At one point in time, practically every Christian protestant denomination believed that alcohol consumption was forbidden in the Bible, and it is wise for Christians to completely abstain from it. It even lead to a national ban on alcohol, referred to as the Prohibition Era.
During this time period, rebellion took place and bootleggers began to sell alcohol on the Black market.
Eventually, the culture began to shift on the issue of prohibition, which would eventually be overturned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.
Eventually, acceptance began to work its way into the churches, and Christians began finding justifications for drinking.
The Word ‘Wine,’ In The Bible, Doesn’t Always Mean Alcohol
Isaiah 65:8 makes a clear distinction that the “new wine” comes directly out of a grape cluster, meaning that it is unfermented grape juice. – “Thus said the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one said, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.”
Scientists have found that grape juice has many “blessings” or benefits to our everyday health.
- Reducing the risk of blood clots
- Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol
- Preventing damage to blood vessels in your heart
- Helping maintain a healthy blood pressure
In Proverbs 23:32, it has a completely different description of wine, signaling that there is a difference between fermented and unfermented. – “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”
So, now we know that wine can either refer to alcohol, or unfermented juice. Typically, unless otherwise noted in the scripture, wine refers to unfermented juice, unless otherwise stated. One type of wine is a “blessing,” while the other type is a “mocker.”
1) Jesus Turned the Water into Wine
This is the main argument that people use to justify wine consumption, and claim that Jesus himself drank alcoholic wine. This can be easily disproved.
“Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;)”
We know at least three things from the passage. Jesus turned the water into wine, it took place at a feast, and they ran out of the original wine.
If the wine was alcoholic, Jesus basically threw a beer party. Feasts with alcoholic wine are referred to as banquetings in the Bible.
If we read 1 Peter 4:3, banquetings are sinful.
“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:”
In the New King James version, the term “banquetings” is transitioned into “drinking parties,” which is exactly what Jesus would have contributed to, had the wine been alcoholic.
If Jesus participated in banquetings, that would mean he was a sinner, which the Bible says that Christ is the only man who is “without sin.”
Not to mention, they ran out of wine. Additional alcoholic wine consumption would have meant that people were going to get drunk, because most had already had at least one cup. Jesus would have been creating drunkards.
“Well, maybe they ran out of first servings,” you might claim.
That’s not true.
In John 2:10 the governor of the feast said, “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”
He is comparing the wine that Jesus created, to the first batch of wine. This is at the very least, a second serving.
So, either you believe that the Bible is contradicting itself and is flawed, or you believe that the wine Jesus created was juice.
2) Jesus admitted that he drinks
People who claim Jesus drank alcoholic wine, quote Luke 7:33-34 as proof.
“For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 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!”
Wine, in this context when referring to John the Baptist, was not talking about fermented wine. John the Baptist was a nazarite.
A Nazarite could not drink alcohol or any product of the grapevine. They could not eat grapes. They could not cut the hair on the head, and had to avoid touching dead bodies.
In the book of Luke, we learn that John the Baptist could not drink fermented drinks or anything unfermented that comes from the grapevine.
Luke 1:15, “For he [John the Baptist] shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”
Why would the Bible make a distinction between wine and strong drink? It’s because unless specifically stated, wine was not automatically associated with fermentation.
With regards to Jesus being a “winebibber,” when read in context, it clearly reveals that Jesus was talking about people gossiping.
Verse 31-32: “Jesus went on to say, ‘What can I compare today’s people to? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the market and calling out to each other. They say,’ ”We played the flute for you. But you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song. But you didn’t cry.”’“
He was referring to their false accusation.
3) The Bible Says Alcohol is Healthy For Your Stomach
In 1 Timothy 5:23, people claim that it justifies consumption.
“No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.”
Grape juice has been found to settle upset stomachs. If you believe it was referring to alcoholic wine, then clearly this verse only permits it for medicinal purposes.
The fact is that every drunkard started off as a social drinker. If you never pick up a bottle, you will never become an alcoholic. When the Bible clearly states that we are to remain sober for the purpose of being a good witness to others, along with not tempting ourselves with sin, why is it such a challenge for some “Christians” to abstain from alcohol.
The reason is because whether they realize it or not, it becomes their master. They begin to thirst for alcohol. People who have never touched it, do not thirst for it.
Justifying alcohol consumption is the same as justifying any other sin. It is very convenient to point out the sins of others, while compromising the Word in areas that brings you conviction.
“Liquor is not necessary either for health or for so-called gracious living… It is the cause of untold sorrow, suffering, and material loss, not to mention the spiritual implications of drinking. Among young people… drinking is for getting drunk. And many go on to become alcoholics. Drinking and other forms of body-wrecking pleasures are signs of weakness rather than manliness. It takes a better man to live a clean life—free from the stimulants, depressants, and drugs—than to be artificially [stimulated].”
In closing, do not tempt yourself with sin. Do not play with sin, because it risks your chances at inheriting the Kingdom of God and completely destroying your life.