Many Christians wonder why so many ministers preach abstinence from alcoholic beverages. After all, didn’t Jesus drink wine with his followers? Didn’t He perform a miracle at The Wedding Feast at Cana by turning water into wine? While it is true that Jesus drank wine, alcoholic Christians who enter Christian rehabs will not hear their therapist support their opinion that drinking is acceptable for them simply because Jesus appeared to drink in the Gospel accounts of His life.
While Biblical evidence suggests that Jesus did, in fact, drink wine and perform a “water into wine” miracle, most scholars and Christian pastors agree that the wine of Jesus’ day was far different from the wine marketed to consumers today. When Jesus walked the earth, the wine He drank was a concentrated mix of fermented grape juice and water. The water content in this concentration was extremely high. Therefore, the drink was not very intoxicating. Other evidence supports the fact that the wine referred to in the Gospels may not have been alcoholic at all, considering the original Greek manuscript of the New Testament.
The Greek translation of the word used to describe what Jesus and his followers drank is “oinos.” Oinos is a word that could mean one of two beverages. Oinos could either be alcoholic wine of the low alcohol content variety, or it could simply mean grape juice that had not been fermented at all. When dealing with patients who struggle with denial of their alcoholism, Christian rehabs can refer these patients to the original Greek text of scripture. Since the Greek translation of scripture is the translation that lay at the root of all Biblical translation, English readers cannot assume that Jesus and his followers were drinking alcoholic “wine” or alcoholic “oinos” at all times, anyhow. Besides, pastors explain that, in most cases, Jesus drank wine with meals. It would be an extremely rare case for a patient in a Christian rehab to be admitted if they only drank with meals.
One of the main reasons why Jesus would have drunk wine with meals instead of water is because the water of his day was not pure. It contained deadly bacteria. A small amount of fermented grape juice could kill the deadly bacteria in the water he and the rest of his society drank. Therefore, Christian rehabs explain that this beverage served a health purpose.
From this evidence, it is clear that although Jesus may have drank some type of wine, the alcoholic beverage was nothing in comparison to the intoxicating effect of wine that people today consume. Christian Alcohol Treatment Centers use this evidence to discredit the justification of patients who compare their own alcohol consumption by referencing Jesus’ habit of drinking wine with meals. Christians rehabs know their patients are only denying their alcoholic disease and they are simply comparing grapes to oranges.
By Craig B.