Jesus’ Miracle of “turning water into wine” as an excuse to drink alcohol without stopping to acknowledge the following.

Jesus did not disobey Leviticus 10:9-10 by “creating” alcoholic wine to be consumed against His Father’s will. He created unfermented “wine” or high quality grape juice.

Not to mention that fermentation is an aging process that happens over a long period of time. It’s a process of decay. Decay is death. Jesus created that high quality grape juice instantly, not over time, without decay and without death! All of Jesus’ miracles are rooted in Life and Love. God’s Life. God’s Love.

People who use the “water into
wine” excuse are simply being deceived by one verse of Scripture taken completely out of Biblical context. They need to be delivered. This is why Jesus said we must have two or three confirming passages of Scripture, in context, to verify all doctrine or behavior. Otherwise, we shouldn’t accept it at all. (Matthew 18:16)

Often, after sharing this revelation with shocked, “wine bibbing” Believers, they almost always respond, “Well, Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach. I’m just doing it for my stomach.” (1Timothy 5:23)

Paul knew the difference between fermented and unfermented “wine” and obeyed the Bible, too. It was common in his day to put grape juice in water to kill water-borne bacteria, which caused stomach ailments such as Timothy’s. This is what Paul told Timothy to do. He was not telling Timothy that it was acceptable to “catch a holy buzz in the Name of the Lord.”

The Bible calls fermented wine and all strong drink a “mocker.”

It calls those who use it “deceived” and “unwise.” (Proverbs 20:1)

It leads to poverty. (Proverbs 21:17)

It will bite you like a serpent. (Proverbs 23:32)

The Bible also calls God’s children “Kings” (Revelation 1:5,6) and says, “Wine is not for Kings.” (Proverbs 31:4)

Say, “Jesus, I choose You and Your Word.” (Romans 10:13) He’ll forgive you for what you didn’t know.

Eric Adams said...

Eric Risner,

Take breather and read my entire series on alcohol. You'll find answers to virtually all of your objections.

Jorge Moreno said...

It is interesting to note that the people who I know that defend the Christian's "liberty" to drink wine are those who have no problems with other issues as well, such as the use of profanity, being okay with immodest dress, allowing people to minister in church who post indecent photos on facebook and kissing vodka bottles and allow them to teach Sunday School, etc Those that flaunt their freedoms don't have to much of a problem being just like the culture around them. They want to honor others and not God!

Jorge Moreno said...

Eric, you are leading people astray

Jorge Moreno said...

DTHOLT said...
Amen brother!

Jock4Jesus said...

Jorge "it is interesting to note" (using your words) that you are WRONG! There are MANY people who would have a problem with profanity and immodest dress, but NOT drinking (in moderation). Everything in moderation. Drinking, using tobacco, and eating Twinkies. Jesus said that it is not what goes into our body that defiles us, it is what comes out. Refute the argument, Jorge. Grape juice would have fermented without refrigeration. Jesus turned water into wine, not juice....

Mr.Sand Dollar said...


Mr.Sand Dollar said...


Eyes Wide Open said...

The Bible is the history of man learning how to be civilized and the words therein are guidance on how to get there. When the Israelites were an enslaved people, they knew not how to live or act with each other, and Moses gave them the word. As they become more civilized, and their consciousness was raised, Jesus was possible. Do not just do what your ruler tells you, see the God in each of you and honor it. Do things that honor yourself and your society. Whatever you do, if you are able to do it in moderation, you are probably okay.

BlackSky Adams said...

all Jews ,whether modern day or ancient, Drank wine with a moderate to strong alcoholic content . Go to the grocery store and read the alcohol content of a bottle of KOSHER wine . LOL .Y'shua is a Jew and he drank wine with alcohol content. There are a group of wine making Jews in Israel today who are descendents of ancient Jews who also made wine , and the methods are exaclty the same , producing fermented wine with alcohol content. Sincerely, BlackSky

paul nitz said...

