God and Grapes: Examining The Bible's Teachings on Wine

Discover the divine connection between wine and the Bible. Uncover the secrets and wisdom hidden within its mentions.

Last Updated:
March 25, 2024
8 Minutes

Table of Contents

Wine and its consumption is a common theme embedded within the pages of the Holy Bible. As individuals seeking greater understanding, we often find ourselves wrestling with questions about the scriptural references to this familiar substance – questions that teeter on the borders between morality, symbolism, and historical narrative. How many times does the Bible mention wine? What does God Himself articulate about this aromatic, fermented juice of grapes? Are there specific Bible verses about drinking wine that can help us deepen our understanding? 

"Wine gladdens human hearts" (Psalm 104:15).

This is but one verse among many that mention wine, suggesting that it’s not just the physical substance that counts, but also the spiritual, symbolic resonance it carries. 

We haven't merely set out to recount the number of times wine is mentioned in the Holy Book; we aim to explore, to question, and to seek answers about the role and meaning of wine in Biblical teachings. This journey, we presume, holds the potential to lead us to greater understanding, and perhaps, closer to the Divine itself.

How many Times is "Wine" Is Mentioned in the Bible?

Wine is mentioned approximately 231 times in the King James Version of the Bible.

In the New International Version, wine is mentioned 214 times.

The New American Standard Bible mentions wine 233 times.

However, one must bear in mind that the term "wine" within the context of the Bible does not always equate to the intoxicating beverage akin to what we identify as wine in our current times. The application of the term varies, hinging upon the context. As affirmed by the erudite Kenneth Gentry Jr., in his scholarly paper 'The Bible and the Question of Alcoholic Beverages', the "wine" of biblical times encompassed both fermented, potentially intoxicating beverages and non-intoxicating varieties. 

Oftentimes, the references to wine extend beyond the literal interpretation, serving as poignant metaphors or symbols illustrating abstract concepts. Wine, in various scriptural passages, epitomizes life, vigor, joy, blessing, and prosperity. It emanates notions of abundance and the crossing over into an age of blessings. Noteworthy references to this can be found in Isaiah 25:6, Amos 9:14, Jeremiah 31:12, and Joel 2:24-25. 

While the Bible does not condemn the consumption of wine outrightly, it airs a cautionary word against excessive indulgence and promotes total abstinence in certain instances. The pertinent guidance elucidated within the scriptures drives us to understand the importance of moderation and responsible conduct. 


  • The contextual meaning of "wine" within the Bible can denote both fermented, potentially intoxicating beverages and non-alcoholic varieties.
  • Wine serves as a metaphor denoting life, vitality, joy, blessings, and prosperity in various scriptural passages.
  • The Bible advocates for moderation in wine consumption and endorses total abstinence in certain instances.

Is drinking wine a sin according to the Bible?

First and foremost, it's important to state that nowhere in the Bible does it explicitly identify the consumption of wine as a sin. Yet, we must tread carefully here, as the absence of explicit condemnation doesn't equate to unbridled acceptance. The context matters significantly. 

Paul's letter to the Ephesians concerns those who over-indulge, cautioning, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery" (Ephesians 5:18). Is it not wine that is the problem here, but the drunkenness and indiscretion it can foster? Indeed, overindulgence that impairs judgment and ethical consideration is revealed as the underlying sin. 

Further, the Bible reveals that total abstinence from wine might be favorable in certain situations. Let us look at the Nazirites, who took a vow to abstain from any product of the vine, wine included. This act was seen not as legalistic pietism but an extraordinary dedication to God (Numbers 6:1-4). 

What then of Paul's advice to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23 to "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses"? Here we glimpse the Biblical acceptance of wine's medicinal value, and endorsement of its moderate consumption. 


  • No verse in the Bible explicitly identifies consuming wine as a sin.
  • Excessive drinking leading to impaired judgment and depravity is cautioned against in the Bible, as highlighted in Ephesians 5:18.
  • Certain individuals in the Bible, such as the Nazirites, chose total abstinence from wine as an act of special devotion to God.
  • Paul's advice to Timothy illustrates an acceptance of the medicinal value of wine and its moderate consumption.
  • The overarching biblical perspective calls for wisdom and moderation in wine consumption.

What does Jesus say about wine in the New Testament?

Our understanding of wine, as portrayed in the New Testament, weaves an intricate tapestry throughout the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Could it be that Christ's feelings towards wine were more nuanced than we've come to believe? 

