Does God care what we put in our mouths? Aren’t the unclean laws old covenant?

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I can’t believe God really cares about what we put in our mouths. Aren’t the unclean meat laws so old covenant?


The Bible is a big book with many pieces of truth. As we study to fit its various pieces dealing with food into a harmonious whole, we avoid over emphasizing one truth-piece while ignoring others. For example, Apostle Paul says the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking but about joy, peace, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). But four verses later, he advises that we not eat meat, drink wine, or do anything to offend or discourage others. First Corinthians 10:31 adds, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Here we learn that some eating and drinking honors God, while other kinds dishonor Him — think gluttony and drunkenness, for starters (Proverbs 23:21). 

The Church strives for wisdom, grace-and-truth balance, and practical value in all of this. Scripture demonstrates God’s care for human health (Exodus 15:26; 3 John 2). Much evidence confirms that nutritious food, along with rest and exercise, is the surest path to superior health, and that fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts are among the best nutrient-rich foods, while fresh, clean water best supplies our need for liquids. Most of us avoid those meats the Bible classifies as unclean, as well as habitual use of tobacco products and alcoholic drink — not for salvation but as another way of glorifying God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20). 

Yes, the detailed laws of clean and unclean are found only among the old covenant’s legal material (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14). However, mention of clean and unclean animals predates the old covenant in Scripture (Genesis 6 and 7), and the New Testament, while not repeating the unclean meat laws, keeps urging us to avoid uncleanness, both of the flesh and of the spirit (2 Corinthians 6:17, 18; 7:1). 

For more on this controversial subject, read our tract, Eating the Bible Way, at

– Elder Calvin Burrell

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    Calvin Burrell
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    Calvin Burrell is former editor of the Bible Advocate and former director of G. C. Missions. He retired in 2015 and lives with his wife, Barb, in Stayton, OR. They attend church in Marion, OR.