Alcohol is a HUGE contributor to so many societal problems. The Apostle Paul wrote that if by insisting on his liberty in a "gray area" caused spiritual harm to even one weaker person, he would gladly forego that liberty in favor if showing love. That friends is the view point if a mature Christian in a society where alcoholism is so destructive and where so many young people are damaged by booze. We gave 1001 choices of good non-alciholic drinks people in ancient times did not have. Why in the world choose something as problematic as booze?

paul nitz said...

How truly dumb a comment! And did Mary sleep around enough for Jesus also to be called a bastard??

What he was called does not make it so. The principles that govern this discussion are in Romans chapter 14 and first Corinthians chapter 8. Paul wrote
that if even 1 person is spiritually harmed by insisting on personal liberty in a grey area he would readily give up that personal liberty in the interest of love, of protecting another person.That is the way any thinking, loving believer should decide their course on a matter so problematic and dangerous as the effects of alcohol in modern American society.

Eric Adams said...

paul nitz,

I assume that you are also a vegetarian?

Eyes Wide Open said...

Paul nitz

Sounds like you've taken the pledge. That is your issue, not necessarily others.

Eyes Wide Open said...

Paul nitz

Sounds like you've taken the pledge. That is your issue, not necessarily others.

Speaking In Tongues Unlike anything else said...

Have any of you ever been to Israel, the Holy Land, or Greece-Southern europe?

There is no debate like this! Wine was wine, period! This is purely a puritanical affectation or modern Theological construct!

Culturally speaking, the ancients are turning over in their graves laughing at this debate.

Grape juice turns to wine within hours un-refrigerated. Grapes only grow for a short season! What are people drinking the other 10 months of the year?

My first trip to the Mediterranean a family had me over to meet their daughter... I stared in disbelief as she, and the others gulped down their wine (Real wine) like a glass of milk! I couldn't help but think my poor Pentecostal mother would die if I brought her home with me!

Alcoholism is like overeating. Some people are predisposed to it or abuse it. Sin is what you do with non-sinful objects.

The ancients would die of laughter if they heard these comments!

Daniel Joshua said...

There are roughly 80,000 deaths that are related to alcohol abuse every year, making it the third highest cause of death in the U.S.

People who start drinking early often share similar personality characteristics. These characteristics include:
difficulty avoiding harm or harmful situations
thrill seeker

Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. - Romans 14:15

It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
Romans 14:21

Obviously we know that we aren't to get drunk with wine. But I can't tell you how many lives and friends i've seen destroyed by alcohol, its an issue in America. Both me and my girlfriend have drank and we had no control with it in our past before we started following the Lord, we both know that it would be foolish for us personally to ever touch a glass. I am just so thankful that we we're surrounded by believers who chose to "walk in love" rather to drink even a glass of wine, so that we would not stumble.

Paul the Apostle may or may not have had a drink on a daily basis and never exceeded his limits, but his heart was in a place that he would eagerly give that up in a second to further the gospel of Jesus Christ rather than cause someone to stumble. Is you're heart in the same place?

Speaking In Tongues Unlike anything else said...

Not all people are troubled by the issues you describe with alcohol.

This is a two edged sword... I'm not going to drink because I dislike it. If I were a drinker I would be concerned about my brother falling. However, I can't help wonder how many souls have been alienated because I refuse to drink.

The Bible is pretty clear that we need to be sensitive, but the reality is that our salvation is not dependent on the issue, only those vulnerable to alcohol.

Can I drink with my Christian friends that consume alcohol and not offend anyone? Jesus ate with Sinners, which offended the spiritual elite. Some Christians are offended if a Christian smokes.

Should I live a life of a Puritan or live life honestly? Many Christians believe woman should never wear makeup, Should my wife not wear makeup to avoid offending those who don't? I was volunteering in the back of a church once at the sound booth, and I wore a ball cap to protect my eyes from the light. OH MY GOD! You'd thing I performed an act of sacrilege! Hats are offensive to some in church! The pastor told me don't come back without a doctor's note for my hat! You've got to be kidding me! I can sick with a migraine, I left dumbstruck!

