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The New Wine of Acts 2:13


This is in response to a question that came up.  What is the “new wine” of Acts 2:13?  The record could have just said “wine.”  What is the meaning and significance of “new wine?”

“New wine” is translated from a Greek word that indicates sweet and/or fresh wine.  Most versions translate this as “new wine” as is in the King James Version, and I believe that is correct.

I have heard it taught that “new wine” in the Bible refers to recently squeezed grape juice, unfermented and thus no alcoholic content.  This interpretation does not fit the context in Acts 2.  In Peter’s response to the accusation that the apostles were full of new wine, he says (verse 15), “For these are not drunken as ye suppose.”

Let’s take a look at the context.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

The apostles were speaking with “other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  There were people present from many different cultures and languages.  Each person heard one or more of the apostles speak the wonderful works of God in his own language.  But, of course, other apostles were speaking in some other language.  For any given listener, he heard one or more apostle speaking in his language and the others speaking in other languages. There were those among the listeners who chose to mock, accusing those speaking in languages they did not understand of “being full of new wine.”

When we consider the meaning of the term “new wine,” we must note that the term was being used in a derisive way.  It was part of the insult.  The mockers were not just accusing the apostles of being drunk.  They were accusing them of being drunk with “new wine.”

Biblical days were no different than modern times in that aged wine was better than new wine as is stated in Luke 5.

Luke 5:39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

Saying these men are full of low quality wine was more of a crass insult than if they had just said the men had too much to drink; and the purpose of  the mockers was to insult the apostles.


+2 #21 DAVID 2015-02-18 06:23
In Israel the grape harvesting season runs from mid August to mid October or roughly 75 days.The diciples tarried in the upper room for seven days so the day of Pentecost,was around the end of May. No Fresh juice would be available as the harvest ended 7 months earlier and as Israel is in the northern hemisphere 2,200 miles from the equator and there is definately no way that "juice" survived from October to May from Israels actual harvest season. It was most certainly wine! Even if Israel had been in the southern hemisphere the grape season would have ended in mid April or 6 weeks before Pentecost and since there was no refridgeration there would be no juice here either.
+1 #20 Ernest 2015-02-10 21:18
The Greek here is the clue. Elsewhere in the NT where new wine is the translation it literally is "new wine". But in Acts 2:13 it is "sweet wine". What is likely being referred to here is what today is often called "raisin wine" or "straw wine". Making wine from grapes that been left to dry a while makes the wine sweeter and when fermented the added sweetness also makes it more highly alcoholic.
-3 #19 ron 2014-11-28 15:32
New wine is the new doctrine Chist was teaching, being accused of being drunk on new wine meant they were accusing them of acting fooling, 'drunk' on the new the teachings
+1 #18 Ken Brown 2014-10-31 09:06
Mave, from your article:
.’ "Gleukos." Nearly all authorities agree that this Greek word,which occurs only once in the New Testament (Acts 2:13), means sweet, freshgrape juice.(16) That a few scholars attemptto see its use in Acts 2:13 as a reference to newly fermented wine is notwarranted”
This is simply not true. Virtually everyone knows the wine here is fermented. Nothing else fits the “drunken” charge of verse 15. I checked nine different commentaries. All of them were as per the two quoted below.

Robertson’s Word Pictures: “Sweet wine, but intoxicating. Sweet wine kept a year was very intoxicating.”

Vincent’s Word Studies: “Lit., "sweet wine." Of course intoxicating.”
+1 #17 Andy 2014-08-30 01:19
It is possible to get drunk on food and other things in the bible, even new wine. "Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!" Ecc. 10:17.
+2 #16 Keith 2014-06-21 10:25
Read Deuteronomy 14:23-26 key scripture is 26. The LORD wants us to enjoy life unto HIM not abuse it. Its our western culture that says drinking is a sin. Discipline discipline discipline if you have a problem with drinking without discipline then choose to abstain or ask the LORD for deliverance. (Tradition vs the Word ) MT. Chapter 7 - I wash my hands like this. Drunkenness is the sin not the drink.
-3 #15 Wyatt 2014-06-17 13:24
Drunkenness is a sin and even a little alcohol destroys braincells and causes some degree of drunkenness. God would never endorse the drinking of fermented wine only the new (un-fermented) wine freshly pressed from the grapes (see Isaiah 65:8). Poison wine would never represent the pure cleansing blood of Jesus. I'm a Seventh-day Adventist and part of one of the few temperance movements left. I like Ricks comment above. If you read Barne's commentarry on verse 13 ( you will see a good point as well. Keep studying friends!
0 #14 Ken Brown 2014-06-08 05:47
Hi Paulus... " what is the significance for the writer of Acts to include this verse in the context?" I'm not sure what kind of significance you are looking for. He is telling what happened and this is what happened.Perhaps someone can show us a greater reason for including this part of the event in the narrative, but until then I take it simply at face value. Luke is just telling us what happened. Thanks for your participation.
0 #13 Paulus Soehianto 2014-06-07 21:39
Just wonder what is the significance for the writer of Acts to include this verse in the context..thanks
+1 #12 Randy 2014-06-07 07:22
Thanks Ken, your comment makes very good sense particularly in the light of Luke 5:39. When are we going to let wine be wine and stop calling it "hemp" or Welch's.

It was common practice for people to drink "real" wine. I guess Jesus ordered a special delivery of grape juice for the passover meal. Wonder if it was red juice or white juice?

Thanks again -- God Bless

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