Wine of the Bible


I saw this comment on this post and decided to look into it: too much to put on a comment so I will answer it here:

I started with this:

I’m assuming here that new wine would be grape juice and old wine would be of the fermented kind.

What else was there to drink in the biblical times?
With that in mind, wine use is supported in the bible, I should have used the word wine then instead of alcohol?
I would like some scripture support not just  a person todays commentary on what exactly was wine in the bible.
So off I went to and found scripture verses that state wine in a positive light as opposed to a bad/wicked/drunk/foolish  light

Genesis 14:18 – communion w/Mechizedek

Lev 23:13 wine offering to God

Deut 7:13 and Deut 14:26 – spend your money on what your heart desires and shall eat and drink in the presence of the Lord and rejoice

Deut 15:14 – when you set a slave free, give to him as the Lord has blessed you, food and wine, etc

Judges 19:16-21, 2 Kings 18:32 – wine and new wine to be given to God, servants and kings drank it according to the law in Ester 1:7-8.

Job’s family was drinking wine when the Lord took them Job 1:13,18

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord from your wealth and your barns will be filled with new wine…

Psalm 104:15, Song of Solomon compares love, mouth to wine, 1:2 & 4, 4:10, 7:72, 7:9

Isaiah 25:6, the Lord will give us wine, 27:2, same, altho I think this is meant symbolically,  Isaiah 36:17, Isaiah 55:1

Jer 31:12 shout for joy over the bounty of the Lord, and in Jer and Lamentation they talk about the Lord taking away wine, the staple of the country/society at that time.

Joel 3:18, Amos 9:13-14

In Luke 5 the parables of new and old wineskins, John 2:1-11 Jesus turning water into wine for a celebration

1Timothy, a little wine for Timothys tummy

Titus 2:3, 1:, it states – be not addicted to wine, doesn’t say dont drink at all.

From Easton Bible Dictionary

Words for wine

Ashishah -solid cake of pressed grapes

‘Asis – sweet wine or new wine

Hometz. – vinegar

Hemer – blood of the grape

‘Enabh – a grape

Mesekh – water, wine spices for stimulation

Tirosh – properly ‘must’, translated ‘wine’

Sobhe (root meaning “to drink to excess,” “to suck up,” “absorb”),

Shekar, “strong drink,”

Yekebh –  wine vat

Shemarim (only in plural), “lees” or “dregs” of wine.

Mesek, “a mixture,” mixed or spiced wine, not diluted with water, but mixed with drugs and spices to increase its strength

In addition to wine the Hebrews also made use of what they called Debash , Which was obtained by boiling down must to one-half or one-third of its original bulk. In Genesis 43:11 this word is rendered “honey.” It was a kind of syrup, and is called by the Arabs at the present day dibs. This word occurs in the phrase “a land flowing with milk and honey” (debash),

From  Torrey’s Topical Textbook ~ Wine 

{you should be able to click on any of the highlighted words and find the scripture for it}

