Does The Bible Say That We Should Not Eat Pork? What Does That Mean For Christ Followers Today?

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“And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud;
it is unclean for you.” ~Leviticus 11:7

Today, many people (who if asked would claim to be believers) consume pork and pork products. However, does the Bible endorse the idea of the consumption of pork?

The verse already listed above, Leviticus 11:7, is part of a whole chapter which defines for us clean animals which may be eaten, and unclean animals from which we are to abstain. Among those listed as unclean animals include rats, camels, owls, and pigs.

What does God say about the consumption of pork? Well, another verse, Isaiah 66:17, states;

“Those who consecrate themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center-feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats will come to a terrible end.” says the LORD.”

This verse shows that God says that He does not like us to eat pork – or rats – or any of the other detestable creatures. Note: Detestable to Him.

Now, many may say, “Those are both Old Testament passages. Give me some New Testament verses.” While I will provide some “New Testament” passages, what constitutes as a “New Testament” passage? That is a man-made separation between the first half of our Bibles and our second half. Because I don’t like that man-made term, I will be referring to the “New Testament” as the Messianic Writings. This is because the “New Testament” consists of writings about our Messiah; hence, Messianic Writings.

One verse in the Messianic Writings is Acts 24:14. In this verse Paul states his beliefs,

“…I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets.”

~Acts 14:14 (NIV)

Eating pork does not agree with the Law (Leviticus 11) or the Prophets (Isaiah 66), therefore, Paul is against the consumption of pork and cannot agree with the idea nor can he condone it.

One verse that may be cited to prove that the Bible condones that idea of the consumption of pork is 1 Timothy 4:1-7 which says,

“ The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”

1 Timothy 4:1-7 (NIV)

Now, first of all, it is important to realize the meaning of the word “foods.” The Greek word for “foods” in this case is brōmatōn. According to Strongs this means:

  1. that which is eaten, food

Now, think about this. This is Paul, a Jew, writing a letter to Timothy, a Greek/Jew (Greek Father and Jewish Mother). Paul would never have considered pork to be food. It wasn’t considered food for the people of Israel a couple thousand years before that, and it still was not considered food by those who taught and kept God’s word.

I know how this could be misunderstood. Even Peter the Disciple said that Paul was hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16), and he was even living in the same time frame, spoke the same language, and was brought up in the same culture; unlike us who are so far removed from that time frame and who tend to have a Greek mindset rather than a Hebrew one.

If Paul isn’t talking about pork, what is he talking about then?        

119 Ministries says it very well,

 “…let’s ask ourselves some questions that we will all have to answer in light of 1 Timothy chapter 4. Does 1 Timothy 4:4 teach that all animals are clean and therefore acceptable for food? Are those teaching obedience to God’s commandments such as Leviticus 11 (God’s dietary instructions) ‘giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1)?’ Would such teaching be speaking lies in hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:2)? Are the same teaching others to not marry (1 Timothy 4:3)? What things are stated to be consecrated by the Word of God and declared to be food and to be received in thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4-5)? Isn’t that the context here? Are God’s commandments old wives ‘fables (1 Timothy 4:7)? Are God’s commandments profane (1 Timothy 4:7)? Is keeping God’s commandments in Leviticus 11 no longer Godliness (1 Timothy 4:7)? Is Leviticus 11 no longer good doctrine (1 Timothy 4:6)? Is obeying God departing from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1)? Is Leviticus 11 no longer scripture and thus no longer instructions in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)? Is Leviticus 11 no longer valid as a basis of rebuking and correcting (2 Timothy 3:16)?”

Do the answers to these questions seem obvious?

Let’s go back to 1 Timothy 4:3-5,

“They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

~1 Timothy 4:3-5 (NIV)

What is the “truth” which such people believe? Psalm 119:142 says,

“Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.”

~Psalm 119:142 (KJV)

Since Leviticus 11 is still part of the Law of God, then it is still truth. This means that it is not false or abolished. Obviously, something cannot be both true and false.

How about the verse, “consecrated by the word of God and prayer”?  Well, what does it mean when something is consecrated? It means “holy” or “set-apart.” This leads us to a problem. If one was to twist Paul’s words to say that all foods have now been made as holy and set-apart as the clean, then there would no longer be any set-apart!

Another commonly misunderstood passage is Acts 10. In summary, Peter was hungry, and while he was hungry, he had a vision. In that vision a sheet came down with all kinds of creatures, like sheep, zebras, cows, and pigs. So they were likely touching each other. And God said to Peter, “Peter, kill and eat.” And Peter responded, “No Lord, never have I eaten anything common or unclean.” And the sheet went back into heaven. And this happened again, exactly like the first. And then it happened a third time, “Peter, kill and eat.” And Peter responded, “No Lord, never have I eaten anything common or unclean.” But this time God answered, “Do not call common what I have made clean.”