Many people believe we can be all things to all men, as Paul attempted to do, but Paul did suggest drinking of wine for stomach ailments. If I follow your logic, Paul is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Lighten up!

John Harris said...

Hopefully, we can all agree, drinking enough wine to get drunk is a sin, always.

John Harris said...

Hopefully, we can all agree that drinking enough wine to get drunk, ever, is a sin.

Speaking In Tongues Unlike anything else said...

Agreed... Drinking to excess, especially to get drunk, is a sin. As is eating, as is sex, as is smoking, as is ANYTHING besides Jesus in excess! Including un-compassionate doctrines...

d_middlekid said...

I suggest that instead of looking at the English translations (and let me emphasize, TRANSLATION meaning NOT original) look at the original languages: Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and get rid of YOUR thinking and translate the passage the way GOD wrote it and the GOD meant it. You sir are not the authority and the reason pastors and churches and church members are falling more and more to this horrible sin is because they ARE NOT looking at things according to HIS (JEHOVAH'S) criteria. HIS criteria never changes.

Eric Adams said...


Sorry to burst your bubble, but the original languages offer no support for legalists who reject God's good gifts. Have you read my other posts on alcohol? You may find them enlightening. Cheers!

Speaking In Tongues Unlike anything else said...


Your tone sounds legalistic... Fortunately, a number of us are schooled in Greek and Hebrew so we don't swing too far to the right or left.

The Bible was written in common written languages of the time, but the spoken language at the time the Bible was written varies.

So one is putting a lot of confidence in a literal meaning where intent is clearly the superior factor. One can debate texts, words, and technobabble until the cows come home, but what really matters is the intended meaning of the author, God, His Holy Sprit.

Having been an amateur linguist in Biblical studies, and graduate of Bible college, it is very apparent everyone and his cousin has some different spin in the Bible. Personally I believe that the actual meaning of the Bible may or may not be comprehended by men expressed through human languages. Human languages are imperfect at best, culturally tinged, and highly susceptible to doctrinal dogma, (Opinions expressed as fact).

I leave the best understanding of the Bible to the Spirit of God in our hearts and manifestations of His attitude in words and deeds towards others.

Essentially, show me the Love of God, and I am more likely to listen!

La Gran Comision said...

Drinking is not right. I have ben around Christians when they drink. And they start to act stupid. Even if its just one. Which usually is not the case. The police teachs that when you have one drink your judgment goes away. So if you have no judgment, how can you determine what is right and wrong. How can you know if you will offend the Holy Spirit? Plus I don't base my decision because the bible says people drank wine. I go by the verses that says the priest and kings should not drink wine or strong drink."It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; or for rulers to desire strong drink;" Prov 31:4
So if you are a real Christian you believe you are kings and priests like it says Rev 1:6 "And made us Kings and Priests unto God even his Father,..". Not only that but when God would call out his prophets he would always tell them not to have strong drink or wine at all. And in the book or Cor. Gods desire is that we all become His prophets. Plus if you really had a good conscious, lead by the Holy Spirit you would not desire and defend the evil of this world. You don't need alcohol and God loves that. Be Holy cause He is HOLY.

La Gran Comision said...

First if you have a conscious connected to the Holy Spirit you will not drink. God always had His prophets not drink. And in the book of Cor God desires we all to be His prophets. So you drinking disqualifies you as a prophet or a man of God. Logically thinking the police have said for many years that after one drink a person might not be drunk, but there ability to judge the best goes away. So when you have just one drink you might not know what is right and wrong is. There are so many verses in the bible that talks against drinking. But wont list them cause most of you can make it mean other things. But no one can fight against this one. Prov 31:4 "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rules to desire strong drink;" . And in the book of Revelation chapter 1 verse 6 says that we and Kings and Priests. Glory be to His name and His all powerful Word. If you are a new creation in Christ Jesus you have been adopted into the Kingdom of Heaven and you are now and kings and priests, you are royalty, start acting like it. So you can not drink. No body can go against God's Word. Be Holy because God is HOLY.

Eric Adams said...

