Please note that throughout this document, “Heb.” indicates a Hebrew word and/or a definition for a Hebrew word. Hebrew is the original language of the Bible’s Old Testament. Likewise, “Gk.” indicates a Greek word and/or a definition for a Greek word. Greek is the original language of the Bible’s New Testament. Also, all Scripture quoted in this study is from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.
Wine and Strong Drink Definitions
In this paper, you will find numbers after the words “wine” or “strong drink,” etc., that indicate the applicable definition found below.
Old Testament “Wine”
1660 (gat[h]) (1X) (Nehemiah 13:15 1st usage, refers to “wine presses”)
2531 (hemed) (1X) (Isaiah 27:2) = desire, delight, pleasant
2562 ([c]hamar = Aramaic) (6X) (4X in Daniel 5) = wine (note used by Persian kings & Babylonians)
3196 (yayin) (138X) = grape juice OR fermented wine
3342 (yeqeb) (1X) (Deuteronomy 16:13) = winepress or vat
4469 (mamcak/mimsak) (1X) (Proverbs 23:30 2nd usage “mixed wine”) = wine mixed with something else: water, milk, spices, etc.
5435 (c[s]obe’) (1X) (Isaiah 1:22) = drink, liquor, wine
6025 (‘enab) (1X) (Hosea 3:1) = grape, raisin
6071 (‘ac[s]iyc[s]) (4X) (2X sweet wine, 2X new wine) = grape juice, new wine
7941 strong wine (shekar) (1X) (Numbers 28:7) = strong drink, beer, intoxicating beverage
8492 (ti[y]ro[w]sh) (38X) = new or fresh wine (grape juice), newly pressed; rarely means alcoholic beverage (indicated by context)
Old Testament “Strong Drink”
7941 (shekar) (21X) = strong drink, beer, intoxicating beverage
—Note: In all 21 times, the given sentence also includes wine: 3196.
New Testament “Wine”
1098 (gleucos) (1X) (Acts 2:13) = sweet or new wine, yet can also mean intoxicating wine
3631 (oinos) (32X) = appears to mean either grape juice (as in new wine) which may or may not be just beginning to ferment, or fully fermented grape juice.
3632 (oinophlugia) (1X) (1 Peter 4:3) = overflow of wine (3631), drunkeness
3943 (paroinos) (2X) = near or given to wine (3931), drunken
New Testament “Strong Drink”
4608 (sikera) (1X) (Luke 1:15) = intoxicating liquor, strong drink
—Note: In this case, the given sentence also includes wine: 3631
Genesis 19:30-36: “And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine (3196), and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33 And they made their father drink wine (3196) that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine (3196) this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35 And they made their father drink wine (3196) that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.”
—Lot’s daughters led their father to get drunk with wine. The daughters then each took advantage of their father and became pregnant by him. Thus, wine was used to support incest-driven pregnancies (immoral and improper activity and behavior).
Proverbs 20:1: “Wine (3196) is a mocker, strong drink (7941) is raging [Heb. “hemmah” = howl, roar, growl]: and whosoever is deceived [Heb. “shagah” = go astray, err, make a mistake] thereby is not wise.”
—Don’t go astray by consuming wine and strong drink.
Proverbs 23:30-33: “They that tarry long at the wine (3196); they that go to seek mixed wine (4469). 31 Look not thou upon the wine (3196) when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright [Heb. “meyshar” = evenness, smooth].
32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse [Heb. “tahpukah” = fraud, perverse] things.”
—Extensive use of wine leads to suffering and evil outcomes.
1 Peter 4:1-3: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness [Gk. “aselgeia” = licentiousness, lack of restraint, debauchery], lusts, excess of wine (3632, connected to 3631), revellings [Gk. “komos” = unrestrained indulgence, riotous conduct] banquetings [Gk. “potos” = drunkenness, debauchery], and abominable idolatries:”
—Before a person is converted, he or she might well have walked in lust and consumed much wine, etc.
Deuteronomy 29:1-6: “These are the words of the covenant, which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. 2 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4 Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine (3196) or strong drink (7941): that ye might know that I am the Lord your God.”
—During the 40 years the Israelites raveled through the wilderness, they had no wine or strong drink. The absence of wine and strong drink intake is here linked to knowing God better.
Esther 1:5, 9-12: “And when these days were expired, the king [Ahasuerus] made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace;…9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus. 10 In the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry [Heb. “towb” = good, well-pleasing] with wine (3196), he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, 11 To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. 12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.”