  • First mention of
    Genesis 9:20,21
  • First mode of making, notice
    Genesis 40:11
  • Generally made by treading the grapes in a press
    Nehemiah 13:15; Isaiah 63:2,3
  • Refining of, alluded to
    Isaiah 25:6
  • Improved by age
    Luke 5:39
  • Many kinds of
    Nehemiah 5:18
  • Sweet, esteemed for flavour and strength
    Isaiah 49:26; Amos 9:13; Micah 6:15
  • Red, most esteemed
    Proverbs 23:31; Isaiah 27:2
  • Often spiced to increase its strength, &c
    Proverbs 9:2,5; 23:30; Solomon 8:2
  • First fruits of, to be offered to God
    Deuteronomy 18:4; 2 Chronicles 31:5
  • With corn and oil, denoted all temporal blessings
    Genesis 27:28,37; Psalms 4:7; Hosea 2:8; Joel 2:19
  • Given in abundance to the Jews when obedient
    Hosea 2:22; Joel 2:19,24; Zechariah 9:17
  • The Jews frequently deprived of, as a punishment
    Isaiah 24:7,11; Hosea 2:9; Joel 1:10; Haggai 1:11; 2:16
  • The Jews frequently drank, to excess
    Isaiah 5:11; Joel 3:3; Amos 6:6
  • In times of scarcity, was mixed with water
    Isaiah 1:22
  • Sometimes mixed with milk as a beverage
    Solomon 5:1
  • Custom of presenting to travellers
    Genesis 14:18; 1 Samuel 25:18
  • Custom of giving to persons in pain or suffering, mixed with Drugs
    Proverbs 31:6; Mark 15:23
  • Forbidden to the priests while engaged in the tabernacle
    Leviticus 10:9
  • Forbidden to Nazarites during their separation
    Numbers 6:3
  • The Rechabites never drank
    Jeremiah 35:5,6
  • An article of extensive commerce
    Ezekiel 27:18
  • Was stored in cellars
    1 Chronicles 27:27
  • Was kept in bottles
    1 Samuel 25:18; Habakkuk 2:15
  • Consequence of putting (when new), into old bottles
    Matthew 2:22
  • The love of Christ to be preferred to
    Solomon 1:2,4
  • Water miraculously turned into
    John 2:9
  • From Smiths Bible Dictionary

    The last sentence is this: (The simple wines of antiquity were incomparably less deadly than the stupefying and ardent beverages of our western nations. The wines of antiquity were more like sirups; many of them were not intoxicant; many more intoxicant in a small degree; and all of them, as a rule, taken only when largely diluted with water. They contained, even undiluted, but 4 or 5 percent of alcohol.–Cannon Farrar.)

    While I would never be the one to tell anyone to drink or the bible says its ok to drink, 

    I think the bible does support the use of wine and does shed it in a positive light as well as a bad light, there are more verses denoting its bad effects. I also think after reading the Eastons Bible Dictionary definitions of wine, that the wine back then wasn’t far from the rotgut we have in stores today.

    There wasn’t Red bulls, bottled water, sodas or iced tea just sitting at the corner store to be bought. It was their customs, what they had to drink and in the end, do what you do as unto the Lord. Balance and all to Gods glory, my friends.

    I’m an alcoholic from way back and on the original post that’s what I was talking about.

    Please see my Life as I know it  page and the the I’m an alcoholic post to see my journey with the wine 🙂

    I’m glad I did that word study, been a long time and felt good. and because all I can do is sit at this computer until the foot heals 🙂

    Blessings, Kristina

    16 responses »


    2. Good post. 🙂 Glad you’re feeling up to the word studies again. Sorry to interrupt this morning, but my mother was supposed to have her phone off!

    3. Shardinay:
      thanks for stopping by, when you are sober, please repost your comment. I can’t even begin to edit it to make sense.

      {ash, when I’m off these crutches, im coming for you!!!!!}

    4. Your quote is right on: The last sentence is this: (The simple wines of antiquity were incomparably less deadly than the stupefying and ardent beverages of our western nations. The wines of antiquity were more like sirups; many of them were not intoxicant; many more intoxicant in a small degree; and all of them, as a rule, taken only when largely diluted with water. They contained, even undiluted, but 4 or 5 percent of alcohol.–Cannon Farrar.)

      I would point you to a couple of scholarly, contextual articles:

      Geisler, Norman L. “A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking” in BibSac (January-March, 1982).

      Stein, Robert H. “Wine-Drinking in New Testament” in Christianity Today (June 20, 1975).

