Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Is Wine Necessary to the Lord's Supper?

Some believers think that using grape juice for the Lord's Supper is unbiblical, but is it? Using my faithful, I searched for wine (Greek: οινος) and found no references to the Lord's Supper. All I can find is "the cup" (Matt. 26:27; Mark 14:23; Luke 22:17,20; 1 Cor. 10:16,21; 11:25-27) and "the fruit of the vine" (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18). Although I myself believe in the legitimacy of taking alcoholic beverages based on the clear testimony of Scripture (Lev. 10:19; Deut. 11:14; Psa. 104:15; etc., etc.), despite the warnings associated with its consumption, I have to say that those who insist that wine is necessary have no Scriptural warrant.

The fact that it is the redness of "the fruit of the vine" that signifies the blood and that alcohol signifies nothing should be enough for those who berate the weaker brethren.

(This is the hyperlink for Keith Mathison's articles entitled "Protestant Transubstantiation: Examining the Use of Grape Juice in the Lord's Supper" quoted by Phil in the comments section. His articles are half-way down.)

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Blogger Timothy said...

What was served in the Passover meal?

Any scriptural proof for that?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 10:04:00 pm  
Blogger Timothy Davis said...

Only lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread is mentioned. No wine.

Personally, the high probability was that it was wine, however I think it is significant that οινος isn't used, when it used all over the NT (36 occurrences). The Lord's Supper is the only place in the NT where "fruit of the vine" is used. Maybe the Spirit was accomodating the weaker brethren?

The main point is that Scripture binds us to nothing more than a cup of the fruit of the vine that is red to signify Christ's blood.

P.S. There were non-alcoholic beverages made with grape juice from concentrate. It couldn't have been fresh grape juice as the harvest is June to September.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 10:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if having grape juice rather than wine in Communion is unbiblical, but I do know that berating the brethren is.

Historically, grape juice could not have been used in the Passover and during the early Church. (or up until pasteurization and refrigeration.) Grapes would not have been ripe during Passover (our basis for Communion) in Israel and the Middle East to have grape juice. If they did have grape juice from a previous harvest, it would have turned to wine or vinegar, for they had no means of refrigeration and grape juice needs refirgeration. It also needs pasteurization, which didn't come around until 1822-1895.

Logically, one could say that grape juice in Communion is unbiblical because it really couldn't have been used. Somehow, that logic seems quite silly.

Although I do believe using wine is the most correct and Jesus did institute the use of bread and wine in rembrance of Him.

I would think that if something is considered unbiblical, the Bible would speak against that topic.

I do believe that using grape juice in Communion is really a grace issue:
Jesus didn't say "Use only wine for communion." (Although He did set up a precedent...) He did say "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." John 15:12 Berating is not loving, nor is it edification or teaching. However, if one of my fellowship has a sin issue, which leads to drunkenness, with wine and prefers grape juice, that person should use grape juice. We can still fellowship. If they abstain from communion because of a wine issue, that is a tragic break of fellowship. I feel it is best to offer both. That way we can both lovingly fellowship/commune and neither be a stumbling block to the other.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11:02:00 pm  
Blogger Philip S Taylor said...

Keith Mathison argues for wine in this article. He has a book called "Given for You" I think and in it he argues for wine and babies taking communion.

Anyway, the article is an interesting read. All four parts can be found just over half way down this page:

Thursday, June 01, 2006 7:19:00 am  
Blogger Timothy Davis said...


As I said, it was most probably wine, but they did produce a non-alcoholic cordial from concentrate.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:49:00 am  
Blogger Timothy Davis said...

A significant quote in the first of Keith Mathison's articles:

"The expression the 'fruit of the vine' is employed by our Savior in the synoptical Gospels to denote the element contained in the cup of the Holy Supper. The fruit of the vine is literally the grape. But the Jews from time immemorial have used this phrase to designate the wine partaken of on sacred occasions, as at the Passover and on the evening of the Sabbath. The Mishna
(De. Bened, cap. 6, pars I) expressly states, that, in pronouncing blessings, 'the
fruit of the vine' is the consecrated expression for yayin...
The Christian Fathers, as well as the Jewish rabbis, have understood 'the fruit of the vine' to mean wine in the proper sense. Our Lord, in instituting the Supper after the Passover, availed himself of the expression invariably employed by his countrymen in speaking of the wine of the Passover. On other occasions, when employing the language of common life, he calls wine by its ordinary name."

Philip Schaff, ed. A Religious Encyclopedia of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal and Practical Theology, 1887, p. 2537-2538

There are other similar quotes in this article.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:47:00 am  
Blogger Timothy said...

The Session has decided to use wine in communion here at GPC, for which I am grateful. We also offer grape juice for the weaker brother...

Thursday, June 01, 2006 3:14:00 pm  

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