All my life, I’ve heard from my Mormon Church leaders that Jesus turned water into grape juice, not wine. Was the wine referenced in the Bible alcoholic, or was it merely grape juice?
Greg, from Murray, Utah
The term ‘grape juice’ is to be found no where in the bible. However, there are more than thirteen different words in the Old and New Testaments that are translated into English as the word, ‘wine.’ We must understand that the Savior was not a “wine bibber.” Luke tells us concerning the Savior,
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15)
But at the Last Supper ‘wine’ was used as the emblem of the blood of the Savior, and He, along with the disciples, partook of it. Following that sacred experience the Savior commented,
Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mark 14:25)
Concerning the thirteen different Hebrew and Greek terms are rendered in our Bible by the word ‘wine’, Hoyt Brewster records,
“There is the pure grape juice, and a kind of grape syrup, the thickness of which made it necessary to mingle water with it previously to drinking (Prov. 9:2, 5). There was a wine made strong and inebriating by the addition of drugs, such as myrrh, mandragora, and opiates (Prov. 23:30; Isa. 5:22). Of the pure wine which was diluted with water, or milk, Wisdom invites her friends to drink freely (Prov. 9:2, 5). There was also ‘wine on the lees,’ which is supposed to have been ‘preserves’ or ‘jellies’ (Isa. 25:6). The ‘pure wine’ is not an intoxicating, but a harmless liquid.” (Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia)