“Help Me Understand Eating Clean and Unclean Meats”

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I am a freshman college student. A New Testament class professor said that Paul, James and Peter disagreed with the eating of clean and unclean meats. Now I know of the vision with Peter, which he says some scholars say is only for the fact that they should preach to Gentiles as well as Greeks. Now, is there anywhere else that says they may have not been disagreeing or that one case won out over the other or if one had more information from God? Should we be wary of this subject as Christians? Because that would mean we were eating “wrong” all this time (for those of us who do eat pork and other things like that). Does this have any relevance to our spirituality as Christians? Am I just thinking too hard?

Thanks for writing. The dietary laws set forth in passages such as Leviticus 11:1-47 and Deuteronomy 14:1-21 were temporary laws given by God only to Israel. These laws are not applicable to Christians today under the terms of the New Covenant. This is not only made clear in Peter’s vision, recorded in Acts 10:9-16, but it is stated explicitly by Christ Himself in Mark 7:14-23. Notice in particular what Jesus says in vv. 18-19. In part, this text reads, “Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him; because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” Then notice the parenthetical statement which concludes this verse: “Thus He declared all foods clean.” In other words, the dietary restrictions given by God to Israel have been nullified. Christians today are not bound by such laws. Today, the Old Covenant under which Israel operated is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).

Hope this helps!

Shalom,

Michael Gleghorn
Probe Ministries

Dr. Michael Gleghorn

Dr. Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University, a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Theological Studies (also from Dallas Theological Seminary). Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children: Arianna and Josiah. As a family, they attend Frisco Bible Church, where Michael and Hannah are involved in various ministries. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.

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