Now, there were two laws in Judaism: The oral law, and the Written Law. The oral law was a bunch of fence laws made to help keep people within the boundaries of God’s law, the Written Law. But the oral law did not need to be kept; only the written or spoken Law of God needs to be kept.

This is because only the Written Law is from God. The oral law is man-made; the laws are laws they made up for themselves, to restrain themselves.

One of the oral laws was to not eat anything common. In the oral law, an animal was common when a clean animal, like a sheep, touched an unclean animal, like a pig. The sheep was then considered to be common. However, according to God’s law, if the sheep touched the pig it was still clean, but the pig, is always unclean. Now, while the dream used animals to help portray or illustrate a point, the meaning had nothing to do with taking away a part of God’s law. We later find out what it meant. Three times the sheet came down, three men show up at his door. These three men were, according to the oral law (the fence law), unclean. Because of this, the Jews did not like to socialize with men like the men that showed up at Peter’s door. So when God says, “Do not call common what I have made clean” He is saying don’t call the men common whom I have made clean (you see this interpretation in Acts 10, specifically verse 28). You see, God’s law does not change – ever!  (Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, Isaiah 40:8, James 1:17, Psalm 102:25-27, 2 Timothy 2:13, Psalm 119:89, etc). 

So why do Christians eat pork today?

I believe they do this because they have been mislead and lied to; whether it be unintentional or intentional. People aren’t reading their Bibles for themselves. Because of this, the populace relies on their pastors; who rely on their particular denomination; who rely on the seminary; who rely on their “experts.” Lies can be handed down through the generations, and with no one to stop them, they can go on unchecked. As Peter said in 2 Peter 3:16 Paul is hard to understand, but so are others. If enough of these misunderstandings pile up with no answer, these problems can weaken certain members of the Faith and cause those who follow (as Paul said) The Way to stumble. We must not let that happen. If Jesus, Paul, Peter and the other disciples thought it absolutely necessary to follow the whole Bible, then we must too.

~SonofYHWH

Sources:

https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/1033.html

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_timothy/4-3.htm

https://www.119ministries.com/teachings/video-teachings/detail/can-we-eat-all-things-1-timothy-4/

24 thoughts on “Does The Bible Say That We Should Not Eat Pork? What Does That Mean For Christ Followers Today?”

    1. Hey Colton! Thank-you for waiting for my reply.
      I can see where the author of the article, Samuel Mills, is coming from and I appreciate the effort he put into it. However, I have a few problems with it:
      1. Mills says that we replace Israel. That is replacement theology. Replacement theology is not in scripture. Mills uses 1 Peter 2:9 as proof; however, if we go back to the first verse of the letter, we see to whom Peter is writing:
      “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus Galatia Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.”
      We see that Peter is writing to the scattered exiles. Who are these scattered exiles?
      When God divorced Israel and gave the certificate of divorce (Jeremiah 3), the House of Israel (Northern kingdom) was scattered a few years later when they were taken into Assyria (722BC). These tribes were also known as “The lost sheep of the House of Israel” and “The ten lost tribes” who are actually for whom Jesus came (Matthew 15:24). So, Peter was writing to Israel. Those of us that believe that Jesus is our Messiah have been grafted into Israel and thus we are included in Peter’s audience. If we believe that we are grafted into Israel (Romans 11:11-31, Ephesians 2), then God’s Kingdom rules for His people apply to us as well.

      2. Mills says that in Mark 7:19, the words in the brackets prove that Jesus declared all foods clean. It is interesting to note that although those words are in many of our English bibles today, they are not in other English translations including the KJV nor are they in the Greek interlinear Bible. So, I am not sure where the translators are getting that bracketed phrase. But even if we were to assume that they were in the Greek, here is an interesting conundrum for Mills and those who believe as he does. In Mark 7:17, it says that the disciples asked Jesus about the parable spoken just a little bit beforehand. But who was the disciple that asked this question? Well, it says in Mathew 15:15 that the disciple that asked that question was Peter. Thus, if anyone should have understood Jesus’ answer to the disciples, it should have been Peter; especially since he was the one that asked the question! If Jesus was saying that people could now eat unclean meats (such as pork), then why was Peter still not eating unclean meat 8-10 years after Christ’s resurrection (Acts 10)?

      3. “Jesus makes the point that with his arrival, the Old Testament rituals no longer have the same power…” If you believe this, and would like me to believe this, then please show me it in scripture.

      4. Mills implied that because Jesus said that it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean rather what comes out of a man, Jesus is saying that we can now eat unclean meats including pork. The problem is that Mills has to read his own interpretation into the Scripture to come to that conclusion…it is not Scripturally supported.

