Did Jesus Make Wine or Grape Juice?

Our church is very strong against drinking in any form, and I don’t drink— mostly because of what I have seen when alcohol destroyed several members of my family and a marriage. But I also concur with my church’s stand. Our preacher recently preached on the passage in John 2:1-12 where Jesus performed His first miracle at Cana—turning water into wine. He stated that Jesus actually turned the water into grape juice. My pastor uses the New King James Version, and the word “wine” is used in this passage. I’m con­fused; what is the real truth here?


Thanks for the question; it’s a “horse” that has been ridden many times. This miracle was never meant to emphasize the water into wine, but to demonstrate the awe­some power and deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you read through the Gospel of John, all of the miracles focus attention on Christ’s deity.

As Christians, we should all be most concerned about the abuse of alcohol. There are very few families that have not been torn apart by alcohol. Working now in a trauma one emergency department, I have seen first hand the results of alcohol abuse—often causing serious physical disabilities and even death. Alcoholism is a serious problem that must be addressed!

Now, did Jesus turn water into wine or grape juice? According to the Greek text, the word used here is oinos, a wine derived from grapes; there is no evidence that wine is to be translated “grape juice.”

If you go back into the Old Testament, you find that wine was a symbol of joy and bless­ing. Psalm 104:15: “And wine which makes the heart glad, so that he may make his face glisten with oil, and food which sustains a man’s heart.” Wine was used as a part of the offering to God (Exodus 29:40). We also know that wine was drunk at feasts, look at 1 Samuel 25:18. Paul recommended to Timothy that a little wine was good for the stomach and your frequent ailments (1 Timothy 5: 23). Notice that Paul uses the word “little” here.

Now, before I get mobbed, there are certainly many passages that speak out against drinking wine. Lot’s children used wine to get their father drunk in order to “preserve our family through our father” (Gen. 19:32f.). The Lord told Aaron (Lev. 10: 9), “Do not drink wine or strong drink… when you come into the tent of meeting.” There are numerous pas­sages in Proverbs: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise” (20:1); “Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine or with gluttonous eaters of meat” (23:20). These are but a mere sample of the many scriptures dealing with wine. Find a good concordance for further research.

In the New Testament, we read that John the Baptist would “drink no wine or liquor” (Luke 1:15). In Ephesians 5:18, Paul tells us “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipa­tion, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” In 1 Timothy 3:3, Paul writes of the qualifications of overseers and deacons; they are “not to be addicted to wine,” and in verse 8: “Deacons… not addicted to much wine.”

What is the bottom line here? I think the key here is an understanding that the miracle at Cana is not an endorsement of the use of alcohol. Both the Old and New Testaments will decry the abuse of alcohol in any form and drunkenness. Drunkenness is not the charac­teristic of a Christian testimony (1 Peter 4:4). The operative word here is “abuse.” You can abuse your body by overeating, not enough rest, the proper foods, etc., as well as alcohol.

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19, that our “bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit….” And in verse 20 “… we are to “glorify God in your body.” Finally, in 1 Corinthians 10: 31, Paul writes, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” In our life and testimony, our goal is to always glorify God. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”

This article was written for The John Ankerberg Show by Rev. Sam Harris, ©2003.


  1. Prince on July 15, 2016 at 9:41 pm


    Those who are mislead into thinking that Jesus advocated drinking Wine need to re-read the Bible! A man who taught to wish for others what we wish for ourselves could never have wished us to drink alcohol while he himself abstained from it! The sufferings of men due to alcoholism, the billion dollars of medical budget deficits due to soaring drinking problems, its associated crimes and domestic violence can never be attributed to the miracle of Christ turning Water into an alleged alcoholic component. This is what I think he actually did…


  2. Andreas on March 9, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Also I think you should take a look how much Jesus produced, it was enough to last an entire month. Drinking alcohol regularly in moderation puts you at risk of developing cancer, the body builds up a tolerance towards it.

    • Ann on March 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm

      Not agreeing or disagreeing but the foods water and plants air etc… was safer to eat and drink fresh air was really fresh air no pollution or chemicals in food that era was very different then today it can not be compared because everything back then was more organic and unadulterated.

