Does it mean having been drunken?


says that methiosin in the bible means alcoholic intoxication

Words similar to it are all drunk related http://biblehub.com/greek/strongs_3184.htm

It seems the word drunk in english can mean two things. It can mean alcoholic intoxication. It can also be the past participle form of drink.

Yet the word methiosin is translated as


  1. have drunk freely
  2. men have well drunk
  3. they might have drunk freely

I wonder if the english translation means have been drunken (alcoholy intoxicated) or does it mean something else (like being not thirsty anymore). Does it mean that the men have simply drunk a lot of liquid (not necessarily intoxicating)

What does have drunk freely means? Does it mean being drunk?

  • one motives behind this question is to examine whether the bible has been translated faithfully or not. Have drunk freely does not seem to mean having been drunken.
    – user4234
    Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 13:54

2 Answers 2


You have three translations attempting to say the same thing:

  1. have drunk freely
  2. men have well drunk
  3. they might have drunk freely

Your cite gives the verb as μεθυσθῶσιν (related to the Greek word for wine), third person plural, aorist tense, subjunctive mood, passive voice It is difficult to map Greek verb forms directly in English. The aorist was often used for narrative and indirect discourse; the subjunctive indicates possibility; the passive takes the action to the subject. So one literal rendering is "[when] they should [or might] be being intoxicated by wine."

The point of the passage is to examine the hosts behavior when his guests have had enough of his good wine so that alcohol has made them insensible to the quality of further drink.


"Have drunk freely" means that someone drank without reservation.

If I sip at my drink I'm being reserved and taking it slow. If I swig it down in one gulp and ask for more I'm not being reserved, I'm drinking freely. Once I have done so you could say I "have drunk freely".

Doing this with alcohol will likely get me drunk (as in intoxicated).

The difference is context. In the context of "Have drunk freely" drunk is the past participle of drink (drank is the simple past tense)G The context makes clear that drunk is being used as a verb. But this doesn't mean that they aren't intoxicated. That may well result depending on what they've been drinking. You simply don't know yet when all you know is that they "have drunk freely".

Drunk can also be an adjective that means intoxicated. Just not in the context of "have drunk freely". More like, "He is drunk".

Drunk can be a noun for someone who is an alcoholic and so constantly intoxicated. But also, not in this context. More like, "He's a drunk" S

  • Yes. There are two ways of drinking -- one is to avoid getting or acting drunk -- that's called "holding your liquor" -- and the other is "to drink freely." Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 3:53
  • does have drunk freely means a person is intoxicated? some christians argue that the wine is not alcoholic.
    – user4234
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 16:11
  • @SharenEayrs does this edit make it clearer? Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 17:24
  • I see. It seems that the bible translator have deliberately mistranslate the meaning of the word methiosin.
    – user4234
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 21:51
  • 1
    @SharenEayrs I'm a teetotaler myself and I've no problem with Jesus being a good host. But I see your point. A hard fact has been reduced to implication to water down an obvious endorsement of alcohol. Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 13:15

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