| Question: Does "wine" in the Bible mean "grape juice"?
Answer: Prohibitionists object saying, "But how do you know that the original Hebrew and Greek words mean fermented wine? Certain historians say the wine used was nothing more than molasses that this grape drink was nonintoxicating and the ordinary drink of people in Christs time."
Here is the truth about this false idea!
There are thirteen original Hebrew and Greek words for "wine" in our English Bible. How can we know which one means fermented wine? To find the answer, do not go to Aristotle or Pliny, but go to the Bible itself. By comparing its usage, the scriptural meaning of wine can be defined.
One of the original Hebrew words for wine is "yayin." This word is first used in Genesis 9:21 where Noah "drank of the wine and was drunken." This wine caused drunkenness! Was it just grape juice or was it molasses?
In Genesis 14:18 we read of Melchizedek Jesus Christ who "brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God." God Himself here gave wine to Abraham. And again, the original Hebrew word was "yayin" which always means fermented wine. This same Hebrew word is used in Amos 9:14 speaking of the coming Millennium where the people will "plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof." They will drink the same kind of wine that Noah drank and became drunk by overindulgence.
In the New Testament, one original Greek word for wine is oinos. Proof that it is alcoholic is given in the story of the good Samaritan. The Samaritan poured oil and wine on the mans wounds (Luke 10:34), showing that the wine had enough alcoholic content to be used as an antiseptic. Would you pour grape juice or molasses on a wound?
The Greek word oinos is also used in John 2 where Jesus turned water into wine by a divine miracle. It is used in 1 Timothy 5:23, the command of Paul, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomachs sake and thine often infirmities." This Greek word is also used in Ephesians 5:18, "And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess."
In ancient times it was impossible to preserve grape juice. Except for a short season the "fruit of the vine" was either made into a thick molasses or into wine. Check Hastings Bible Dictionary for the full proof.
Excellent word study.
I’m not going to dispute your assertion; what I will dispute is that the Lord’s Supper “require” wine.
I see no reason why brandy couldn’t be used - even for pre-schoolers who’ve accepted the doctringe of the Gospel - instead of grape-juice (except for the fallibleness of Man).
I’m not going to argue against whatever New Testament practices and according to New Testament beliefs by like-minded congregations of New Testament doctrines may exist.
I agree with your theological point, but your source makes some weird errors. Molasses has nothing whatsoever to do with wine, except that they can ferment also. Molasses is made from sugar beets or sugar cane, is far too sweet and thick to drink (thicker than honey, by far), and is the source for the alcohol in rum.
HOKAY nevermind, sorta: Apparently sometimes a thick, gooey product of figs, grapes, dates or carob is translated as “molasses.” I still can’t believe anyone insisting that ouinos would be translated as “molasses,” but then that’s your source’s point.
There are other words used ... For example ... Acts 2:13 uses γλευκους for "new wine" or "sweet wine" ... and 2:15 makes it clear it was not grape juice.
Jesus also used the phrase "fruit/produce of the vine" ... γεννηματος της αμπελου.
I suppose one could argue that there is nothing in the text of Jesus' statement in Matt 26 that demands fermentation; but Acts 2 seems clear.
Also, I recall notes from a lecture that mentioned the Jews DID have ways to prevent fermentation of grape juice.