Was wine in Jesus' day alcoholic?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by RomOne16, Sep 6, 2002.

  1. RomOne16

    RomOne16
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    I did a search on this topic here and didn't find the information I am seeking, so if this topic has been addressed before, please forgive my bringing it up again.

    I was taught that the wine referred to in the bible (such as the wine Jesus made from water) was really only grape juice and wasn't alcoholic. I can't find any scripture that supports this teaching however.

    Does anyone here know if the word for wine in the original scriptures differed from scripture to scripture? For example, was the word for wine in John 2:9 different from the word used for wine in Eph. 5:18?

    What I am wondering is, if they are the same, then how can you be "drunk with wine" if it was really only grape juice?

    I would welcome any other comments on this issue especially if you can clarify why anyone would teach that the wine Jesus made was not really wine at all, but grape juice.

    I am not searching for justification for drinking here as I really dislike the taste of alcohol. I am just bothered by the thought that people would teach something the scriptures don't support because they don't like the simple truth (not referencing anyone here). I have always been taught that that is wrong, so any clarification on this issue is welcomed. [​IMG]
     
  2. Ransom

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    The Greek word for "wine" is oinos (Strongs #03631), and is used throughout the New Testament.

    The single exception is in Acts 2:13, where the words translated "new wine" or "sweet wine," depending on the translation, is gleukos (Strongs #01098). (Note that the context shows that it, too, is an intoxicating beverage.)

    The Greek language also has a word for "grape juice": trux. It occurs nowhere in the New Testament.
     
  3. RomOne16

    RomOne16
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    Thank you Ransom. I appreciate the information.

    I have a question though. Do you have any information on how the whole "grape juice" theory got started, and how those who quote it as truth justify doing so? :confused:

    I am really curious about this because my current church teaches this.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. David Cooke Jr

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    I think the first miracle account in John (at the wedding) closes any doubt that exists on this.
     
  5. Pete Richert

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    Someone, on a different post, said that there were three words for wine in Greek, and were tied to the three stages of wine making, with only the third stage being alchoholic. I don't know of three words for wine in the NT, but I don't have it memorized. Let me see if I can find that post.
     
  6. Johnv

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    Wine for the Jew was indeed an alcoholic beverage. Also remember that one of the reasons for making wine was that the alcoholic content in wine served to preserve it, keeping it from spoiling. But the wine at the wedding of Cana and the passover wine Jesus used in the last supper would definitely have contained alcohol.
     
  7. Ransom

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    RomOne16 asked:

    I have a question though. Do you have any information on how the whole "grape juice" theory got started, and how those who quote it as truth justify doing so?

    Thomas Welch was a United Methodist who had some scruples about the use of wine in communion, which was the accepted practice of the whole Church at the time. He applied the principles of pasteurization to the juice of Concord grapes and came up with "Dr. Welch's Unfermented Wine" (which we now know as Welch's Grape Juice). He tried to persuade the powers-that-be at his church to adopt its use in communion, but it was seen as an unnecessary innovation.

    Later, his son Charles began marketing it as authentic Biblical wine. It caught on, especially given the rise of the Temperance movement at the time.

    My personal hypothesis is that Charles Welch's claim that unfermented grape juice was Biblical wine was a little bit of revisionist history that happened to catch on. Since the Temperance movement was on the rise, it was the sort of thing people wanted to hear. The above information came from Welch's corporate Web site and a few sites run by United Methodists, so it is at best second-hand. I lack the primary sources to confirm or falsify my hypothesis.

    [ September 06, 2002, 04:58 PM: Message edited by: Ransom ]
     
  8. Pete Richert

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    That's kind of funny too because Welch's grape juice has so much suger in it it is probably worse then wine on our health. Those delicious sugerary drinks (Pepsi, Coke, Welch's) are way more of a stumbling block to me then wine.

    I can't find that post. I hope that poster sees the conversation and speaks up.

    That said, I'm not sure why we continue to hash out the booze threads. I think those who are confterable with drinking should drink in silence and not try to challenge us other brothers who hold convictions. Its like eating meat sacrificed to idols in Paul's day. If you can thank God for what He has provided, then do so with a clear conscience. Don't try to convince everyone else it is okay, that's not needed. It is one thing if you attend a chuch which frowns on this, you drink, and you have at it with your pastor. You should probably find a different chuch then. But here, its not like we are following each other into bars and causing fifteen year olds to stumble. First off, they should follow the LAW, which says NO ONE under 21 should drink. Every Christian youth should adhere to the governing authorities as commanded by Peter , Paul, and Jesus, for not to IS A SIN, whether alchohol is okay or not.
     
  9. TheOliveBranch

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    In many places, the word "new" (Strong's 3501) is used with the word "wine" (Strong's 3631). The meaning of "new" is "youthful", or "fresh", thus, "fresh wine", or technically, the fresh pressed wine of the grape [​IMG]
     
  10. Ransom

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    TheOliveBranch said:

    In many places, the word "new" (Strong's 3501) is used with the word "wine" (Strong's 3631). The meaning of "new" is "youthful", or "fresh", thus, "fresh wine", or technically, the fresh pressed wine of the grape [​IMG]

    That is true, but it actually proves that wine was fermented, not unfermented. Case in point:

    Why do the wineskins burst? Because fermenting wine expands, stretching them. If the wineskins have already been used for this purpose once, they are too weak to withstand the pressure a second time.

    This passage is paralleled in the Synoptics at Mark 2:22 and Luke 5:37-38, which constitutes most of the uses of the phrase "new wine."