La Gran Comision,

Alcohol is not an evil of this world. Evil comes from our hearts, not the good things that God has created. You should read all of my posts on alcohol. They may help.

Marvin Botts said...

Drinking is not right? Dogma, is not right! (Dogma; "Expressing opinion as if it were fact") I know plenty of stupid people who never drink! If stupidity were the standard we'd all be in trouble.

What exactly is a "Real Christian"? I know there are MANY definitions tosses around, but ultimately only God can know and judge what is in our heart.

Kings and priests? We dare not use Biblical examples to regulate our drinking, as kings were usually drunk off their socks! Priest's? Many interpret a priest as one who abstains from many worldly pleasures, such as sex!

I don't condone Christians who chose to drink, nor do I condone condemning those that don't.

If abstinence make you a better Christian, than hooray! Nobody is defending the evils of this world, nor am I creating evil out of God's gifts!

With logic like that we dare not eat apples, for fear of original sin! Oh, the Bible doesn't mention what kind of fruit Adam and Eve ate... Neither does the Bible condemn the normal use of His creation.

As for the Holy Spirit... I agree He is intensely sensitive to unholy behavior. But unholy behavior is usually the use or excess of permitted items or abuse of puritan logic.

uri said...

First off, wow! I originally signed up for this post years ago and I'm still seeing comments. This is a really controversial topic. Maybe its time to mark it closed and leave it as "lets agree to disagree"?

@la gran commision It's very easy to take a verse out of context and use it to justify almost any belief. The important thing is context. For Prov 31:4, the context is that the author is advising the king against *drunkenness*. (Hence the emphasis on the "strong" drink in verse 6 and the emphasis on the intoxicating properties of alcohol in verse 7.)

Also, although I'm not 100% certain, I seem to recall reading somewhere that back in those days often the only thing available to drink was fermented drink (i.e., alcoholic beverages). So advising someone to completely abstain from wine back in those days was ... unpractical.

Marvin Botts said...

WOW. Why don't we shave our heads, cut off our private parts and rip our robes while we are at it?

The Holy Spirit I have come to know is filled with compassion and love. He never forces anything upon anyone and is indeed sensitive to unholy behavior. However, He's, to use a modern colloquialism, "Is a real Down to Earth Kinda Guy". No pun intended!

Have a nice day!

Marvin Botts said...

WOW! Why don't we shave our heads, tear our robes, and cut off our privates while we are at it?

The Holy Spirit that I have come to know is indeed sensitive to unholy behavior, but is compassionate beyond belief, and to use a modern colloquialism, The Holy Spirit is a Real Down to Earth Kind of Guy". No pun intended!

He is the Lover of my soul, and friend that walks along side to help. He's more offended by our affectations of rigid Biblical interpretation than our sin. Oh wait, our rigid dogma is sin! What would we do without His compassion and understanding?

Marvin Botts said...

Though it appears to be a bi-polar topic with sides entrenched, I have enjoyed the cross-talk. Those expressing the ultra right view of total abstinence appear glaringly legalistic.

I have heard very little from the anything goes side as it is clearly un-Biblical to not be moderate and modest in behavior. Zealotry though, should be reserved for passion for Christ and others, not rules and regulations

So we are left with the moderates and the abolitionist's.

Those wound up tighter than a $2 watch are unlikely to listen to reason.

We've heard six ways from Sunday how evil alcohol is. For some people it is. For just as many people, sin is limited to what we believe is sinful. As James said, 'If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them".

If you believe it is sin to drink then don't drink! Yet how many are hamstrung by oppressive and IMPOSSIBLE to fulfill laws of men?

Let me count the ways... Legalism, extremism, hedonism, flippant attitudes towards sin, differing and often shrill interpretations of the Bible proclaimed as GOSPEL, dogma (Preaching opinion as fact)... And on and on.

Bottom line? Sin is sin if it takes away from our relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit. Can we imbibe alcohol and still house the Holy Spirit? Despite the discounting of extremists, the Bible plainly says Jesus was accused of being a drunkard, and He did make real wine for the wedding feast. At least anyone who has seen the Mediterranean lifestyle would find the notion of drinking grape juice preposterous in any time and culture in the Middle East.