      • life on June 20, 2019 at 10:53 pm

        yes very true

    • Tinu Patel on November 13, 2022 at 9:57 am

      It was for a party not for a single person to last fie a month.

    • Swaroop Tagore on April 4, 2024 at 11:33 am

      Reading the article I understand it is wine and not grape juice. Jesus himself has endorsed the use of wine for a celebration without anyone crossing the limits.I infer that it’s nothing wrong to serve a drink and enjoy it too without crossing the limits ie self control.

  3. Gary Carver on May 1, 2017 at 10:12 am

    The Bible mentions wine and “new wine”. In Matthew 9:17 we find;
    Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. – Since it is assumed that Jesus drank wine, I find it very hard to fathom Jesus Christ took alcohol of any amount into his perfect body, and therefore the wine ingested by Him would have been “new wine”.

    • Surprise Jesus on July 23, 2017 at 7:01 am

      You don’t read your scriptures sir! Perfect body. Jesus himself tells you he isn’t not Good and only God is good. Also. Very clearly it states that Jesus was actually considered a drunk.
      The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.

      ‬“For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
      ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:30-33‬ ‭KJV

    • Hannah on October 13, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      I have left a link the section listed September 24, 2017 (Sunday morning) contains a great sermon related to this topic. If you click on my name it will take you to the link

    • Chantelle on February 12, 2023 at 6:26 am

      The miracle of water to wine by Jesus is to show holiness. The miracle of God.
      People are so set on permission to drink and that’s why they focus on it. Because they want a reason to drink. Most people don’t drink in moderation. We all know morally it’s not good for us in any way shape or form. Jesus drank new wine.

      • Jose Rodriguez on September 18, 2023 at 11:16 pm

        Study the scripture get clarity of the word, Revaluation
        The deepness Of the word , So you have The Father the Son , and the Holy Ghost of God
        In one, God is the Holy ghost
        Jesus is the sacrifice of the lamb who died for our sin , And the Holy Ghost brings memories of the word that Jesus teaches us , Jesus said it is better that I leave so that the comforter will come and bring memories of my teachings of what I though yous , So this is your answer Jesus is God he Humble him self to his Father which is him three in one ,Jesus is the Vinyard, God is the Gardner , And if you remain in the vine you remain in me I will remain in you and you will bear fruits ,But if you do not the branche fall’s to the ground it gets tossed to the pile

  4. Karen Walters on May 20, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Did you forget to mention that oinos can and does refer to either unfermented or fermented wine in the Septuagint.?

    • Clarence Appleton on November 3, 2022 at 9:18 am

      The Bible does not forbid the use of alcohol, but it does forbid drunkenness. Drunkenness falls into the same category as gluttony. When referring to gluttony is the Bible forbidding enjoying food or feasting? No, that would ridiculous! So, the scripture is no forbidding the use of wine. Many people project their own weaknesses onto everyone else. If a person cannot use alcohol without abusing he himself should abstain from it while not condemning those who can use alcohol in moderation. ” Be not DRUNK with wine wherein is EXCESS, but be filled with the Spirit!

  5. Karen Walters on May 20, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Does it makes sense that Jesus would celebrate the beginning of a couples marriage by making 120-180 gallons of wine for the guests? Would he not be violating his own admonitions on drinking? I doesn’t make sense.

    • Hannah on October 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      I have left a link the section listed September 24, 2017 (Sunday morning) contains a great sermon related to this topic. If you click on my name it will take you to the link

    • charlie on May 8, 2019 at 10:15 am

      When did Jesus say you should not drink? I consider the worst thing in the world but don’t want to go beyond God’s word.