      I think these passages will give you some insight into the whole issue. Also, I have written an exegesis paper of the Cana miralce that you might find interesting. If you’d like me to email it to you, email me at: halc dot 40dp at

    5. Wines average about 12 to 13 percent alcohol, but that number can vary considerably either way. The most popular low-alcohol wine is probably Moscato d’Asti, a delightfully sweet sparkling wine from Italy, which is no more alcoholic than beer and can be as low as five percent alcohol.
      Many low-cost sweet wines with prematurely arrested fermentations (which keeps the yeast from converting all the sugar to alcohol) are also low in alcohol; jug and box wines tend to fall into this category. Grapes with a lot of natural sugar, on the other hand, tend to deliver high-alcohol powerhouses.
      (zinfandel happened to be my wine of choice when I guzzled it)
      is the prime example here; a red zinfandel vinified with specially designed yeasts can surpass 17 percent alcohol before all the sugar is fermented away.
      Fortified wines — those with spirits added to stop the fermentation, such as port and sherry — can be even more alcoholic, often hitting 20 percent.
      from here
      and BEER alcohol content from here
      (the first number is alcohol content, the 2nd number is calories)
      Blatz Milwaukee 1851 Beer
      Blatz (USA) 4.48 38
      Boulder Porter
      Boulder (USA) 6.07 53
      Budwelser King of Beers 4.82 40
      Anheuser Busch (USA) 4.47 39
      Busch Beer 4.98 42
      Anheuser Busch (USA) 5.19 43
      Carling Black Label Canadian 4.71 45
      Style Beer G. Heileman (USA) 4.38 39
      Cerveza Carta Blanca
      Cerveceria Cauhtemoc (Mexlco) 4.02 36
      Cerveza Tecate Beer 4.10 37
      Cervecerla Cauhtemoc (Mexico) 4.49 41
      Chester Golden A]e
      Greenall Whitley (England) 5.43 44
      Colt 45 Malt Liquor 5.53 45
      G. Heileman (USA) 6.11 49
      Coors Banquet Beer 4.81 39
      Adolph Coors (USA) 5.03 41
      Corona Extra Beer
      Cereveria Modela SA (Mexico) 4.84 45

      So, if the Israelists are drinking wine back then it was like or equivelant to drinking a beer nowadays.
      In the whole post you pull out one quote, when the bible and bible commentaries support [maybe we could think of a better word than support] the use of it and definitions of all types of wine used or made.
      i realize you have an agenda here, and norman G. I’ll give some credit to, but Christianity Today is not my favorite reading or is it always accurate journalism.
      when I did this post I was not looking for a christian perspective on wine drinking nor just the new testament perspective. I tend to want to know what the whole counsel of Gods Word says about ‘something’
      I have not read the articles but will read them when I have time, i promise 🙂
      you could send me the article you wrote at musingsofahomeengineeratyahoodotcom
      and as for this comment
      ”I don’t want to argue here but I just wanted to make the point that the phrase “the Bible supports” is often a good indicator that someone is about to “abuse” the Bible. ”
      I shudder to think by saying this about wine I abused the Word of God, but if i have, may my Lord and Maker burn up what is not of Him on the day of Judgement.
      Praise Him Thru Whom all Blessings Flow!

    6. ok, i cant find norman geisler’s article.
      does anyone have it, jason, ashley?
      i found the christianity today article and am waiting on Michael to send me his article.

    7. Drinking With Calvin and Luther is a good read. Driscoll’s sermon on the subject is very good. It starts off slow, but he gets into the 3 basic positions and develops the idea of indifferent things.
      Of course wine in biblical times was intoxicating- (be not drunk in wine- Eph. 5), but we are neither to surrender our freedom in Christ to either legalism or license. People with a history of uncontrolled abuse should abstain- that is wise.
      Interesting that the Westminster Confession mentions wine in discusing the Lord’s Table, yet most churches that submit to the WCF use juice.
      hope that ankle is feeling better. you should know better than to wrestle with a 13 year-old son :-0

    8. Wine/Beer drinking becomes an issue because so many denominations, individual churches and preachers have a view of God as doing DUI enforcement. The Bible (even the KJV) endorses the use of intoxicating substances–possibly even including cannabis. Intoxication is the only possible understanding of Proverbs 31.

      We can abuse almost anything to our detriment. The only way to reconcile the contradictory passages of scripture about drinking is to apply common sense: In moderation drinking is helpful. Even being drunk has its place. Any reasonable person will realize you can’t get drunk every day without serious consequences.

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