This is an argument that I have always found to be lacking in evidence.
Numerous times I have been told by fellow Christians (often teetotalers) that the wine that Jesus used couldn't have been or wouldn't have been alcoholic. I have heard explanations that "new wine" refers to unfermented grape juice, or that Jews of Jesus's day used some kind of mixture made from dried-and-powdered grapes and water (so... grape Kool-Aid?), or that Jesus was a Nazarite and couldn't drink alcohol (but if that was the case, he couldn't have grape juice either). My favorite was a simple subjective "Well, he wouldn't have wanted people to get drunk, so when he turned water to wine of COURSE it meant grape juice!"
Better writers than I have written on the tendency to squeeze Jesus into fitting our categories
. I wonder if that's equally applicable here. I have nothing against teetotalers, and support many in their abstinence, especially if they're in recovery--however, I do not think we can make this case that biblical wine was grape juice.
Several Scriptures warn against the loss of control that comes with getting drunk, particularly when you're a leader (Proverbs 31:4, Ephesians 5:15, 1 Timothy 3:3). But I would argue that no Scripture, and especially no statement of Jesus, would indicate that drinking alcohol at all is across-the-board bad for everyone.¹ Some statements, quite the opposite (Matthew 11:19). Wine in the Bible is a symbol of joy, an sign of celebration.
And so, in honor of my first successful batch of homebrew being bottled (28 bottles of Orange-Clove Mead, 16% alcohol by volume), I'm opening this as a debate.
Convince me. Bring your Scripture, your historical primary sources, your deductive and inductive reasoning. Indicate to me why I should believe that when the Bible says "wine," it means anything other than the fermented product of grape.
¹ -- Except as a matter of individual conscience. See Romans 14:1-7, 1 Corinthians 8:7-13.What do you think? Did Jesus drink real wine or grape juice? Where in scripture or historical reference do you find evidence to base your decision on?