What About Food?
Food is a gift from God. It gives us personal enjoyment. It is part of sustaining our health and life. It helps define our cultures. It’s a way to fellowship with others, a way to celebrate, a reason for believers to give thanks to God. All food from plants or animals is permitted to be eaten and enjoyed by believers through faith and for the glory of God.
God’s Original Intent For Food In The Old Testament
- When God created mankind and the animals, He gave them the plants to eat as food. God designed both to be eaters. All God created for food was good and they were to enjoy it through eating it.
Genesis 1:29–30, 2:9
- When mankind sinned against God through eating the fruit of the one tree that He forbade them to eat of, this caused death to enter the world. This resulted in it being harder to cultivate plant food to eat and now animals would die and could be used for food.
Genesis 3:6; 3:17–19; 4:2
- God eventually destroyed the earth through the flood and restarted sinful mankind with Noah and his family whom He saved on the ark. God blessed them saying that animals and plants could be used as food. God also put certain limitations on what animals they could eat.
Genesis 9:1–7; 6:9–8:22
- The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to command the children of Israel to follow certain dietary laws. The law deemed certain animals as unclean to eat for the Israelites. These laws were given to make Israel distinct from the other nations. Some of the laws were to keep Israel healthy and hygienic. These laws never applied to any other group of people outside of Israel.
The New Testament Gives Freedom From All Food Laws
- Jesus death on the cross changed everything, including the way that we look at food. Jesus came to build His church, and in the church, there is no difference between the Jews and the gentiles; therefore, all the food laws are no longer necessary. Some of the laws may still be healthy and hygienic to follow, but they are longer commands for Israel, nor do they apply to the church. This means every type of food, animal, or plant, can be eaten by believers.
Mark 7:5–23; Acts 10:9–15
- Even though we have freedom from all food laws and can eat any type of food, not every believer understands this truth, or they have grown up with habits or customs that are hard to break; therefore, they get offended when they see others eat certain foods. Thus the Bible tells us that we shouldn’t use our freedom to offend others. If we know eating a certain type of food will offend them, then we shouldn’t eat it in their presence.
- As believers, we are to eat with thanksgiving, knowing that it all comes from the Lord. Therefore, many Christians often pray before their meals so they can thank God for providing them the food they are about to consume. We shouldn’t allow the familiarity of thanking God for ours meals to be turned into a joke or just flippantly pray, but a time of sincere gratitude. Since we eat a few times throughout the day, we are constantly reminded to depend on God.
1 Timothy 4:1–5; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 10:31
- As believers, we should be separated from the world and known as Jesus’ disciples by our love, not by what we do and don’t eat.
Answers To Tough Questions
- Are any foods forbidden for believers to consume? No, as believers, we need to mature in the faith and know what the cross has accomplished. A small part of it is that God allows us to eat anything if we eat it by faith, meaning that we know from the Bible it is okay to eat it and therefore our conscience isn’t convicting us that it is wrong. We eat and drink by faith for the glory of God. We are only told not to eat something if we know it offends someone.
- Can I choose to be a vegetarian or meat eater? Yes, the Bibles doesn’t command you to be either, but it does say that all food is permitted to be eaten. You should not be offended when others eat food you think shouldn’t be eaten nor should others offend you by eating food you think is wrong. As believers, you shouldn’t be offended, nor should you offend.
- Can we eat food offered to idols? Maybe, it depends on the circumstance. First, if you buy food in the market or an unbeliever invites you to a meal then you are free to eat the food without asking if it was offered to idols. But if they tell you that the food was offered to idols then you shouldn’t eat it. The reason is so that you don’t offend others. Second, if eating food offered to idols means you are participating in the religious ceremony of an idol then you shouldn’t eat it. The reason is because this is idolatry. Believers don’t participate in demonic activity.
1 Corinthians 8:4–13; 10:17–33; Revelation 2:20
- Can we eat food with blood? Yes, there is nothing in the Bible that prohibits believers from eating or drinking blood. There was a prohibition in the Old Testament against eating blood and the church leaders told the new Gentile believers not to eat it because it would offend the Jews, but if it does not offend anyone, then we are free to eat or drink anything.
Leviticus 17:14; Acts 15:20; Colossians 2:16
- What is the sin of gluttony? Gluttony is when a person habitually eats excessively. He often waste his money on food indulgence or harms his body through eating to the point of causing health issues. This person does not show self-restraint and is addicted to eating, much like a person who is addicted to alcohol. Gluttony and drunkards are often connected in the Bible. Both are wrong.
Deuteronomy 21:20; Proverbs 23:2, 20–21; 28:7; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20
- What was God’s original intent for food?
- Does God approve of mankind eating food from plants and animals?
- What are some of the Old Testament dietary laws? To whom were they given?
- Are believers free from the dietary laws? Why?
- What is a believer forbidden to eat? When should we choose not to eat?