—When King Ahasuerus was full of wine, he commanded his beautiful Queen Vashti to come before the people, who were likely also drunk. Vashti refused to comply as she probably had no desire to parade as a spectacle before the drunken throng.
1 Samuel 1:12-15: “And it came to pass, as she [Hannah] continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked [Heb. “shamar” = watch, observe] her mouth. 13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. 14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. 15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine (3196) nor strong drink (7941), but have poured out my soul before the Lord.”
—Eli mistakenly thought Hannah was drunk with wine because of Hannah’s seemingly “irrational” behavior. (Use of wine and strong drink is here linked to seemingly foolish conduct.)
Exodus 29:38-41: “Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39 The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: 40 And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine (3196) for a drink offering. 41 And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord.”
—Wine was used as part of the ancient sacrificial system.
1 Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine (3631) for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”
—This verse may be saying that in ancient times, wine was infrequently used as a medicine.
Ecclesiastes 9:7: “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine (3196) with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.”
—Drink wine (grape juice?) with a happy heart.
1 Chronicles 12:38-40: “All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king. 39 And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them. 40 Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine (3196), and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.”
—Use of wine was part of the celebration when David was made king of Israel.
Judges 13:1-5: “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 3 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine (3196) nor strong drink (7941), and eat not any unclean thing: 5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
—The woman who bore Samson was NOT to drink wine or strong drink, or eat unclean food in preparation for birthing Samson. (Look up verse 24: the son’s name was Samson.) This is good advice for expecting mothers today.
Luke 1:5-17: “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course [Gk. “ephemaria” = a group (of priests) who, on a rotation basis, served in the Lord’s house] of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken [Gk. “probaino” = advanced] in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 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. 16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
—John (the Baptist) was not to drink wine or strong drink for he would do great works for God, including reconciling fathers to their children, and assisting people to be ready to meet their Lord.
Numbers 6:1-4, 19-20: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: 3 He shall separate himself from wine (3196) and strong drink (7941), and shall drink no vinegar of wine (3196), or vinegar of strong drink (7941), neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. 4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk….19 and the priest shall take the sodden [Heb. “bashel” = boiled, cooked] shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven: 20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave [Heb. “terumah” = an offering (lifted up)] shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine (3196).”
—Those who took the vow of a Nazarite were to separate themselves from wine and strong drink. But they could drink wine once the vow was ended.
1 Timothy 3:1-3: “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop [Gk. “episcope” = overseer, watching over], he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober [Gk. “sophron” = self-control, sane, sensible], of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine (3943, connected to 3931)), no striker [Gk. “plektes” = quarrelsome, bully] not greedy of filthy lucre [Gk. “aischrokerdes” = indecent or dishonorable gain, greedy]; but patient, not a brawler [Gk. “amachos” = non-combatant, not quarrelsome], not covetous;”
—Christian leaders should not be drunkards.
Proverb 31:4-5: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine (3196); nor for princes strong drink (7941): 5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.”
—Drinking wine and strong drink leads to law breaking and faulty judgment.
Leviticus 10:8-10: “And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 Do not drink wine (3196) nor strong drink (7941), thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;”
—Aaron, the priest, and his sons were not to drink wine or strong drink when they served as priests in the tabernacle. If they disobeyed, their perception of what was holy versus unholy would be compromised.
Revelation 1:5-6: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
—Review again the immediate two previous passages that collectively indicate that kings and princes, along with priests when they perform their duties, should not consume wine or strong drink. Verse six above states that God’s people have become, spiritually speaking, “kings and priests.” So, we too should avoid intake of wine and strong drink.
Some issues related to alcohol beverage intake in the Bible may prove somewhat uncertain since the main Hebrew word (3196-yayin) and the main Greek word (3631-oinos) translated “wine” can mean either fresh grape juice or fermented grape juice (intoxicating). But the Bible is relatively clear on several alcohol-related points:
- Strong drink (high alcohol beverages) intake is always condemned.
- People who had special roles in God’s service (Samson, John the Baptist, Nazarites) were not to drink alcoholic beverages.
- Alcoholic wine and strong drink are prohibited for those entrusted with making high-level decisions and judgments, or those in spiritual leadership positions, such as kings and priests. These beverages cloud reason and discernment.
- All people are warned that consumption of wine and strong drink can easily lead individuals to make mistakes and experience suffering.
Please feel free to direct comments and questions regarding this study to Andrew Manthe by email at email@example.com.