Let the ranters rant!

Jorge Moreno said...

enjoy your wine!

renaissance1970 said...

I am glad you posted this. I have heard the low alcohol content argument many times and it makes no sense. A lot if my christian brothers make it sound as if ancient people were incapable of making wine with high alcohol content. The oldest wine vessels found were 7,000 years old so in Jesus' time, wine making had to be a few thousand years old, and thus winemakers very skilled at making different wines of different pontencies. Wine was also the preferred drink over water in much of the ancient cities since drinking water was risky due to bad sanitation and parasites. Even children were given wine and water often had wine added to sanitize it. So the wine must have been potent. The role wine plays in the bible is a role of self control, not potency.

Andrew Jones said...

I just poured a glass of wine, made it much easier to read this discussion...

Tim burke said...


fairdale8810 said...


You mentioned that the majority of scholars agree that the alcoholic content would range between 5-20%. Can you cite any of these numerous references?
I struggle to understand, scientifically, not biblically, how this would be possible, since prior to the 18th century wine makers were limited only to the wild yeast levels found naturally in the grapes. The wild yeast found in grapes is incapable of producing anything greater than 5-7%, and on average only produces on average 3-5%. The dioxide and alcohol that the wild yeast produces actually kills the yeast beyond this point. This is why almost all wine makers today add sulfer dioxide to kill the wild yeast prior to starting, then add more alcohol tolerant Saccharomyces, which can handle 17-20% alcohol levels.

Also, scripture most certainly contains verses describing the two wines, new and old wine. For example when Jesus is discussing new wine into old wine skins. New wine beig unfermented and the old wine skins having lost their elasticity, would burst as the new wine fermented and released the carbon dioxide. This bubbling effect was called "stirring" or "troubling" and if you study etymology, you will find the word yeast derives from this. Also, if you just study the word "wine" you will find it too has evolved, now we use it to only refer to alcoholic beverages, the word literally meant in previous times, the juice extracted from a nut, or berry.

Here are some scriptures.

Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all. Isaiah 65:8

They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 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.” Proverbs 23:29-32.

Eric Adams said...

fairdale8810, sorry to disappoint you, but distillation was not invented in the 18th century. Furthermore, the God speaks not only of wine, but also of strong drink in a positive light. Read Deuteronomy 14:26, Isaiah 55:1, etc. Whether 5% or 180 proof, alcohol is not inherently sinful.

Ashley Burch said...

There is also a scripture about the pharisees accusing Jesus of being a drunkard. They wouldnt have accused him of that if he was merely drinking grape juice. Luke 7:34 states The son of man came eating and drinking, and you say "heres a drunken and a glutton a friend of tax collectors and sinners. So here Jesus obviously drank alcoholic drink without getting drunk or having an addiction to it. He pointed out that jon the baptist didnt drink. IN the king james version, ephesians 5:18 states Be not drunk with wine WHERE IS EXCESS but be filled with the holy spirit. This implies that there is a way to drink too much alcohol and an amount that is okay to drink.. THats my two cents.. I could be wrong. But Jesus had alcohol, where people were calling him a drunkard for drinking. And we know that Jesus never violated Gods law.. So there had to be an Okay amount of alcohol to drink.
Excuse the sloppy grammar.

Magnus Landgren said...

It seems to me to be a an increasing concern that alcohol is shown to cause biologically detrimental effects and that there is no safe amount. Examples of disturbing effects of alcohol are fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and many forms of cancer. Alcohol interferes with basic genetic mechanisms, causes oxidative stress and can potentially destroy all kinds of cellular mechanisms, including cell populations. Perhaps there were times when benfits in preserving differnt kinds of beverages were more important and justified some use of it. But today?/ M Landgren

JM said...


