Early on in childhood, we were taught that an ideal Christian life involves abstaining from alcohol altogether. Drinking alcohol is often seen as sinful, and many Christian churches forbid alcohol consumption. Besides religious beliefs, refraining from drinking alcohol is a factor in living a healthy lifestyle.
Our body is a Temple of God, therefore, we must treat our bodies with utmost care. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 reads, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”
However, the scripture does not actually denounce drinking alcohol. Drinking wine as part of celebrations has been mentioned multiple times in the Bible. In fact, Jesus performed His first miracle in Cana by turning water into wine at a wedding.
Did Jesus Drink Wine?
Yes, Jesus drank wine. All of us probably know this from the story of the Last Supper in the New Testament. The real question is, did Jesus drink alcohol, or was it just unfermented grape juice?
“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.'”—Matthew 26:27–29
To this day, the answer to the question, “Did Jesus drink wine?” can still be quite confusing and unclear. While some say that Jesus drank fresh grape juice, others believe that Jesus definitely consumed fermented wine, which is an alcoholic beverage. One example in the scriptures, which many Christians believe to be a confirmation that Jesus Christ did drink fermented wine is in Luke 7.
Jesus said in Luke 7:33–34, “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at Him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'”
The religious leaders at the time accused Jesus of being a drunkard. This, of course, isn’t true because drunkenness is a sin, and Jesus never sinned. Still, this passage in the Bible highly suggests that Jesus drank fermented wine, which contains alcohol in it.
Considering this, one can conclude that Jesus did drink wine with some alcohol content, but not to the extent of being drunk. Moreover, when Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast, the wine was said to likely be fermented.
With this, we can say that alcohol is not necessarily bad, as Jesus wouldn’t have performed the miracle if it were. On the other hand, some argue that the “best kind of wine” is just high-quality grape juice. In the New Testament, the same Greek word, oinos, is used to describe fermented and unfermented wine, which might also be plausible.
What Did Jesus Say About Wine?
Jesus never condemns anyone for drinking alcoholic wine. Ultimately, whether you believe that He drank fermented wine or not, Jesus allowed it, but He does not condone drinking to the extent of inebriation. Alcohol abuse is certainly not acceptable, as it may cause us to sin and harm ourselves and those around us.
Fermented beverages have existed since ancient times and have been a part of feasts and celebrations in the Bible. The technology we use now to filter beverages was not available in the early days. Although they might not contain the same amount of alcohol as liquor accessible today, fermented beverages can be safely consumed. It is also common that Jesus used wine as a metaphor to institute the New Covenant.
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'”—Luke 5:37–39
What Did The Bible Say About Drinking Wine?
Drinking wine is seen in a positive and negative light in the Bible. In Psalm 104:14–15, we received wine as something to bring us joy: “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”
The scripture also warned us about the dangers and consequences of drinking too much wine. It tells us that while we are allowed to consume it, we must do so in moderation and practice self-control. We should be filled with the Holy Spirit, not with the spirit of alcohol.
- Don’t be drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit.—Ephesians 5:18
- Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.—Proverbs 20:1
- But if that servant says to himself, “My master is delayed in coming,” and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk.—Luke 12:45
- Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.—Romans 13:13
Should We Drink Wine Or Alcohol?
You don’t have to if that’s what you deem best. While we are not required to, however, we can drink wine or other alcoholic beverages in moderation. Alcohol, like money, is not inherently sinful. Excessive drinking, misuse, and obsession are what make these things immoral.
Furthermore, wine is present in the Bible during celebrations that honor the Lord. So how can it be evil? Alcoholism—which is alcohol addiction—is the actual sin, not the act of drinking itself. Wine is depicted in the Bible as a blessing, but we should be mindful of how and when we should consume it. We are free to drink as we please as long as it does not lead us away from God or cause someone to fall.
Whether it was fermented or not, the scripture does indicate that Jesus drank wine. Studies show that wine and other alcoholic beverages may even have positive health benefits when taken moderately. It is not wrong to enjoy some wine now and then; hence, it is not surprising to know that it was not forbidden in the Bible and is considered a good gift from God.
Most of us today drink to procrastinate, forget our problems, or get that extra “happy hormone” to make us feel better when we’re down. Instead of depending on alcohol, however, as Christians, we should always look to God and ask for His guidance so that we may not lose our way to a godly life.