John 2:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 2:10, NIV: "and said, 'Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.'"

John 2:10, ESV: "and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”"

John 2:10, KJV: "And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now."

John 2:10, NASB: "and *said to him, 'Every man serves the good wine first, and when the guests are drunk, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.'"

John 2:10, NLT: "'A host always serves the best wine first,' he said. 'Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!'"

John 2:10, CSB: "and told him, "Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.""

What does John 2:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The master of the banquet, or chief servant, is impressed and surprised by the quality of the wine. However, he has no idea that Jesus had created it out of water. Instead, he gives credit to the groom for saving the best for last. He assumes this was a deliberate, extravagant choice by the groom.

Questions about whether this was alcoholic wine are answered by a look at the original Greek words being used. The reference to "poorer wine" uses the word elasso, which means "lesser, inferior, or younger." The reference to the "good wine" uses the word kalon, meaning "superior." The chief servant also refers to the time when "poorer" wine was usually brought out by using the Greek word methysthosin, which is the same root word Paul uses in 1 Corinthians to warn against drunkenness. His comment could literally be translated as, "once the people are drunk," the poorer wine comes out.

So, according to the chief servant, what Jesus produced was the kind of high-quality wine which would usually be served first. After that wine—the same substance which Jesus had just created—had made people "a little drunk," lower-quality wines would be served. The Greek terms for grape juice and "new wine" are not used here. While the Bible clearly warns against drunkenness, there is no doubt that what Jesus produced was actual "wine," a fermented beverage, as the word is commonly understood.