My appearance in 1996Wayne Stegall

Copyright 2012 by Wayne Stegall
Created February 3, 2012.  See Document History at end for details.

New Wine

The most common objection to fundamental Protestant doctrine is their requirement that no Christian can drink alcohol.  Perhaps the objector can understand the prohibition against drunkenness and strong liquor, but wine was in the Bible and even Jesus turned water into wine they say.  So they reason that they can get by drinking moderately.  Can they really?

The first thing to observe is that the Greek word for wine, oinos, includes the whole concept of grape juice from its first unfermented state to that of actual wine.  The very words of Jesus affirm this fact by referring to unfermented grape juice as new wine.

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. (Matt 9:17)

Here new wine in old bottles bursts because the yeast in the old bottles vigorously ferments the unfermented grape juice.  Then the statement that the new wine will not burst in new bottles is due to the absence of yeast in them.

In view of God's commands, the exercise of moral will is a necessary part of living a righteous life.  Alcohol acts to subvert moral will long before many would consider themselves drunk.  Consider how many drink moderately to "loosen their inhibitions."  Loosened inhibitions lead to sin, however.  The righteous man in ancient times would have guarded his use of the grape to avoid moral peril.  New wine would be kept from spoiling as much as possible and consumed before it became an intoxicant.  Only the wicked would use the grape to their moral peril.  Thus new wine or grape juice would have virtue and actual wine would be a vice.

When the headwaiter tasted the that Jesus made from water, he said

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.  (John 2:10)

According to the moral worldview of that time this good wine would be unfermented and that fermented to any degree as poorer.  Wow, Jesus turned water into grape juice!

As to morality, the righteous man abstains from wine completely, fearing to endanger his soul by releasing his moral inhibitions .  As a practical matter, beyond the moral boundary, everyone knows how destructive alcohol is;  the existence and activity of Mothers Against Drunk Driving shows even secular concern for these dangers.

Avoid these perils.

Document History
February 3, 2011  Created.
February 3, 2011  Improved grammar, added another sentence, and changed version of scripture accidentally quoted in another version to KJV.