Is Alcohol Forbidden In Scripture

Christians Debate On Biblical Wine

Do Scriptures say that God accepts alcohol? It was used for blessings (Proverbs 3:10,  Genesis 14:18;27:28; ). He gave permission to use strong drink (Deuteronomy 14:26). It was used in the drink offering (Exodus 29:41).

The grape was made by God, which would make the wine, which makes man’s hearts glad (Psalm 104:15).

It is true that today’s alcohol is stronger than that used in Bible times, but so long as you are careful with how much you drink and not get drunk, there is nothing wrong with using small quantities of alcohol.

Jesus Turning Water into wine

First, let us note that all arguments are being made based on Old Testament teachings.

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). The Hebrew word translated as “wine” here is the word yayin. Yayin is a generic word for any liquid product made from grapes. That a variety of products can be yayin is seen in Nehemiah 5:18, “Now that which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine.” Yayin does not refer to a single type of grape product. It can refer to non-alcoholic drink as in, “Gladness and joy are taken away from the fruitful field; In the vineyards also there will be no cries of joy or jubilant shouting, No treader treads out wine in the presses, For I have made the shouting to cease” (Isaiah 16:10). The juice in the grape, waiting to be squeezed out by treading, is called yayin and is translated as “wine.” It can also refer to alcoholic beverages, as in “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Since grape juice does not affect a person’s mental capacity, it is obvious that the wine (yayin) in this verse refers to an alcoholic beverage.

Italy, Vineyard Grapes, Wine, Tuscany

Returning to Genesis 14:18, there is not enough information in the context of the verse to determine whether the wine (yayin) mentioned contains alcohol. It does not prove nor disprove that alcoholic wine was served by Melchizedek.

Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine” (Genesis 27:28). The word translated as “wine”in this verse is tirosh in Hebrew. Tirosh, when the context makes the definition clear, always refers to fresh, unfermented grape juice. Generally you find tirosh translated as “new wine.” “As the new wine is found in the cluster” (Isaiah 65:8). Here tirosh refers to the juice of grapes before they are squeezed. “Your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:10). The juice pouring freely from the presses at harvest is called tirosh. Tirosh never refers to an intoxicating beverage. Hence, this verse does not prove that a desire for alcoholic beverages was given as a part of a blessing.

So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:10). The phrase “new wine” in this verse comes from the Hebrew word tirosh. The translators understood that alcoholic beverages was not indicated so they used the adjective “new” to indicate that it was unfermented grape juice. Once again the point that alcoholic beverages was used as a blessing is not proven.

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See also:
Sermons regarding Alcohol

Old Testament Beverages

New Testament Beverages