Examining the book of Luke, we find Jesus utilizing wine as a conduit to recount profound spiritual truths. In Luke 7:33-34, Jesus juxtaposes his own behavior with that of John the Baptist, declaring, "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'" Perhaps Christ is subtly challenging our predispositions and misconceived notions regarding wine? 

Furthermore, during the Last Supper, as documented in Luke 22:17-20 and Matthew 26:27-29, Jesus highlighted wine as a metaphorical stand-in for his imminent sacrifice. The wine symbolized his spilling blood, underscoring a new covenant between Himself and humankind. Through this act, the use of wine transcended the material realm and ventured into the spiritual, thus affirming the substance's inherent significance within our faith. 

In summation, Jesus acknowledges wine as an intrinsic part of the human experience, even calling upon its imagery to convey deep theological truths, while also warning against excess and debauchery. It is paramount we comprehend this duality, as it nuances our understanding of wine's place within the Christian faith


  • Jesus recognized the presence of wine in Luke 7:33-34, comparing his own behavior to John the Baptist who did not partake in bread nor wine.
  • During the Last Supper, wine was chosen as a symbol to represent Christ's blood, indicating a new agreement between God and humanity (Luke 22:17-20 and Matthew 26:27-29).
  • Jesus stressed the importance of moderation, cautioning against the excessive consumption of wine, while also affirming its considerable metaphoric significance within the Christian faith.

How is wine used symbolically in the Bible?

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, the symbol of wine is employed with profound theological implications. In the Old Testament, we witness an association of wine with life, vitality, joy, blessing, and prosperity. It's no wonder that wine is frequently mentioned and becomes a prominent feature in Old Testament narratives, subtly revealing the divine design of joy and celebration. 

As we transition into the New Testament, the symbolic meaning of wine takes on an even more profound depth. Wine, notably used during the Passover and The Lord's Supper, transforms into a powerful symbol of Christ’s blood. This shift aptly embodies not just the trajectory of the narrative but also divine grace and the formation of a new covenant in Christ's blood. 

Interestingly, the Bible also employs the image of wine as a symbol of God's wrath. This nuanced interpretation provides an idea about divine justice, and how violation of God's laws can lead to consequences as severe and affecting as wine. 

In the end, wine in the Bible is not just a simple beverage but a means for us to delve deeper into the theological labyrinth. Like carefully crafted verses, wine narrates stories of life, sacrifice, blessing, and divine justice. Each sip of this biblical wine allows us to taste not just the depth of its character, but also the heart of divine wisdom.


  • Wine symbolizes life, vitality, joy, blessing, and prosperity in the Old Testament.
  • The New Testament uses wine as a symbol of Christ's blood, representing divine grace and the new covenant.
  • Wine also symbolizes God's wrath, indicating violation of divine laws and the corresponding consequences.
  • Wine narrates theological narratives of life, sacrifice, divine justice, and the depth of divine wisdom.

Why is wine used in Christian communion?

The sacred rite of Christian communion has long held wine as an integral component, but the reason for its inclusion goes beyond mere tradition. When we delve into both the historical and biblical contexts, we will discover that wine's role in communion is steeped in symbolic and theological significance. 

Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper, is an act of worship wherein Christians partake of bread and wine. This practice pays homage to the Last Supper that Jesus Christ shared with His disciples before His crucifixion. The bread symbolizes Christ's body broken for humanity's sin, and the wine represents His blood, shed for the forgiveness of those sins (Matthew 26:27-29). This significant event in the New Testament established the subsequent Christian tradition of utilizing wine during communion. 

Why, though, was wine chosen to symbolize Christ's new covenant in His blood? The answer lies not solely in the ubiquity of wine during that period in history, but also in its inherent attributes. Wine, being red in color, closely aligns with the imagery of blood, serving as a poignant symbol of sacrifice. The process of producing wine also mirrors Christian teachings of suffering, sacrifice, and transformation. Grapes must be crushed to create wine, much like how Christ endured suffering to secure salvation for mankind. In essence, the wine consumed during communion serves as a symbolic representation of Christ's sacrificial love, reinforcing His teaching: there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends (John 15:13). 

Furthermore, the Apostle Paul labeled the wine served for communion as the 'cup of blessing' and the 'cup of the Lord' (1 Corinthians 10:16, 22). This reference imbues the communion wine with additional spiritual significance, indicating that its partaking is a shared blessing and an acknowledgment of the Lord's work and presence. 


