Are there any foods Christians should not eat? The New Testament is overwhelmingly clear in answering this question.
Consider the following verses:
Matthew 15:11 Jesus said, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth.”
The Greek word for “defile” is koinoō. It means, “to make common, or unclean, or profane.” No food can make you unholy.
Mark 7:18-19 Jesus said, “Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus, thus purifying all foods.”
Jesus said all foods are pure.
Romans 14:17 The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
“Righteousness and peace and joy” are the weightier matters. People obsessed with food are missing the focus of the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 8:8 Food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.
People are not “better” if they don’t eat certain things.
Colossians 2:16 Let no one judge you in food or in drink.
There’s no verse saying, “Let no one judge you in lying, bitterness, or serving.” These are immoral. But Paul says, “Let no one judge [what you eat],” because food is amoral.
Acts 10:12-15 [There] were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. A voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
The sheet contained all kinds of clean and unclean animals. God told Peter all animals are now clean.
How do we explain that God forbid certain foods, but permitted them later? The answer is in understanding the ceremonial portion of the Mosaic Law. It was meant to establish Israel as a holy nation. The Church is not under the same restrictions.
John MacArthur explains it like this:
To keep the Israelites separate from their idolatrous neighbors, God set specific dietary restrictions regarding the consumption of [certain] animals. With the coming of the New Covenant and the calling of the church, God ended the dietary restrictions.
1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
Then verse 3 provides two examples of doctrines of demons…
3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Telling people to abstain from certain foods is “giving heed to doctrines of demons.”
We might expect demons’ doctrines to look more demonic. This makes sense if we consider demons want people’s focus on amoral, non-spiritual issues like food.
So what foods should Christians not eat?
There are no restrictions on foods under the New Covenant. What Christians eat has nothing to do with spirituality.
If you feel bound to avoid certain foods, consider this question Paul asked in Colossians 2:20-23:
If you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion , false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
Avoiding certain foods has “an appearance of wisdom.” There’s a “self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body.” But there’s no “value against the flesh.”
DISCUSS: Do any other verses come to mind that I didn’t mention? Have you ever been under the impression you shouldn’t eat certain foods? Share below!
I discussed all of this in a sermon entitled, “Fasting and Food,” which you can listen to here.