Tirosh and Gleukos

The Bible has a lot to say on the subject of “wine,” but unfortunately it does not specify what kind of ”wine” it is talking about. There are several words from different languages that get translated into the word ”wine.”  Yayin and tirosh from the Hebrew, oinos and gleukos from the Greek, and vinum from the Latin are all words that were translated into “wine” in the Bible. The word tirosh and gleukos refers to the grape itself, a newly finished product of grape such as grape juice, boiled grape juice (which is called must), or a cluster of grapes. The other three words have a dual meaning. They can refer to grape juice or to fermented grape juice whereas tirosh and gleukos never refer to an alcoholic substance. Even though by definition tirosh and gleukos cannot mean an alcoholic wine, we are going to look at some verses translated “wine” and prove that they cannot possibly be referring to an alcoholic beverage .


Since the word tirosh has no alcoholic meaning behind it, yet is translated “wine,” it should be pretty easy to see why the verses we are about to look at do not refer to alcoholic “wine.”

The first mention of tirosh is in Genesis 27:28. The verse is talking about Isaac’s blessing to Jacob and says, “Therefore may God give you … plenty of grain and wine.” The typical person who does not want to see that this is clearly grapes or grape juice would jump to the conclusion that God wants us to have plenty of food and alcohol. Besides, God wants us to be happy and alcohol makes me happy, right? If we look at the context of the verse Isaac is blessing Jacob with natural blessings such as grain, dew, and the fatness of the earth. Besides the fact that tirosh doesn’t refer to alcoholic beverages anyway, we can see that Isaac is blessing Jacob with the bounty of the earth which God provides; not something that is fermented and manmade.

Another great example of the word tirosh is found in Isaiah 65:8. It says, “Thus says the LORD: ‘As the new wine is found in the cluster … ‘” How can there be alcoholic “wine” in the cluster of a grape while still on the vine? Once again it is very evident that tirosh, though translated ”wine” does not refer to an alcoholic beverage.

One last look at the word tirosh is found in Deut. 11:13, 14 which talks about gathering ” … in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.” The verse is once again referring to natural God given blessings of rain, grain, oil and grape juice or grapes. It is important to note that grapes and grape juice were a very large part of the Old Testament economy. Wealth was determined by how well your crops and animals did each year. Certainly, it would be a great blessing of the Lord’s to be given plenty of rain which in turn bears grain, grapes, and oil.

Other verses that have the word tirosh in them are Deut. 33 :28; Hos. 2:8; Joel 1:10; 2: 18, 19, Jer. 31:10-12; Micah 6:15; Num. 18:12; and Psalm 4:7. It is important to note that tirosh is never given a negative connotation [as being fermented] or is frowned upon in scriptures. This shows God’s approval and blessing in grapes and grape juice.


Gleukos is the Greek equivalent to the word tirosh. Unfortunately, it is very rare to find the word gleukos in the New Testament. When the Old Testament was being translated into Greek (known as the Septuagint) they did not translate the Hebrew word tirosh into the equivalent word of gleukos. Instead they translated several uses of the word tirosh into oinos. This fact alone is evidence that you cannot believe the word “wine” in the Bible is always referring to an alcoholic beverage. You need to look at the context of the verse and apply common sense to determine the meaning of the word “wine.”

One example of the Hebrew word tirosh being translated into the Greek word oinos is in Proverbs 3:10 ” … And your vats will overflow with new wine.” The King James Version translates vats into presses. Clearly, we can see that tirosh was the correct word to be used for this verse, and should have been translated gleukos in the Septuagint, since it is referring to a freshly pressed grape.

Other verses that translate the Hebrew word tirosh into the Greek word oinos are Psalms 4:7; Is. 65:8; and Joel 1:10; 2:24.

As mentioned earlier, it is hard to find the Hebrew word tirosh translated into the Greek word gleukos, but it is even harder to find the Hebrew word yayin translated into the Greek word gleukos. One such rare occurrence is in Job 32:19 which reads, “Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; it is ready to burst like new wineskins.” The word gleukos is fittingly used here since it is referring to grape juice that has not yet fermented.

Our last look at the word gleukos comes from Acts 2:13, which reads from the NKN as “Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine. ‘” It is Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit had been poured out on Peter and other devout men from several places. They were all given a variation of the gift of tongues which allowed them to speak to several men all with different languages and they all heard each other in their own language. Some other men who were there began to mock the group that had received the Holy Spirit saying that they were filled with gleukos? We have previously established that gleukos is the equivalent to tirosh, both which mean grape juice. It is safe to assume that these devout men were well known, and not partakers of alcoholic beverages. The mocking men knew that these devout men did not drink alcoholic beverages, yet these devout men were acting strange to them. So what better sarcastic insult is there but that these devout men were drunk on grape juice? I suppose this argument may not be the best, but one thing is sure, the mocking men accused the devout men of being drunk on grape juice (gleukos).

