Category: Food & Diet


Leviticus chapter 11 lists the dietary restrictions God gave to the nation of  Israel. The dietary laws included prohibitions against eating pork, shrimp,  shellfish and many types of seafood, most insects, scavenger birds, and various  other animals. The dietary rules were never intended to apply to anyone other  than the Israelites. The purpose of the food laws was to make the Israelites  distinct from all other nations. After this purpose had ended, Jesus declared  all foods clean (Mark 7:19).  God gave the apostle Peter a vision in which He declared that formerly unclean  animals could be eaten: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean”  (Acts 10:15). When Jesus died  on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4Galatians  3:24-26; Ephesians  2:15). This includes the laws regarding clean and unclean foods.

Romans 14:1-23 teaches us  that not everyone is mature enough in the faith to accept the fact that all  foods are clean. As a result, if we are with someone who would be offended by  our eating “unclean” food, we should give up our right to do so as to not offend  the other person. We have the right to eat whatever we want, but we do not have  the right to offend other people, even if they are wrong. For the Christian in  this age, though, we have freedom to eat whatever we wish as long as it does not  cause someone else to stumble in his/her faith.

In the New Covenant of  grace, the Bible is far more concerned with how much we eat than what we eat.  Physical appetites are an analogy of our ability to control ourselves. If we are  unable to control our eating habits, we are probably also unable to control  other habits such as those of the mind (lust, covetousness, unrighteous  hatred/anger) and unable to keep our mouths from gossip or strife. We are not to  let our appetites control us; rather, we are to control them (Deuteronomy 21:20; Proverbs 23:2; 2 Peter 1:5-7; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2  Corinthians 10:5).

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Gluttony seems to be a sin that Christians like to ignore. We are often quick  to label smoking and drinking as sins, but for some reason gluttony is accepted  or at least tolerated. Many of the arguments used against smoking and drinking,  such as health and addiction, apply equally to overeating. Many believers would  not even consider having a glass of wine or smoking a cigarette but have no  qualms about gorging themselves at the dinner table. This should not  be!

Proverbs  23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge  themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness  clothes them in rags.” Proverbs  28:7 declares, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of  gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs  23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

Physical appetites are an analogy of our ability to control ourselves.  If we are unable to control our eating habits, we are probably also unable to  control other habits, such as those of the mind (lust, covetousness, anger) and  unable to keep our mouths from gossip or strife. We are not to let our appetites  control us, but we are to have control over our appetites. (See Deuteronomy 21:20, Proverbs 23:2, 2 Peter 1:5-7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and 2  Corinthians 10:5.) The ability to say “no” to anything in  excess—self-control—is one of the fruits of the Spirit common to all believers  (Galatians  5:22).

God has blessed us by filling the earth with foods that are  delicious, nutritious, and pleasurable. We should honor God’s creation by  enjoying these foods and by eating them in appropriate quantities. God calls us  to control our appetites, rather than allowing them to control us.