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What Does The Bible Say About Eating Meat?

Have you ever wondered, "What does the Bible say about eating meat?" The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no; the details are built into the fabric of biblical teachings, spanning the Old and New Testaments. The Bible offers rich insights, addressing the permissibility of eating meat, providing dietary laws, and offering perspectives on freedom, conscience, and gratitude. In this post, we will look at what the Bible says on this subject.



bible verses about eating meat


What Does the Bible Say About Eating Meat?


Permissibility of Eating Meat

In the Old Testament, God explicitly grants permission for meat consumption. Genesis 9:3 records God's words to Noah after the flood, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." This divine proclamation establishes God's provision of meat for humanity.



Dietary Laws in the Old Testament

The Old Testament introduces a nuanced perspective through dietary laws found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. These laws distinguish between clean and unclean animals, serving symbolic and practical purposes. They aim to set the Israelites apart from other nations and promote communal health and hygiene. Some may choose to follow these dietary restrictions, and some may not. In any case, there is no general law against consuming meat.



New Testament Perspective

Transitioning to the New Testament, the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Paul shed light on the freedom and conscience of believers concerning dietary choices. Mark 7:14-23 captures Jesus' declaration that defilement emanates from the heart, not external substances. Here is what it says in Mark 7:18-20, And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him." In 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, Paul addresses the eating of meat sacrificed to idols, affirming a Christian's freedom while emphasizing consideration for the weaker brethren.



Thanksgiving and Conscience

Romans 14:2-3 underscores the vital role of conscience in dietary matters; it states, "One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him." This verse highlights the necessity of avoiding judgment and cultivating unity within the faith community. 



Moderation and Gratitude

Encouraging a balanced lifestyle, the Bible advocates moderation, which includes our eating habits. Proverbs 25:27 advises, "It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory." This caution against overindulgence aligns with the broader biblical theme of moderation, fostering a balanced and thankful approach to eating, which would include the meat we would consume.



Bible Verses About Eating Meat

Here are some more bible verses on eating meat to think about. Each verse has some practical thoughts on application specifically related to this subject.


1 Corinthians 8:8 - Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.

Practical Thought: This verse reminds us that our dietary choices do not determine our relationship with God. It encourages believers to focus on the heart and the more significant aspects of faith rather than getting entangled in unnecessary debates about what to eat.



1 Timothy 4:1-4 - Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

Practical Thought: This passage strongly supports the idea that everything created by God, including food, is inherently good. It counters teachings that advocate abstaining from certain foods, emphasizing that these restrictions contradict the truth. Believers are encouraged to receive all food with thanksgiving, recognizing God's goodness in providing various nourishing options.



1 Corinthians 10:25-26 - Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For 'the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.'

Practical Thought: Believers are encouraged to approach meat consumption with a clear conscience. This underscores the freedom Christians have in Christ. Acknowledging that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it provides a foundation for grateful and conscientious enjoyment of His provisions.



1 Kings 17:6 - And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

Practical Thought: The story of Elijah being miraculously fed with bread and meat by ravens showcases God's provision of meat for consumption.



Isaiah 25:6 - On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

Practical Thought: This verse paints a picture of a divine feast that includes rich food, full of marrow. It indicates God's intention to provide a bountiful and delightful feast for His people, reinforcing the idea that enjoying various foods, including meat, can be a part of His blessings.



Psalm 104:14-15 - You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

Practical Thought: God's creation is designed to provide for our physical and emotional well-being. This encourages Christians to recognize the goodness of God in the variety of foods available, appreciating not only the sustenance but also the joy and strength derived from what He has provided us.



Conclusion

In summary, while the Bible permits meat consumption, it provides guidelines and principles for believers. These encompass considerations for Old Testament dietary laws, embracing our freedom in Christ in the New Testament, being sensitive to weaker believers, and a spirit of gratitude and moderation in all aspects of life.


How do you balance your freedom to eat with considerations for the well-being and convictions of fellow believers in your community?



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I love reading Pastor Chad’s insights! Deep and life-changing yet easy to understand!!!

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Thanks so much Colleen. I appreciate your encouragement!

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