How do you understand the wineskins parable?

Jesus said that new wine cannot be poured into old wineskins

And if new wine is poured into an old wineskin - the wine will burst the skin

New wine must be poured into new wineskins and both are preserved

I think there are two possibilities

One is that the new wine represents the joy righteous living and the old wineskins represents the old lifestyle or mentality

Another is that the new represents the worship of God and the old wineskins represent the old rules and principles for living

What are your theories?

I think Jesus was saying a lifestyle change had to happen before you could receive a spiritual change 

20 Answers

  • 1 year ago
    Favorite Answer

    To help understand the parable, it helps to look at the context and see what Jesus was responding to.

    Lk 5:33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

    34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

    Two things to notice here.  One is the requirement to fast.  Under the old covenant that the Jews were under (and them only, never any Gentiles; Ex 19:3-8), they were required to fast on the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:27).  Now recall that the Jews broke that covenant, so God said he was going to replace it with a NEW one (Jer 31:31-32).  Jesus spoke of this new covenant being instituted upon his death (Lk 22:20; ref Heb 9:15-18).  This is what Jesus was referring to when he spoke of the bridegroom being "taken from them".  Upon Jesus' death, the old covenant was superseded by the new covenant (Heb 8:7,13).

    Under the new covenant, there is no command to fast like under the old covenant (although fasting can still be useful), and this is what Jesus was hinting at.  Note though that the old covenant is still scripture and thus has usefulness (2Tim 3:16-17), but NOT as a source of commands.

    Now here is where properly understanding Jesus' parable can be a matter of spiritual life and death.

    Gal 5:4  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 

    "Justified" means to try to be right with God.  In the early church, just after the Gentiles became Christians, some Jews insisted that they had to also follow their old covenant teachings (Ac 15).  They thought that to be right with God (i.e. justified), they had to not only obey the teachings of the new covenant, but the old also.  Not only were they wrong, but they were dead wrong.  Paul later made it crystal clear that if one tried to obey the old law in order to please God, they would go to hell.  Jesus was deadly serious about NOT mixing the old with the new.

    Now that's not to say someone can't rest on Saturdays if they want to, or avoid grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp, but they can't do that in order to obey the old covenant in an effort to be right with God.  That's trying to mix the old with the new.

    Although the scriptures don't explain exactly why God chose NOT to mix the old with the new, we can see why when people do it.  For instance, even today, some insist on resting on Saturdays to remember the Sabbath, even though that command is only found in the Old Testament (which comes from the Latin for "old covenant").  When that happens, those same people will also note passages such as Ex 31:15 which commands killing Sabbath breakers.  Since they know no one does that, they reason that God allows us to use our own judgment to pick and choose which commands we must obey, resulting in things like unmarried couples living together, but going to church like there's nothing wrong.

    The old covenant was part of a theocracy God had going with the ancient Israelites and them only (not the Egyptians, Assyrians, Phoenicians or any other Gentiles).  And that theocracy had its own crimes and punishments.  The new covenant is different.  There are no crimes and punishments.  God leaves all that to local governments (Rom 13:1-6).

    The most notorious for trying to mix the old with the new are greedy pastors who try to milk their flock out of its cash by continuously harping on tithing (giving ten percent), which was purely an old covenant practice used to pay for the services of the Levite tribe.  NT giving is simply from the heart (2Cor 9:7).

  • BJ
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    This illustration was part of Jesus’ answer as to why his disciples did not conform to all the old customs and practices of the Pharisees.

    Jesus evidently implied that the truth of Christianity was too powerful and energetic to be retained by the old system of Judaism, which lacked vitality and elasticity and which was fast passing away. Mt 9:14-16

    Jesus was helping the disciples of John the Baptist to appreciate that no one should expect his followers to conform to the old practices of Judaism, such as ritual fasting.

    He did not come to patch up and prolong old worn-out systems of worship that were ready to be discarded.

    Christianity would not be made to conform to the Judaism of the day with its traditions of men.

    It would not be as a new patch on an old garment or as new wine in an old wineskin.

  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

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  • 1 year ago

    Old wineskins, therefore, were inappropriate for storing new wine, which continues to ferment. Such fermentation would likely burst the hardened leather of old wineskins.

     New skins, on the other hand, were more supple and could withstand the pressure caused by continued fermentation of new wine. For this reason, Jesus stated a fact that was common knowledge in his day. He spoke of what would happen if anyone does put new wine in old bottles: “Then the new wine will burst the wineskins, and it will be spilled out and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”​—Luke 5:37, 38.

    This illustration was part of Jesus’ answer as to why his disciples did not conform to all the old customs and practices of the Pharisees. Jesus evidently implied that the truth of Christianity was too powerful and energetic to be retained by the old system of Judaism, which lacked vitality and elasticity and which was fast passing away.  (Mt 9:14-16)

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  • 1 year ago

    All true... If we try to live our new life from the perspective and understanding of our old, it will not withstand the new changes in our lifestyle that will happen within us.

  • 1 year ago

    It is about the coming gospel system "new wine" contrasted with the "old wineskins", Jer. 31:31, Matthew 26:28.

  • Huh?
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    I think that if a book was inspired by God that its meaning should be easy to understand. God such a poor author that you can't write in plain simple language? Perhaps the truth is the bible's books were not inspired by a god but written by men alone. 

    The bible is an old book, nothing more. 

  • X
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    It's a reference to the change that would be coming when the proper way of worshiping God was through the Jewish law covenant (the old wineskin that no longer was working) and to the new wineskin or Christian congregation to which God was going to transfer his blessing.

  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

    You cannot believe in a water baptism that was "sent" (John 1:33) for under the law (Acts 19:4) when there is a New Covenant of grace.

    "Old wineskin" water baptism was to bring people ***UNTO*** Christ (Acts 19:4) but Jesus does the baptizing (John 1:33) under the New Covenant and is the "New Wineskin" who puts us ***INTO*** Christ (Romans 8:9).

    Most of today's Christians brought the "old wineskin" water baptism into the New Covenant "new wineskin" defying Scritpure of "one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5) and denying Jesus who does Holy Spirit baptizing under the "new wineskin" of the New Covenant of grace.

    They've made TWO baptisms by "ADDING" "old wineskin" water baptism to the "new wineskin" of Holy Spirit baptism and will "burst."

    "Add thou not to His Words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found A LIAR" (Proverbs 30:6)!

    You have "been found A LAIR" for there is just "one baptism" and the "New Wineskin" is JESUS Who is the Holy Spirit (John 14:18; II Corinthians 5:16)!


  • yesmar
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    Don't mix the Old and New covenants.  It doesn't work.

  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

    Some people can be set in their ways about the law disregarding what the crucifixion of Jesus has done for us.

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