    Then there is Luke 5:39:

    Of course, Jesus is speaking figuratively of the coming New Covenant versus the Old, saying that the old ways are still more palatable to the Pharisees. However, his figure appeals to the common knowledge that old wine (i.e. fermented, matured) is superior to young. Jewish society was sober, but it wasn't "dry" - and obviously then, just as now, wine drinkers appreciated older wine. Adam Clarke remarks that according to rabbinic tradition "old wine" was a three-year-old vintage.

    Incidentally, Jesus' uncritical use of this analogy is indirect proof that aesthetic appreciation is a Biblically approved use of wine.

    Our last passage:

    Of course, "new wine" in this passage is not Strong's #3501 or #3631 at all, but Strong's #1098: gleukos. This is the sole use of this word in the New Testament. Again, however, it shows that wine was fermented, because the mockers are accusing Peter and the other disciples of being drunk. It is interesting to note that Peter's rebuttal of this false accusation is not: "Certainly not! I am a Christian, and wine has never passed my lips!" Rather, he says, simply, "these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day": in other words, it's too early to be drinking.
     
  11. HankD

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    Dear Pete,

    You said...

    Actually there is another aspect, it is a cultural thing. I am 3rd generation Italian and no one in my family ever considered drinking wine a sin (getting drunk, yes). In fact when I found out that some "protestants" considered drinking wine a sin, I was amazed.
    My grandfather had some land outside of Boston and grew grapes and made wine. My cousins and I were given wine with meals without hesitation.

    Now I abstain, but only because it might offend the brethren at the church I attend. Apart from that my conscience is perfectly clean about drinking wine.

    BTW, the wine my grandfather made was considerably milder and different than the varnish remover sold in the stores. It was delicious and a natural medicine as well as a food. I believe it was alcoholic wine in the NT Scriptures because of Paul's admonishment...Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities...
    My grandmother used to say "God makes wine, men make whiskey".

    An aside: I believe the Primitive Baptist will only use real wine for the Lord's supper.

    HankD

    [ September 06, 2002, 09:12 PM: Message edited by: HankD ]
     
  12. rsr

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    Before pastuerization, it would be difficult to keep grape juice for any length of time because it , left to its own devices, ferments.

    Ransom, the Primitive Baptists I'm familiar with insist upon real wine; I'm not aware of any that don't, but you know it's not wise to use universals when talking about Baptists of any stripe.
     
  13. latterrain77

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    Matt. 26: 29 and Luke 14: 25 use the phrase FRUIT OF THE VINE. The word “wine” is not used and neither are the words “grape juice.” In fact, no one REALLY knows what “fruit of the vine” is. The Bible does not say.

    Proverbs 31: 4 plainly illustrates that the consumption of wine or strong drink is prohibited for Kings. Jesus was the KING of KINGS (1 Tim. 6: 15, Rev. 17: 4). Accordingly, the LORD would not have consumed wine or any other strong alcoholic beverage.

    Matt. 15: 23 illustrates that Jesus REJECTED wine, even when it was given to him for pain killing purposes!

    John 2 shows Jesus turning water into wine. However, there is nothing that says he drank any of that wine.

    John the Baptist did NOT drink any wine or strong drink (Luke 1: 15).

    The only potential use of wine for a Christian (and I do mean potential) is to use a “little” for medical stomach ailments (1 Tim. 5: 23). With modern medicines, this is no longer necessary either.

    Bishops may NOT partake of ANY wine (Titus 1: 7). How can a Church worship service use wine then? That would mean the bishops within the church could not partake!

    I do not believe ANY Christian should drink ANY alcoholic beverages – INCLUDING WINE! After all, we are kings too! (Rev. 1: 6, Prov. 31: 4).

    latterrain77
     
  14. HankD

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    Perhaps not there but at every Passover which is where the Lord instituted the Ordinance of His Supper.

    It is ironic that some Baptists are offended by the "grape juice" used by most who are offended by real wine.

    James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

    HankD
     
  15. latterrain77

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    Hi Hank D. Thank you for your thoughts about “wine” at the Last Supper. I can’t find anything in the Bible that says Jesus drank wine at the Last Supper or at any other time either. My prior post covers much of my study on the topic. If you think the Bible says Jesus did drink wine please let me know where. I’ve never been able to find it. Thanks Hank D.

    latterrain77
     
  16. BrianT

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    But Christ did, by his own admission:

    Luke 7:33-34 "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. [34] The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!"
     
  17. Mike McK

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    I've never taken communion in a church that served wine.

    Is it any particular kind of wine?

    Do you go for something nice like Brunello di Montalcino '82 or do you just pick up a bottle of Thunderbird?

    Not trying to be funny. I really don't know.

    Mike
     
  18. Rev. Joshua

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    Here's a relevant text on the Anglican use of wine in Communion:

    Coments on Communion Wine

    Smoke,

    In answer to your question, I usually buy it from a church supply store, ala:

    Church Supplies

    (not that one in particular, it's in the UK [​IMG] )

    When I'm doing a wedding, I usually stop and pick up wine from somewhere nearby. I prefer it to be deep red in color, and not so fruity or sweet that it doesn't still have a little bitterness to it.

    Joshua
     
  19. Ps104_33

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    What do those who had an alcolhol addiction before coming to Christ do when the communion cup comes around?

    Also does anyone know why the priest is the only one who gets the "hootch" these days in the RC church?
     
  20. Mike McK

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    Thanks Joshua,

    I knew that there was kosher wine for seder and other Jewish observances but I didn't realize that there was wine specifically for communion.

    Is it any good?
     

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