  • Wine in Christian communion symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for the forgiveness of sins.
  • The color and wine-making process represent Christ's sacrificial love and transformation.
  • The Apostle Paul referred to the wine in communion as the 'cup of blessing' and the 'cup of the Lord', indicating a shared blessing and an acknowledgment of the Lord's presence among His followers.
  • Thus, wine's use in Christian communion is not just traditional, but deeply significant theologically and symbolically.

Is there a difference between wine and strong drink in the Bible?

Many argue that they signify different beverages, each bearing its unique implications. If we delve into the depths of Old Testament teachings, we encounter instances where the royal and priestly orders were discouraged from the consumption of 'wine' or 'strong drink'. 

References, such as Proverbs 31:4, underscore this aspect, in this case, specifically admonishing kings and princes against the consumption of wine or strong drink to uphold justice. Contrastingly, in other instances, the Bible does not expressly condemn the moderate use of 'wine'. One may observe a reference to the word 'OINOS' in the New Testament, which pertains to richly fermented wine. Here, the reference is positive, suggesting an acceptance of the moderate consumption of such a drink. Yet, the Bible also cautions against the excessive indulging in, what may be comprehensively understood as, intoxicating beverages. This implies that while both 'wine' and 'strong drink' might have been fermented and potentially intoxicating, the Bible's concern was less about their inherent nature, more about their misuse leading to impaired judgment and conduct.

However, it warrants mentioning that the connotation of 'wine' in biblical terms does not always denote an intoxicating beverage. At times, it can refer to a lightly fermented grape juice or a sweet wine, a deviation from the common understanding of wine as a strong intoxicant. Adding to this complexity, the apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5:18, sternly advises against getting drunk on wine, while paradoxically recommending the consumption of a little wine for health reasons in 1 Timothy 5:23. Perhaps, it was more a summons to moderation than abstinence.


  • Wine and strong drink, although often used interchangeably, could signify different types of beverages depending on the context within the Bible.
  • The Bible carries both positive and negative references to wine and strong drink predominately leaning on their levels of consumption, not their inherent nature.
  • The terms 'wine' and 'strong drink' both could indicate fermented, potentially intoxicating beverages.
  • The Bible cautions against excessive indulging to preserve judgement and conduct.

Does the Bible differentiate between moderate and excessive wine drinking?

Though the Bible does not convey an utter prohibition against the use of wine, it unequivocally speaks against its excessive use. 

Consider Ephesians 5:18 for instance. The Apostle Paul, through his inspired words in this verse, warns the early Christians — and, by extension, us, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery". Is it not intriguing that the same Paul also advises Timothy, a young leader of the church, to "use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" (1 Timothy 5:23)? This clearly emphasizes that, while excessive wine drinking is unequivocally criticized and deemed sinful, moderate use, for medicinal purposes or partaking in certain celebrations, is not considered sinful. 

Indeed, the Apostle's instruction to Timothy reveals a noteworthy aspect of the Bible's teaching on wine consumption. The caution against wine in scriptures is not an absolute injunction; it is a caution against the uncontrolled, excess use that can lead to debauchery and indiscretion. 

Yet we must also reconcile this with verses where complete abstention from wine might be advised. Consider Proverbs 31:4, "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink". These words were aimed at ensuring that leaders maintain sound judgement to carry out justice, indicating that in certain circumstances, even moderate drinking might compromise one's responsibilities. 


  • The Bible does not ban wine consumption outright, but rather warns against its excessive misuse.
  • Ephesians 5:18 advises believers not to get drunk with wine, implying excessiveness is the real issue.
  • Yet, Paul also tells Timothy to use a little wine for his frequent ailments, showing an approval of moderate use (1 Timothy 5:23).
  • However, Proverbs 31:4 advises certain leaders like kings and princes against drinking wine at all, showing that even moderate use can be inappropriate in certain circumstances.

Does the Bible mention the health benefits or risks of wine?

As we delve more profoundly into our exploration of how wine is perceived in the Bible, we find that there are references relating to its health implications. The Bible offers balanced guidance, showing both the potential benefits and the potential dangers of wine consumption. Discerning how the scriptures educate readers about these effects demands a perceptive interpretation of the text itself. 

We note instances in scripture where wine is suggested as a health remedy. The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23), specifically instructs Timothy, "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent ailments". This suggests a possible recognition of the health benefits of moderate wine consumption, even in ancient times. This argument is further confirmed through meticulous scholarly examination, such as Kenneth Gentry Jr.'s paper 'The Bible and the Question of Alcoholic Beverages'. 