  6. Surprise Jesus on July 23, 2017 at 7:31 am

    There’s 2-3 FIRKINS of majik Mushrooms in the containers before they poured the water remember. They were ritual purification pots that the Jews used…
    That was the Manna from God he fed them to purify their hearts and prove that they will follow him. ALSO REMEMBER the host of the wedding didn’t know what it was….. but it say she the desciples knew what it was…. how can you not recognize wine unless it wasn’t wine at all…. ? Only read KJV. NIV Lies

  7. Surprise Jesus on July 23, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers for ye have taken away the KEY OF KNOWLEDGE:
    ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

    ………..The KEY is Cannabis The KNOWLEDGE is that which is gotten upon Entering into The Kingdom Of Heaven and Seeing God, getting proof absolute that he is Real and Living and oh So Full of Love…. You can’t describe the change in consciousness to someone because it’s a state of being, a different angle of view, the god head you receive is a complete mystery. Through Love your heart begins to understand a secret wisdom..

    ““But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither go in yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:13‬ ‭

    GO IN? Enter In? Go in where? No christian can answer this with the anti Christ teaching you’re used to….. the Devil will deceive the whole world. Already happened!

  8. Surprise Jesus on July 23, 2017 at 7:42 am

    “I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.”
    ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭34:29‬ ‭KJV‬‬.

    “The Lord said unto me, ‘I will take my rest and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs.’ ” — Isaiah 18:4-5

    Isaiah 30:29 |
    Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of

    Colossians 2:20-23
    Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: ………….“Do not handle! …………Do not taste! ……………Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to PERISH with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

  9. Surprise Jesus on July 23, 2017 at 7:49 am

    “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.
    For it is impossible for those who were once ENLIGHTENED , and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
    Then the Key to Enlightenment Scripture comes next
    For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meant for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
    ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:1-12‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    LOOK AT HOW THEY CHANGED IT in newer translation
    “For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.”
    ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬ FRAUD But still states that there is a CROP out there that gives blessing from God. The KJV answeres it. Wouldn’t you want this plant if you get a blessing from God?

    Jesus taught all about enlightenment, and the church steers you as far away from it as possible

    • Hannah on October 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      That seems quite a bit far fetched. Enlightenment comes through the Holy Spirit not some earthly substance. Metaphors are used often in the Bible one should be coustious to to interpret these metaphors as reality

  10. Hannah on October 13, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I have left a link the section listed September 24, 2017 (Sunday morning) contains a great sermon related to this topic

    • Hannah on October 13, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      You have to click on my name to follow the link. I have a summary of the sermon written but it kept telling me ther were spam words in my comment so you’ll just have to listen to it, I apologize

  11. Ross Little on February 5, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    If the “bottom line” is “abuse” and the wine at the wedding at Cana was intoxicating, then Jesus was pretty helpful in getting many people to abuse drinking wine. So the logic of this article is illogical. And no, I’m not going to listen to a sermon. Feel free to post a response in writing.

  12. Chelle on March 11, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks for telling the truth . Some folks still think the world is flat.

  13. Anthony on June 25, 2018 at 3:31 am
  14. Stuart Naccari on November 12, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Nice content.

  15. Rex Russell Ray on January 17, 2021 at 3:52 am

    I’ll drink wine when its made out of water. If Jesus made wine, he made enough for everyone to get drunk for days, and he would be violating Habakkuk 2:15: “What sorrow awaits you who make your neighbors drunk!…”

  16. Marshall Sauls on September 5, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    I have been taught since I was a youngster that in bible times “the water was too thin to plow and too thick to drink”, so they mostly drank “wine” instead which was basically grape juice.
    If this is so, then why did the pharisees accuse Jesus of being a glutton and a winebibber in Luke 7:33-34? If the wine was little more than grape juice, why would that be a thing to mock and accuse Christ of? Contrasting with John the Baptist and his disciples who didn’t?

    I believe this is largely a false issue and distracts from acknowledging that all are sinners and in need of our great Savior who promised that He would not drink the fruit of the vine until He drinks it with us anew in Heaven.
    “Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:25
    The bible doesn’t forbid drinking wine, it forbids excess. If you are prone to drunkenness and excess, don’t take the first drop. If you think a glass of wine with dinner or at bedtime is something you enjoy and actually is healthy, who am I to forbid or condemn anyone for that? Can that person have an occasional glass of wine and still be saved? Certainly.
    In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.

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