By Jason Hamilton

The Need for the Study of Wine

          The purpose of this chapter is to discuss whether there is a need to study wine in the Bible.  Some people believe that Jesus turned water into wine; therefore, all wine is good and there is no need for a study.  Others say that they would never participate in wine of any sort, to be better safe than sorry, and so there is no need for study.  Others still, even in the Lord’s church, say that they would not participate in wine because they feel it is wrong, but would not condemn anyone for drinking since there is no real evidence for or against it.  So is there any real reason for studying wine or is one of the previous arguments sufficient?

          Let’s look at some scriptures to determine if the previous mindsets are acceptable.  1 Peter 2:2 talks about new Christians need the milk of the word (a.k.a. the first principles of Christianity).  Should we be content with the milk?  In 1 Corinthians 3:2 and Hebrew 5:12 we are led to believe that we are to all strive for the solid food of God’s word and not be content with the milk.  The previous mindsets come from people content on the understanding that they already have.  The previous mindsets have no desire to move forward in God’s word but are content with the milk.  Hebrew 5:13 says that if we are content with milk then we are unskilled, and a babe in Christ.  Is that what we want to be the rest of our life; an unskilled babe?

Many Christians today are of the third mindset.  They know what they believe but are not grounded enough in God’s word or are too afraid to tell anyone what they believe.  Others, avoid the topic altogether because it is “scary” and controversial.  Is this the mindset that a Christian should have?  In Jeremiah 17:8 and Psalms 1:3 it says blessed is a godly person for they will be like a tree planted by the waters.  It doesn’t matter what kind of trials come in life or how hard the Bible topics.  We should be firm in our beliefs and know our Bibles well enough to stand fast against whatever comes at us.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we should always be ready to give a defense of the hope that is within us.  How can we give a defense without study?

We have no excuse for not being ready.  2 Timothy 4:2 says that we are to be ready in and out of season to teach and convince.  How can we convince people to do right if we ourselves do not study enough to find out the truth about wine in the Bible?  If we are striving to grow and partake of the meat of God’s word then we are no longer a child as depicted in Ephesians 4:14.  We have no excuse for being swayed by the world to ignore what the Bible says about wine.

By Jason Hamilton

Introduction to the Study of Wine

          The warnings against the consumption of alcohol are found throughout the Bible.  A well known passage in Proverbs 23: 31- 32 states “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.” The command given here is not to desire any intoxicating drink!  It is an admonition to abstain altogether from the use of wine.  In order to avoid the harmful affects of alcohol Solomon tells those who wish to be wise (Prov. 20:1) to refrain from looking at it.  Looking at it is the first step toward drinking it.  This is not merely a prohibition of drunkenness, but an explicit admonition against even one drink of an alcoholic beverage.  It is not only the abuse of alcohol that Solomon warns us about, but the use of it that is condemned!  Wine itself is a mocker (Prov. 20:1), irrespective of the quantity consumed.

          The grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to live soberly!  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:11-14).   Christians are a people who deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.  The lust for an alcoholic drink is certainly the kind of thing that prevents sobriety.  God wants a pure and special people.  He doesn’t want the kind of people that are indicative of worldliness; like those who drink alcoholic beverages.

Habakkuk suggests that drinking alcohol reveals a character weakness (Hab. 2:5). Pride seems to be a drinker’s nemesis.  A humble person would be willing give up alcohol (Rom. 14:21).  Christians would not be insensitive to the conscience of others (1 Cor. 10:31-33).  Christians would not cater to their lusts (Rom. 13:13-14).  But the pride of a drinker won’t allow that to happen.  Hence, we have the need to discuss this topic in detail (Heb. 5:13-14).

In this study we will establish the sinful nature of alcoholic beverages regardless of the quantity a person may consumed.  We will prove that the notion of moderation in the consumption of alcohol is not justified in scriptures.  We will observe the abstinent conduct with regard to wine of many New Testament characters.  Simply put, we will learn that the New Testament does not condone, sanction, permit or in any way allow a person to drink alcoholic beverages.

By Steve Hamilton

What Distinguishes Us From Other Churches of Christ in the Black Hills?

