Letter: It seems clear the wine in the Bible was fermented

Mar. 07, 2013 @ 11:44 PM


I am a subscriber to The Mountain Press and lately I am sick and tired of reading about the pro and con concerning the upcoming liquor law vote in Pigeon Forge. I, for one, think this is a personal choice.

The pro comments seem to lean on the tax money from liquor going to the schools. This may very well be the truth. The question is, how much of the tax collected actually get to the school district? Right now there is no telling.

The con comments are forever quoting the Bible stating that it is evil to drink. This is incorrect. I just have the following to add from statements from the Bible Study website.

As one author put it, “Intemperance was common enough, and the Bible contains a number of unfavorable references to excessive drinking. Wine is praised; it rejoices God and men(Judges 9:13); it gladdens the heart of men (Psalms 104:15); it gladdens life (Exodus 10:19); it makes the heart exult (Zachariah 10:7); it cheers the spirit of the depressed (Proverbs 31:6),

The attitude of Jesus towards wine, like that of the entire Bible is neutral, praising its use and finding fault in its intemperate use. Certainly the production of wine at Cana (John 2:1-11) scarcely supports any belief that Jesus or the primitive Church regarded the use of wine as sinful in itself.” (Dictionary of the Bible, John L. McKenzie, S.J., 1965).

Many churches believe and avidly teach that to drink biblical wine is really to have unfermented grape juice. The problem, however, is that there is no possible way for this position to appear at all feasible. First, Noah could not have gotten drunk on grape juice (Genesis 9:21), nor could have Lot (Genesis 19:32-35). “But, some will claim, “that was Old Testament wine which was obviously alcoholic. The New Testament is clear in its condemnation of the use of alcoholic beverages and therefore references to it are really to grape juice only.”

Finally, a quick look at the New Testament exposes the error of this argument. In John 2:11 Jesus’ miracle at Cana is recounted. Jewish custom required they drink real wine at a wedding. It was a joyful occasion with probably several hundred people attending, so Jesus helped when the alcohol became prematurely exhausted. The product had to be fermented, for if it had been mere grape juice, there would have been complaints rather than superb compliments. “A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry,” says Ecclesiastes 10:19 – which requires a fermented product.

Tom Zawislak