I'm not sure where you are getting your information but alchol tolerant yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used in winemaking, breadmaking etc. since ancient times. Just because we didn't name it until modern times doesn't mean man hadn't discovered it and isolated it. Sulfur dioxide is relatively easy to produce and was certainly used in ancient times in wine making. They would also use a dose of alcohol to kill the wild yeast prior to adding in the S. cerevisiae. Wine making has been an art since the creation and it didn't take the lab to figure out what yeasts brought better fermentation yields. Our modern winemaking is anything BUT modern. Please discontinue using the "weak ancient wine" arguement because it simply is not true. It certainly has done much to discredit the teetotalling pastors and teachers who grab on to these myths to support their dogmatism.

Ls said...

There was alcohol in the wine of Biblical times, sure. Otherwise, the prophets of old would not have strongly reminded their kings not to drink beyond moderation lest they open themselves to a lot of sinful pleasures, forget about God and their responsibilities to their subjects. CHEERS!

wayparsper said...

Excellent explanation on wine and alcohol. Drunkenness (excess of alcohol, lack of self control, etc) is the sin, not the alcohol or consumption thereof.

Troy Stelly said...

The mere fact that so many of you get so bent out of shape over your right to drink alcohol just proves the influence it holds over you.

Cecile Tardiff said...


Eyes Wide Open said...

I feel progress to understanding this issue has been made by the progression of comments. I agree with Cecile, Amen.

Antonia Villanueva said...

This issue is out of control. We should be focusing on lost souls, and not quarreling over alcohol.

I Am Heroine said...

Eric..what is considered moderate? What is moderate to you may not be moderate to another. You are an immature Christian, if you don't care about making a weaker Christian fall. Shame on you

Sheri Southern said...

God knows our heart and if we drink wine to celebrate (Him and His gifts and Provision, as Abel did) or we do it to escape facing our past sins and our need to repent of them, something Cain did as soon as he knew he wasn't "dead yet" (yes, that's a Monty Python reference). Cain wasn't going to be in personal relationship with God, as in hearing God's guidance and voice, again unless he repented, right? Those who are not born again of God's Spirit most likely are arguing that they have "self-control," and the story of Eve tells us the opposite: we don't. If we're tempted, and try to disregard that temptation of our own will without asking for God's supernatural strength to do so, well, we're screwed (and heavily in denial and justification mode). When you drink and are not truly born again, saying "I'm not an alcoholic" is kind of like saying "I'm not a sinner." Yes you are, it's just are you forgiven (have you received the Savior's gift of forgiveness and been filled with the Spirit of Overcoming Temptation, which is his to give--see Revelation). OR you are an alcoholic because secretly in your heart (where God sees all) you don't believe you have done anything wrong REALLY (I'm a "good person"), and/or you get intoxicated to ignore your conscience, or you think the world owes you something ("I have a RIGHT to pleasure or not to be raped or ....blah blah blah). The Bible proves in all it's blank spaces that MOTIVE IS EVERYTHING. And let's remember that Jesus turned water into good wine, not the cheap stuff that is usually "put out last" by people who are so drunk they are just drinking for quantity and greed and to stay drunk. This is surely a metaphor for religion that Jesus came to show had "made the Pharisees" to drunk to know their own conscience. They used religious practice like cheap wine: to intoxicate and the only real result was to lower their inhibitions and make them LESS watchful. Good wine is to celebrate God, just as good thoughts do. Bad wine is for the greedy whose only need is to escape their nagging consciences. Which drinker are you? I personally abstain because before I was born again, I was the "drink to escape" kind of person. But if and when God tells me I can have a glass of wine, it will be because He wants me to and His strength will be in me to use it only to celebrate HIM, glorify HIM, magnify HIM. Another important aspect of the water to wine miracle is: it's a wedding (metaphor), it's a celebration of eternal joining (marriage), Mary issues the most important command to "the servants": "do whatever he tells you to." Wow, if we only did that we'd see a lot more miracles. This entails having him speak to you and you hearing him, and in secret (the others at the wedding didn't know where the wine came from). A born again of Spirit follower of Jesus does what Jesus tells them to. Amen!!!! Let the celebration begin! WE are HIS Children!!! We ARE wine.