In cana wedding, Jesus produces 400 liters of "Oinos". Christians have been interpreting and translating this to mean wine. It can also mean beer. Some christians interpret this to mean "Grape juice". I wonder if grape juice is a popular drink on party at that time or not. Can people provide some historical context?

The previous question ask whether Jesus produce alcoholic beverage. This question ask whether Jesus gets everyone drunk. To me the answer is obvious. If he produced large amount of alcoholic beverage and expect everyone to drink, obviously he got every body drunk. Yet, almost no christian think that way. Hence, the question. Even obvious conclusion is questionable if the conclusion is too politically incorrect or unusual. Don't you think?

Basically there are 2 major christian opinion.

  1. Jesus could not possibly produce alcoholic wine. If he has he would have made everyone drunk. They think oinios miraculously mean grape juice. Christian teetotalers believe that.
  2. Jesus did produce alcoholic wine. However, somehow he miraculously make every single one in the party to remain sober because getting drunk and drinking a lot of alcohol is sin. (Mike answer seems to suggest that).
  3. This one is not major. Combining the sober versions of both theory is of course, Jesus did produce alcoholic beverage like Mike said (#2), and by opinions of Christian teetotalers (#1), he must have made most people there drunk. I mean the only miracle mentioned in the bible is Jesus mass producing wine. If he miraculously make everybody drank in moderation, it would have been mentioned too as miracle right? While it may be true and out of character, as christians #1 themselves said, it's a pretty bizarre conclusion. Hence, it's very questionable.

This is what teetotalers said:

Many teetotalers agree that if oinos there means alcoholic wine, then the conclusion I made is actually pretty obvious.

What about Jesus turning water to wine? Many are mistaken to think that Jesus turned water into intoxicating wine at the wedding in Cana, which is a small town in Galilee (John 2). One would have to assume this “wine”, oinos, was alcoholic since oinos generally means grape juice and refers to alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine. Consider the whole wedding and assume that Jesus made fermented wine. The Scripture infers that the wedding guests “have well drunk” a large amount of supposedly intoxicating wine, and then Jesus would have made better and more intoxicating wine amounting to between 120 to 180 gallons of “the good wine”. If there were 300 people there to drink an additional 150 gallons, these would have already each had much alcoholic wine considering that “the guests have well drunk”, then Jesus would have substantially increased the amount of wine to what they had already “well drunk”. That would mean that each guest had an additional 64 ounces of alcoholic wine. Supposing that Jesus purposely made fermented wine, then the alcoholic level would have intentionally consisted of 10% alcohol, which is as close as to the alcoholic content of today’s wine as was possible at that time. The average person would have drunk an additional 4-6 drinks of alcoholic wine. This wedding party of 300 would have been poisoned from the toxin of ethyl alcohol, and the guests would had been vomiting and passing out. Then, let us consider a wedding party of 1,000 guests. If 1,000 people partook of 150 gallons of fermented wine that Jesus supposedly made, then the average amount of wine consumed by each person would have been 19.2 ounces of wine in addition to having well drunk. Presuming that this wine contained 10% alcohol, Jesus would have aided 1,000 people in binge drinking having intoxicated the guests with 3 additional drinks after already “have well drunk”. http://godsbreath.net/2011/05/20/did-jesus-drink-wine/

This is what proponent of moderate drinking said:

There is only one group of people who are explicitly told in the Bible to never drink wine/alcohol, and that is the Nazirites (Numbers 6:1–4). Jesus was not a Nazirite; He was a “Nazarene,” a native of the town of Nazareth (Luke 18:37). Jesus never took the Nazirite vow. Christ’s first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana almost certainly involved a fermented beverage. According to Jewish wedding tradition, fermented wine was always served at weddings; if Jesus had provided only grape juice, the master of the feast would have complained. Instead, he said the wine was better than what was previously served; it was apparently a “fine” wine (John 2:10–11). The Greek word for “drunk” in John 2:10 is methuo, which means “to be drunken” or intoxicated. It is the same word used in Acts 2:15 where Peter is defending the apostles against accusations of drunkenness. The testimony of the master of the feast is that the wine Christ produced was able to intoxicate. http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-drink-wine.html#ixzz2zHwpq5gk

