Summary: A Biblical View of Wine and the Cultural Influences that Shaped the Church to Change Its Practice of Communion

Why Did We Change the Grape Juice to Wine in the Communion Cup?

A Biblical View of Wine and the Cultural Influences that

Shaped the Church to Change Its Practice of Communion

The Use of Wine in the Bible

Before I speak directly about the element of wine in communion, it is necessary to take a step or two back to evaluate what the Bible reveals about the use of wine.

If Christians are going to be committed to the Bible as their authority for faith and practice, then this is where they must start.

First of all, the Bible emphatically reveals that the abuse of wine is sin.

The abuse of wine is drunkenness.

The Bible calls drunkenness a work of the flesh.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery . . .

drunkenness . . .” (Galatians 5:19,21).

One cannot be drunk and be filled with the Spirit.

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

(Ephesians 5:18).

While God created beautiful women, the proper love of them in marriage is not sin. but the abuse of God’s good creation is emphatically so.

Likewise, wine itself is a good thing and not a sin.

However, the Bible calls the abuse of it “the work of the flesh”, or sin.

Likewise, the Bible is strong in its language about drunkards,

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom

of God?

Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

(1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Notice that the Bible is not addressing the elements of abuse, but the heart of man which is unrighteous.

So while the Bible strictly prohibits the abuse of alcohol and warns strongly against the heart that would do so, it always makes a distinction between the good use of something good and the abuse of it.

A modern cultural example of this is the argument for gun


Many take the side that all guns should be outlawed because guns kill people.

It is a mistake to think that way. Guns do not kill.

People with wicked hearts kill.

A more absurd example, but one that brings the point home, would be to outlaw all matches and lighters.

While fire can be a good and useful thing, it also kills people and destroys property.

Psalm 104:14-15 says,

“He [God] causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man...”

Rom 14:21-22

21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.


3196 yayin (yah'-yin);

from an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication:

KJV-- banqueting, wine, wine [-bibber].

1. Wine is Used For Good Health

The first use of wine in the Bible is for medicinal purposes.

Prov 31:6-7

6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.

7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.


Note how the apostle Paul advises Timothy, the young pastor of the church in Ephesus, to drink a little wine for his infirmities.

“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.” (1 Timothy 5:23).

Any advice about the consumption of alcohol must take into

account not only the complex relation between alcohol and

cardiovascular disease but also the well-known association of

heavy consumption of alcohol with a large number of health


Medical research has demonstrated the biblical principle of “abuse versus proper use”.

Apparently, when Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine for good health, he had good reasons for doing so!

2.Wine is Used in Godly Celebration

A portion of Deuteronomy 14 instructs the Israelites regarding the third year tithe.

Every three years, the Israelites were commanded to take the tithe of their produce and bring it to Jerusalem to celebrate before the Lord (v.28).

The following are the instructions that the Lord gave.

Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field

bringeth forth year by year.

Deut. 14:26

And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.

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