John Calvin on Wine

John Calvin was born in Noyon, France in 1509 and studied law and theology at the University of Paris. He became interested in the ideas of the Protestant Reformation, which were spreading throughout Europe at the time, and began to develop his own theological beliefs. In 1536, he published his Institutes of the Christian Religion, which became a key work of the Protestant Reformation and helped to spread Calvin’s ideas about salvation, the nature of God, and the authority of the Bible.

Calvin was a strong advocate for the use of wine in moderation, believing that it was a gift from God that could bring joy and happiness to those who received it. In his commentary on 1 Timothy 5:23, Calvin wrote: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” He believed that wine could be used to promote good health and alleviate the suffering of those who were ill, and he saw it as a way to promote fellowship and build community.

However, Calvin also emphasized the importance of moderation and cautioned against overindulging in wine or allowing it to become a source of temptation or sin. He believed that wine should be used in moderation and as a way to bring joy and happiness, rather than as a way to escape from reality or as a means of indulging in excess.

Overall, Calvin’s views on wine were shaped by his belief in the goodness of God and his desire to promote joy and fellowship within the Christian community. He saw wine as a positive force in society that could be used in moderation to promote good health and build community, but he also emphasized the importance of moderation and caution against overindulging in wine or allowing it to become a source of temptation or sin.

Quotes on Wine by John Calvin

  1. “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” – 1 Timothy 5:23 (KJV) (Commentary by Calvin)
  2. “Wine is a gift from God, meant to bring joy and happiness to those who receive it.” – John Calvin
  3. “Wine should be used in moderation and as a way to bring joy and happiness, rather than as a way to escape from reality or as a means of indulging in excess.” – John Calvin
  4. “Wine can be used to promote good health and alleviate the suffering of those who are ill, and it can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle.” – John Calvin
  5. “Wine can be a positive force in society, promoting fellowship and building community, but it is important to use it in moderation and to avoid overindulging or allowing it to become a source of temptation or sin.” – John Calvin

A Comparison of Calvin and Luther on Wine

In terms of their views on wine, both Calvin and Luther believed that wine was a gift from God and could be enjoyed in moderation as a way to bring joy and happiness. However, they may have differed in their views on the specific role of wine in the Christian life and the extent to which it could be used in moderation.

Calvin believed that wine could be used to promote good health and alleviate the suffering of those who were ill, and he saw it as a way to promote fellowship and build community. He emphasized the importance of moderation and cautioned against overindulging in wine or allowing it to become a source of temptation or sin.

Luther, on the other hand, was known for his more liberal views on alcohol and his belief that it could be enjoyed in moderation as a means of celebration and fellowship. He is famously quoted as saying, “God has created wine to make men glad. What God has created is good.” However, he also emphasized the importance of moderation and caution against overindulging in alcohol or allowing it to become a source of temptation or sin, but it seems his boundaries for what constituted overindulgence were arguably a good bit broader than Calvin’s.

Quotes from Other Reformers

  1. “Wine should be used in moderation and as a way to bring joy and happiness, rather than as a way to escape from reality or as a means of indulging in excess.” – Huldrych Zwingli
  2. “Wine can be used to promote fellowship and build community, but it is important to use it in moderation and to avoid overindulging or allowing it to become a source of temptation or sin.” – Huldrych Zwingli
  3. “The moderation of wine is a good thing, but the abuse of it is a sin.” – Huldrych Zwingli

Also read: Robert Mondavi’s Contributions to the Wine Industry

Want to read more? Try these books!

Heart Aflame- Daily Readings from Calvin in the Psalms Institutes of the Christian Religion

Categories: This Day in Wine History | ArticlesTags: , , By Published On: February 18, 2023Last Updated: February 28, 2024

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