Either the teetotalers are right and Jesus produces grape juices (unlikely) or teetotalers are even wrong because Jesus help drunk people even get more drunk. A moderate theory that Jesus produces alcohol but do not help people to get even more drunk at all is even less likely. There is no controversy that the party goers drank a lot of oinos followed by Jesus producing copious amount.

So, I am just trying to make sure here. Is the bizarre conclusion, namely that Jesus get many people drunk, true? If so, why this is not what majority of christians believe based on christians explanation about this in various web.

  • downvote? Why? Is there any possible interpretation that this is not the case?
    – user4951
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 7:37
  • I don't know what the purpose is of asking this question-you asked a simular one which was answered. Is there a stated purpose, or are you being contentious?
    – Tau
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 7:37
  • The first question ask the meaning of a particular verse. This question ask the obvious implication of the answer in the first question. There is huge controversy here.
    – user4951
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 7:38
  • Why is there an implication of drunkeness? If your point is to prove Jesus 'contributed' to the delinquency of others by performing a miracle, that borders on blasphemy.
    – Tau
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 7:43
  • Everyone drinks wine. Then Jesus produces even more wine. And they're not drunk? Also since when getting drunk is a sin? It doesn't violate any Torah' rules.
    – user4951
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


The story of turning real water into real wine (most scholars would argue that the wine was real) presumes the moderation of the wedding guests.

There is no more reason to think that the guests were drunk then there is reason to think that Jesus feed 5000 gluttons a huge amount of fish and bread. On one hand the story clearly suggests that the guests at a respectable Jewish wedding were a little 'tipsy' for after drinking good wine first, your senses would not be perfectly sound to judge the quality of wine being served afterwards. This is why wine tasters spit out the wine.

What is not reasonable is to assume we know the alcohol content of wine at the time of Christ. Wine today is much stronger then it used to be. Also wine was commonly mixed with water. This was even the practice of the paschal supper back then, mixing the red wine with warm water that is.

Possibly this fact of mixing wine with water will make it clearer that moderation is assumed in the story as well as calling for moderation in a realistic exegisis:

Ample evidence is available to demonstrate that wine, though always fermented, was usually mixed with water in the classical and Hellenistic world. The wine was stored in large jugs called amphorae, from which the wine was poured through a strainer into a large mixing bowl call a krater. In the krater the wine was mixed with water. Then the drinking bowls or cups were filled. The amount of wine per volume varied. The mixture that represented the greatest amount of water to wine was 20 to 1, apparently because the wine was so strong (Homer, Odyssey 10. 208f). Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, p2147)

  • calling wine 'real' makes it sound like you term non-alcoholic wine 'unreal' and 'not wine'. I did a study on this and discovered that contrary to pop. opinion, the most common 'wine' oinos used in Jesus' time was non-alcoholic, this was because it was stable, whereas alcoholic wine often turned sour(vinegar given to Jesus on cross which he refused) and they had little ability to keep it from doing so. They had methods of preserving the grapes themselves, which they brought out and squeezed into cups,
    – Hello
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 6:42
  • contd and they had another method of making world class grape juice that was an excellent and widely used drink amoung all the people. Most think that alcoholic wine was the most commonly used because of the hot climate and making it fermented, however, this wasn't the case. There is much support for non fermented oinos in all the studies.
    – Hello
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 6:43
  • @Hello In Mark 2:22/Matthew 9:17 Jesus presupposes the assumed meaning of oinos / wine was just normal fermented wine.. hence the need for new wineskins for new wine, since they'd be too weak, and would burst with the fermentation process. Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 16:44

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