Not all churches of Christ are the same.  Many churches of Christ do not strictly follow God’s word.

Some churches of Christ have been “leavened” by carnal members (1 Cor. 5:6-8).  A sure sign of this is a church that condones sin among its members (1 Tim. 5:22).  Such was the case in the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 5:1-5).  Rather than taking action to remove the sinful member, the church in their arrogance, ignored the wicked brother’s conduct.  The Apostle Paul sharply rebuked the Corinthians and insisted they withdraw their fellowship from that brother (1 Cor. 5:1-13).

Similarly, the drinking of alcoholic beverages among our members has caused division among churches of Christ in the Black Hills.  The drinking of alcohol is just as sinful as the condition of drunkenness (Lev. 10:8-11; Judg. 13:3-4; Prov. 20:1; 23:31-32; 31:4-5; 1 Thess. 5:6-8; 1 Tim. 3:2-3; Tit. 1:7; 2:7, 11-14; 1 Pet. 1:13-18; 4:3, 7; 5:8).  This truth eludes some Christians because they want to focus on passages that condemn the condition of drunkenness while ignoring passages that condemn its use.  They conclude that a moderate amount of alcohol is acceptable.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!

The Battle Creek church of Christ does not condone the drinking of alcoholic beverages!

The Bible teaches abstinence from alcohol.  Study material is available on this website and a personal bible study will be arranged for all who are interested.

By Steve A. Hamilton


Definitions of words change over time. For example, the word “gay” has always meant to be happy. However, its definition presently includes the relationship between homosexual people where half a century ago no such reference could be found in any dictionary. Ironically, according to the first edition of the Webster Dictionary that was published in 1828, the word “gay” use to be a term of derision for drunks. The third definition under the word “gay” in that publication reads, “Inflamed or merry with liquor; intoxicated; a vulgar use of the word in America.”[1]

Likewise, the definition of the word temperance has changed since the year 1611 when the King James Version of the Bible was first published. “Temperance” is defined as moderation but it used to include in its definition the idea of abstinence. “Philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1640) defines “temperance [as] the habit by which we abstain from all things that tend to our destruction; intemperance the contrary vice.’ ” [2]

In the first century, the Greek word “enkrateia” from which we get our English word “temperance” as translated in the King James Version meant abstinence as a form of self-control. Josephus wrote in The War of the Jews (2, 8, 2), “These Essences reject pleasures as an evil, but esteem continence [enkrateian], and the conquest over our passions, to be virtue.”[3]  Continence means the “total abstinence from sexual activity.”[4]  This is exactly how this word in its verb form is used in 1 Corinthians 7:9. It reads, “but if they cannot exercise self-control [enkrateuomai], let them marry” (NKJV). The idea of moderation for the exercise of self-control would certainly have been an inappropriate connotation for this verse. Obviously, the exercise of self-control in this passage is abstinence from fleshly desires.

Abstinence in the exercise of self-control should be the connotation that is carried with the Greek word “enkrateia” wherever it is found in the New Testament; not moderation. When the Apostle Paul reasoned with Felix over the exercise of self-control (“temperance”, KJV) in Acts 24:25, he was instructing Felix to control himself by abstaining from his fleshly desires. When the Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians how to obtain the imperishable crown as an athlete in 1 Corinthians 9:25, he was telling them to be abstinent (“temperate,” KJV) from all fleshly desires. The same could be said in all the other passages where this Greek word is found (Gal. 5:23; Tit. 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:6).

Jesus said the desire (lust) to commit adultery is to sin in one’s heart (Matt. 5:28). He said a very similar thing in regard to murder. The desire (anger) to murder is to sin before the act is committed (Matt. 5:21-22). Does it not follow that the desire (looking) to drink an alcoholic beverage is to sin before one ever gets drunk (Prov. 23:31-32)? Abstinence from all fleshly desires is commanded through the word “enkrateia” in the New Testament which includes abstinence from the fleshly desire to drink alcohol. “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery… murders, drunkenness, revellings [riotous conduct often associated with drunkenness], and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is… temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:19-23; KJV). Temperance in this passage means abstinence in the exercise of self-control from all fleshly desires; drinking alcohol included.


[1] Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, Facsimile First Edition, 1828.

[2] Samuele Bacchiocchi, Wine in the Bible, (Berrien Springs 2004), pp. 210-211.

[3] Josephus, The Works of Josephus, translated by William Whiston, (Peabody, 1987), p. 605.

[4] Ed. Victoria Neufeldt, Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, (Cleveland & New York, 1988).

By Steve A. Hamilton