While the use of wine was a practical necessity for most households in biblical times, it is not for us today. How should this be reflected in our judgment on this matter?
Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!
- Ecclesiastes 10:17
Fermentation of grape juice takes place as the sugar molecules break down to form alcohol. Alcohol produces bodily decay rather than health. The proper understanding of these facts is important, for the Bible does speak of the use of "wine" in a healthy manner, as the following examples reveal:
A HEALTHY USE OF "WINE" IN SCRIPTURE
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
- Genesis 14:18
And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.
- Exodus 29:40
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.
- Psalm 104:14-15
Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
- Isaiah 55:1
And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
- Amos 9:14
But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.
- Matthew 26:29
And saith unto Him, 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.
This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.
- John 2:10-11
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!
- Luke 7:34
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
- I Timothy 5:23
To determine whether non-alcoholic or fermented wine is referred to in each "wine" reference in Scripture is difficult, due to the same word being used for both. For instance, Jesus' first miracle -changing water into wine -pictures His rich, life-giving and life-nourishing work. His use of wine at the Lord's Supper does also. Healthy, nourishing, sugary "wine" fits more appropriately in this context than decaying, fermenting, intoxicating wine would.
Some serious Christian denominations and individuals believe that every time "wine" is mentioned in a good and healthy sense in Scripture, non-intoxicating wine (sugary grape juice) is referred to; and when "wine" is referred to in an evil and unhealthy manner, then intoxicating wine (alcoholic drink) is meant.