Can fermented grape juice (wine) be used in the Lord’s Supper?


Please answer me with biblical texts the following questions or doubts I have:

  1. Which kind of wine (intoxicating fermented wine or non-fermented wine) should be used during Lord's Supper celebration?
  2. Can we commit sin by using fermented or alcoholic wine during the Lord's Supper celebration?
  3. It is alleged that Christ not only partook of fermented wine but also produced it in abundant quantity at the wedding of Cana and gave it to His disciples at the Last Supper. Is this statement true or did he produce and partook of non-fermented wine?
  4. Did the Corinthian church drink fermented wine during the Lord's Supper celebration?


If you have not read "New Testament Beverages" already, I recommend that you do so first. Your last question is addressed in full in this article plus there is an abundance of background material that you should know.

Your third question was addressed in "Why do you say that the wine at the marriage feast in Cana was grape juice?"

So let's look at your first two questions. When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, he stated, "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:29). Most of the time in the New Testament, when a product of grapes is mentioned, the word oinos is used. Oinos is a generic Greek word for anything made from grapes, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Only the context allows us to distinguish between the types of beverages being discussed. Yet here Jesus specifically says gennema ampelos, "fruit of the vine." This places the emphasis on the juice from grapes and thus is most likely referring to unfermented juice.

Next, we note that the Lord's Supper was instituted during the Passover. The Passover occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. During this feast, all leavening and anything made with leavening are removed from the house. "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel" (Exodus 12:15). Alcoholic wine is made by yeast (leavening) being left in or added to grape juice and allowing it to ferment. Fermented juice (wine) would not be allowed in the keeping of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Thus we conclude that the fruit of vine drunk by Jesus and the disciples during the Last Supper was non-alcoholic. This then also explains why a different phrase was used to describe the drink than what was typically used. The emphasis is that it was juice and not fermented.

Next, we learn from Paul that leavening is a symbol representing sin. "Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (I Corinthians 5:6-7). While the emphasis is on the bread in this passage, the point remains the same. The memorial feast is to remind us that Jesus is our Passover. That is why we use unleavened bread; it reminds us that Jesus lived without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and that we too should live without sin. For the same reason we should not be using fermented grape juice as that also contains leaven.

Finally, there is a subtle point people tend to overlook. "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities" (I Timothy 5:23). Paul had to urge Timothy to use a little alcoholic wine for medicine. Up until this point, Timothy avoided all alcoholic beverages, which if such were included in the Lord's Supper would include that as well. But being a Christian, Timothy obviously would have partaken in the Lord's Supper, which implies that Christians were using non-alcoholic juice in the keeping of the feast.

Is it a sin to use fermented juice in keeping the Lord's Supper? Let me ask this: Is it a sin to use raised bread in keeping the Lord's Supper? I think the answer to both is "yes" because it violates the symbolism Jesus established for his memorial meal.


Thanks a lot for explaining to me all concerning wine and the Bible. It is very clear that Jesus did not drink fermented wine and also the Lord's Supper must be celebrated using non-fermented wine. I will read and study the articles you have mentioned.

I am going to explain to the other members of the church of Christ your clear explanation about this matter.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email