Water to wine miracle: NO REASON to assume it’s ALCOHOLIC wine

Six waterpots on stairs next to wall
At a wedding in Cana…

NOT ALL oinos wine is alcoholic. (See also: broad meaning of wine (oinos) – documented.)

The burden of proof here rests with the advocate of alcoholic wine…’

—Frederick Richard Lees & Dawson Burns, The Temperance Bible-Commentary

When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine [oinos]… the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk [are satisfied], then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

John 2:9-10 NKJV.

See also: Bible says be sober again and again.

Oinos a generic word: NOT ALL oinos wine alcoholic (water to wine)

oinos is used in the Septuagint for both fermented and unfermented grape juice. Since it can mean either one, it is valid to insist that in some cases it may simply mean grape juice and not fermented wine.

…the Roman writer Cato, in his treatise On Agriculture, gave this prescription: “If you wish to keep new wine sweet the whole year round, put new wine in a jar, cover the stopper with pitch, place the jar in a fishpond, take it out after the thirtieth day; you will have sweet wine all the year round.”

Ralph Earle, 1986, Word Meanings in the New Testament, 1 Timothy 5:13, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.

No man should adduce this instance [John 2:1-11] in favour of drinking wine unless he can prove that the wine [Jesus made] was just like the wine which he proposes to drink.
There is no evidence of it [alcohol] whatever; and it is not necessary to suppose it [to explain the circumstances].

Nor can an argument be drawn from this case in favour even of drinking wine such as we have. The common wine of Judea [clearly some of these] was the pure juice of the grape, without any mixture of alcohol, and was harmless.

Albert Barnes, 1832, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, John 2:10.

The Septuagint translation has oinos for both tirosh and yayin in many verses about tirosh and yayin. Judges 9:13 has tirosh – grapes even while on the vine, translated as oinos. Isaiah 16:10 and Jeremiah 48:33 have yayin, translated as oinos – even while the wine is still in the press! But nobody is denying yayin was intoxicating (sometimes anyway). Certainly there is also another type of wine that makes its drinker unable to distinguish between the holy and the unholy (Lev. 10:10). Nobody is denying that “{yayin} wine is a mocker…” (Prov. 20:1)

The best things usually first (water to wine)

…the impaired delicacy of the palate—induced by drinking intoxicating wines, thus enabling hosts to pass off their courser wines…—is not required to account for the governor’s allusion [“You have kept the good wine until now!”].

The best … [food and drinks] would naturally be produced first, because of a desire to make a good impression at the outset…

That [Jesus made] ‘good wine,’ is … true, but the taste of English wine-drinkers is no standard… The burden of proof here rests with the advocate of alcoholic wine…

Frederick Richard Lees & Dawson Burns, 1870, The Temperance Bible-Commentary, John 2:1-11, National Temperance Society and Publication House, New York, p. 301.

Drinking parties: ‘For we have spent enough of our past lifetime…’ (water to wine)

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

1 Peter 4:3-5 NKJV.

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

John 15:14 NKJV.

Satisfied, not intoxicated at all (John 2:10) (water to wine)

…the word translated “well drunk” cannot be shown to mean [in this passage] intoxication; but it may mean when they had drunk as much as they judged proper or as they desired, then the other was presented. It is clear that neither our Saviour, nor the sacred writer, nor the speaker here expresses any approbation of intemperance, nor is there the least evidence that anything of the kind occurred here. It is not proof that we approve of intemperance when we mention, as this man did, what occurs usually among men at feasts.

Albert Barnes, 1832, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, John 2:10.

John Wesley’s translation of 1 Cor. 11:21 says “drinks largely” not “drunken.” Some translations say “surfeited” (Daniel Mace) or “filled” (Emphatic Diaglott).

John Wesley New Testament, 1 Corinthians 11:21.

It is not intimated, even in the most indirect manner, that these guests were at all intoxicated.

The original word [methusthōsin μεθυσθωσιν] bears a widely different meaning … [as it] is evidently used in the Septuagint. … Isaiah 58:11, speaking of the abundant blessings of the godly, compares them to a watered garden, which the Septuagint translate, ως κηπος μεθυων, by which is certainly understood, not a garden drowned with water, but one sufficiently saturated with it…

Adam Clarke, 1832, Adam Clarke’s Commentary, John 2:8-10.

μεθυει, was filled to the full; this is the sense of the word in many places of Scripture. [Satisfaction contrasts with the hunger of the needy.]

Adam Clarke, 1832, Adam Clarke’s Commentary, 1 Corinthians 11:17.

A large collection of such texts, illustrating the usage of methuo, will be found in the ‘Works of Dr Lees,’ vol. ii., showing its application [e.g. in Septuagint] to food [Jer. 31:14, 25], to milk [wine and milk in Song 5:1], to water [Ps. 36:8; 65:9-10; Isa. 55:10; 58:11], to blood [Deut. 32:42; Isa. 34:5, 7; 49:26; Jer. 46:10], and to oil, as well as to wine [οἶνον νέον “new wine” in Isa. 49:26 or to actually intoxicating “wine” in Gen. 9:21; 1 Sam. 1:14; Joel 1:5, but not to intoxication by wine in Isa. 28:1; 51:21].

Frederick Richard Lees & Dawson Burns, 1870, The Temperance Bible-Commentary, 1 Corinthians 11:20-22,33,34, National Temperance Society and Publication House, New York, p. 338.

Note: The Septuagint (LXX) is an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament scriptures. Various ancient Greek writings likewise demonstrate terms such as oinos were not always alcoholic.

What if John 2 had said “the fruit of the vine” instead of wine?

Suppose if John 2 had said {gennēmatos tēs ampelou} “the fruit of the vine” instead of saying {oinos} “wine”? Regardless, some people would still strongly claim John 2 is certainly alcoholic – even without relying on the word oinos. Who? It would be the same people who strongly claim it is un-Scriptural and even sinful to refuse what they pompously call “real wine” at the Lord’s Supper – despite the Bible itself never even using the same term {oinos} “wine” at the Lord’s Supper.

One Reply to “Water to wine miracle: NO REASON to assume it’s ALCOHOLIC wine”

  1. I agree with you 100%, my study has proved the same about wine. There’s no possible way that our Lord created something that would go against his own teaching as intoxication

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