However, it is of paramount importance to point out that the Bible also warns about the potential risks of excessive wine consumption. This dual perspective serves to encourage responsible behavior. Paul, in another of his epistles, Ephesians (5:18), clearly advises against debauchery and states: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery". This caution underscores our understanding of the biblical perspective on the dangerous side-effects of overindulgence in wine. This wisdom is equally relevant today, given the universal health risks associated with alcohol abuse.

Through our reflection on how the Bible mentions the health benefits or risks of wine, we understand that the Bible encourages moderation and wisdom in dealing with wine, highlighting both its positive and negative potentialities. 


  • The Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 5:23 suggests using a little wine for stomach ailments, indicating recognition of potential health benefits.
  • Ephesians 5:18 contains a warning against excessive wine consumption, emphasizing the potential negative health impacts of alcohol abuse.
  • The biblical references to both the health benefits and risks of wine serve to encourage balance, moderation, and wisdom in its consumption.

Did Jesus drink wine according to the Bible?

Indeed, our biblical texts bear witness that Jesus, a historical figure who also serves as a spiritual guide for many on Earth, partook in the drinking of wine. In fact, the Gospel of Luke recounts, "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'" (Luke 7:33–34). In this passage, critics of Jesus accuse him of being a drunkard, a claim they would not likely conjure from thin air.

Importantly, Jesus did not merely consume wine, but he also selected it to embody an integral component of his spiritual message. The symbol of wine, representing his blood, became a significant element in Christian communion, reminding followers of his sacrifice. This transformation from wine to blood is eloquently illustrated in Luke 22:17–20 and Matthew 26:27–29. Indeed, there is a caveat — when offered “wine mixed with myrrh” while on the cross, Jesus consciously refused it (Matthew 27:34, Mark 15:23). Yet, this refusal is generally interpreted to showcase his bravery to endure suffering rather than denouncing the consumption of wine. 


  • The Bible provides evidence that Jesus partake in the consumption of wine (Luke 7:33–34).
  • Wine, representing his blood, was selected by Jesus as a central symbol in the Christian sacrament of communion (Luke 22:17–20, Matthew 26:27–29).
  • Though Jesus refused wine mixed with myrrh during his crucifixion, this is widely interpreted as a display of his willingness to endure suffering than a disapproval of wine (Matthew 27:34, Mark 15:23).
  • Jesus' interaction with wine adhered to a policy of moderation, respecting the traditions of his era.

What is the first mention of wine in the Bible?

The first reference to wine in the Bible occurs in the account of Noah in Genesis 9:20-21. After the Flood subsided, it is written that Noah, recognized as the first tiller of the soil, planted a vineyard. From the fruits of this vineyard, he made wine, an act that marked the origin of winemaking in the holy scripture. Nevertheless, the story that follows presents a cautionary tale. Noah became intoxicated and was found in an unclothed state by his sons, leading to familial conflict and a curse. 

This initial mention of wine, therefore, introduces two main themes related to its use throughout the Bible. On one hand, we see the beneficial aspect - wine as a product of human industry and a symbol of God's providence. On the other hand, the story foretells the potential danger of wine, an issue that recurs in numerous subsequent passages. The misuse of wine, as demonstrated by Noah, underscores the potential pitfalls of overindulgence and the degradation that can ensue. 

As our journey through the biblical history of wine begins with Noah, we must bear in mind both aspects - the blessing and the curse. The cautionary tale offers us vital foresight: while wine can be an emblem of joy and prosperity, its consumption must be tempered with wisdom and restraint. 


  • The first mention of wine in the Bible is in Genesis 9:20-21, in the story of Noah, who is recognized as the first person to make wine from his vineyard.
  • The initial narrative establishes the dual nature of wine - it can be a symbol of prosperity and joy but also a source of degradation if misused.
  • Noah's tale serves as a cautionary narrative regarding the dangers of overindulgence in wine.

Does the Bible mention wine in relation to wisdom or folly?

The Bible indeed speaks of wine in the context of both wisdom and folly. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the enjoyment of wine is associated with wisdom as a part of the divine gift of joy in one's labor. The Scripture counsels, "Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already accepted your works" (Ecclesiastes 9:7). This passage reflects the biblical view that consuming food and wine can be a celebration of the fruits of one's hard work, which is consistent with God's blessings.

