Did Jesus Drink Alcohol?

Whenever alcohol is mentioned, controversies begin and different school of thoughts are opened immediately.

The controversies surrounding whether believers should drink wine, beer or hard liquor and the Bible’s stand about consuming alcohol are yet to be resolved.

In Proverbs 20:1, the Bible says that “wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling.” Habakkuk 2:15 says, “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbour, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk.”

Looking at it critically, there’s no specific Bible verse that says drinking a glass of wine or beer, or a cocktail with dinner, is a sin, rather, the Bible forbids drunkenness and calls it a sin. It was clearly stated that drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Also, Romans 13:13 warns against drunkenness: “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.”

These days, some churches teach that since Jesus drank wine that we should as well. The basis for this teaching being that at the Lord’s supper and His last Passover feast because it wasn’t recorded anywhere in the scriptures that Jesus and his disciples drank juice. Some other churches dare to teach that the wine spoken about in the Bible refers to unfermented grape juice.

Fair enough, Noah or Lot did not get intoxicated on unfermented drink (Genesis 9:21, 19:32 – 35), and Biblical evidence shows a consistent reference, from cover to cover, that wine is an alcoholic beverage able to make a person drunk with its overuse.

Jesus first public miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2), and not water into grape juice. Jewish custom required they drink real wine at such a joyous celebration – especially when lots of people were expected to be in attendance. What Jesus miraculously produced had to contain fermentation for it to receive the rave reviews it got from the guests.

Luke 7:33-34 confirmed that Jesus drank wine although, the religious leaders of the time were upset with Him to the point of tagging Him a “winebibber.” While talking about Jesus, they said, “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”

The Greek word for winebibber as explained by Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words is ‘oinopotes’ which means “‘a wine drinker’ (oinos, and potes, ‘a drinker’).”

‘Winebibber’ in the Old Testament is a word used to describe those who abuse the use of alcohol (Proverbs 23:20). Because Jesus drank little wine from time to time, this opened Him up to the charge of abusing it. Christ, of course, always drank in moderation; He never abused alcohol.

Now, the Bible teaches against the misuse of alcohol as that is a sin (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21; 1 Peter 4:3). Reflecting its use in moderation, Judges 9:13 speaks of wine that it “cheers both God and men.” Psalm 104 also presents moderate alcohol use in a positive light when it said, “And wine that makes glad the heart of man” (verse 15).

The Bible, on the issue of alcohol, is clear, and it is not one of total prohibition but rather of moderation. The apostle Paul, concerned about the health of his close friend and evangelist Timothy, charged him to stop drinking just water and begin to partake of some wine ‘for your stomach’s sake’ and for the sake of his illnesses (1Timothy 5:23). Paul promoted a balanced approach to alcohol and other things in life (Philippians 4:5) just like Jesus did.

In this light, we think it is safe to say that the Bible does allow Christians to partake of alcohol in a responsible way. Jesus saw nothing wrong with drinking a little wine now and then, so if he saw nothing wrong with its moderate use, we should see nothing wrong with doing so as well.

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