However, wine is also associated with folly, especially when consumed in excess. As the aromatic wine invades the senses, so does wisdom permeate the life of the prudent. Proverbs 9:1-6 portrays wisdom as a lady who has mixed her wine and invites the naive to partake of it, along with bread, symbolizing nourishment for the soul and enlightenment for the mind. 

Conversely, when wine is ingested in excess, it distorts the mind's ability to think clearly and make wise decisions—a certain path to folly. Proverbs 20:1 starkly warns, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." This exemplifies that the misuse of wine leads to foolish actions, evoking the imagery of disgrace and conflict. 

Importantly, the Bible advocates moderation. 1 Timothy 5:23 offers practical advice for medicinal use: "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."

Wine's representation in the Bible, therefore, is twofold—in wisdom, it is a symbol of insight and understanding, a reward of temperance and foresight; in folly, it is a narrative of intoxication, regrettable actions, and disjointedness. The scripture cautions us to ensure our usage of wine aligns with wisdom, not foolishness. 


  • The Bible frequently uses wine to illustrate principles of wisdom and folly.
  • Proverbs 9:1-6 portrays wisdom as a lady who has mixed her wine, symbolizing spiritual nourishment and enlightenment.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol is warned against in Proverbs 20:1, where it is portrayed as leading to mocking, brawling, and unwise behavior.
  • Therefore, wine in the Bible carries a dual representation; in wisdom, it is a reward of insight and temperance, in folly, a tale of intoxication, regret, and chaos.

Is Wine today Different than in Bible Times?

The term 'wine' in biblical times was an overarching term employed to describe the juice of the grape, irrespective of its state. The state could range from freshly squeezed, unfermented juice, commonly named as 'new wine,' to the completely fermented, properly aged, alcoholic beverage that would be similar to the modern 'table wine.' 

In ancient times, wine was a naturally grown and produced product, with lower levels of alcohol and sugars, free from the modern additives we find in today's varieties. It served not just as a beverage, but also for ceremonial purposes and as a symbol of joy and celebration.

Notably, ancient wine was often diluted with water, with some accounts suggesting ratios that could be as high as 20 parts water to 1 part wine. This practice contrasts sharply with modern preferences for undiluted, stronger wines. To bridge the historical gap, wineries in Israel and Palestine are now exploring the use of ancient grape varieties and vinification techniques to recreate wines that align more closely with those of biblical times.

The Biblical distinction between old and new wine indicates that old wine was fermented and contained alcohol, while new wine, often equated with non-alcoholic grape juice, represented the Holy Spirit's freshness and purity. Hebrew scriptures reference wine using three distinct terms: YAYIN for fermented and intoxicating wine, TIROSH for fresh or unfermented grape juice, and SHAKAR for potent, strong drink, reflecting the spectrum of alcoholic beverages available during that era.

With this understanding, we can affirm that 'wine' in the bible, while occasionally referring to an intoxicating beverage, often did not carry the same alcoholic weight as our contemporary understanding of the term. This distinction paints a richer, more contextualized picture of the role and significance of wine in Biblical times, influencing, among other things, our interpretation of the Scriptures and their stance on the consumption of wine. 


  • The biblical term 'wine' is a general term used to describe grape juice, regardless of its state, varying from unfermented 'new wine' to fully fermented and aged wine.
  • The fermentation level of biblical wine was likely significantly lower than modern wine due to the preservation and storage methods available in ancient times.
  • The wine used in religious contexts in the Bible, such as the Passover or The Lord's Supper, was often less intoxicating than modern wine.
  • The practices of winemaking in antiquity, including diluting wine with water as stated in Isaiah 1:22, resulted in wine with relatively lower alcohol content.

Facts & stats

Wine is mentioned approximately 231 times in the King James Version of the Bible

In the New International Version, wine is mentioned 214 times

The New American Standard Bible mentions wine 233 times

In the book of Proverbs, wine is mentioned 31 times

The book of Isaiah mentions wine 27 times

In Ephesians 5:18, the Bible advises not to get drunk on wine

In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul advises Timothy to use a little wine for the sake of his stomach

The Bible does not prohibit drinking wine, but it warns against excessive drinking.

Frequently asked questions

Leave a comment
Christian Pure Team
Written By:
Christian Pure Team
Find Out More
Christian Pure Merch

Explore our Products

Handcrafted christian products to bless your home.

Back to top

Related Articles

Instagram @type_writer

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.