      There was, however, a hand washing requirement that the Pharisaic Rabbinic leaders of the time had put up that was actually unbiblical. 119 Ministries has some insightful thoughts concerning the subject:
      “In Yeshua’s (Jesus’) day there was much debate on whether food (Greek word: broma) considered clean by God’s Word could be made unclean. Yeshua (Jesus) dealt with this issue in Mark 7, surrounding the Pharisee tradition of forcing and compelling others to wash their hands before eating. One who did not wash his hands according to the prescribed method defiled his food and made it unclean, according to the man made “oral law.” Again, there is a difference between commandments of men and commandments of God.”
      5. “But like any literary text, we need to read it in context. We can’t just pluck out a sentence and automatically assume it’s talking to us.”
      I like this paragraph because it is very true. Unfortunately, I think Christians, as a community, tend to do this more than they should.
      Now, about Romans 14:14-15.
      It appears that Paul in Romans 14:14 is going back to Mark 7:18 and the handwashing debate that I discussed above.
      Paul in Romans 14:15 is talking about meat sacrificed to idols. If you read this post, you would see that the Greek word “food” is “bromaton” which basically is clean food as outlined in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
      Now, meat sacrificed to idols did not have to be unclean. They could sacrifice a cow or sheep instead. Today, this may be the same concept as the Islamic halal (which is meat killed in a particular way so as to make it appropriate for their god). Even though many may choose not to eat meat sacrificed to idols because they may feel as though they are participating in that particular idol’s worship, the Bible does not prohibit the consumption of meat sacrificed to idols.
      Please note that I am by no means condoning the participation in pagan cultic temple worship! Not in the least! However, if we do not know whether the food is sacrificed to idols, it is not wrong to eat of it; unless, of course, it causes our brother to stumble (Romans 14:15).
      You never told me your thoughts on Romans 14. What are they?

      Like

  1. There was an error. So I had to go to your blog site. It also did not let me reply. So.

    “Iman,
    1. I believe everything that is written in the Law, the Prophets, and the Messianic Writings (commonly known as the New Testament).
    2. I believe that the whole Bible is still true and applicable to our lives.
    3. I believe that all scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching.

    Many people “cherry pick” the Bible. They decide what they want to believe and decide that they can reject the rest. They may chose to take a verse out of context and build a doctrine around it. I however, believe that if you believe that the Bible is true, than ALL of it is true. If the Bible is true, then creation is true. If the Bible is true, then God saying that His Laws are forever for all generations is true. If the Bible is true, Then Jesus dying and raising from the dead for our transgressions is true.
    And God’s word is truth.
    ~SonofYHWH”

    Ah. Finally, someone with my vocab. Context. Cherry-picking. Okay. Though i like how you want things to be taken as contextual as they be even if it goes against many human made doctrines/denominations, you have taken many verses and terms put of context (the word law, for example is used in many different contexts in the Bible) and you seem to have subscribed yourself to the hebraic root view of the Bible. So, context off and following a already instituted view of the Bible.

    Okay. So. How many covenants (agreement between God and human) are there in the Bible? Is there only one? Or are there more than one?

    Be patient. I am going somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are more than one.
      1. The covenant between God and mankind not to flood the world again.
      2. The covenant(s) with Abraham.
      3. The covenant with David.
      4. The covenant with Israel at Sinai.
      5. The New covenant (which, according to the Bible (Jeremiah 31:31-34), are not in yet…we still have to tell other to know the LORD).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, not sure I understand your comment. Are you saying that because God covered Adam and Eve with animal skins (that we assume He killed) He was breaking His Law not to murder?

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  2. Well…I guess I am kind of saying that.

    But what I don’t get is why people make a HUGE thing about something simple, such as not eating pork…
    Is it a sacred animal?? I don’t eat pork, and I do believe we should not eat it but I actually don’t understand why

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, well, to explain your first question, murder is not killing. Killing is when life I removed from the being; murder is when a person kills another person after a pre- meditating, planning, or conceiving the killing; it is willful and purposefully talking the life from a human. God killing the animals does not break His Law in the same way that you or anyone else killing an animal would.
      To answer your second question, the reason people make such a big deal about pork varies, but for a lot of people (Christians especially) is that pork is cheap and they like the taste. They don’t want anyone (not even God) to tell them what they can and cannot eat; its always been this way, even since the beginning (Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit).
      The reason I made this post is because someone posted a question concerning this topic on my Bible Questions page. I was more than happy to make a post on it, though, because this topic deals with so much more than pork. In Leviticus 11, God tells His children that if they wish to be His people, they have to abstain from certain foods. Pork is only one of many listed, but it gets highlighted today because people are prideful and refuse to bow to God and serve Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
      No one can really say why God wants us to do certain Laws (unless he tells us why), but we know today through modern science that pigs (from which pork comes) have a high toxicity level as well as a very high number of parasites living inside them. Pigs also don’t sweat, and thus, they cannot detoxify. Pigs are also scavenger animals, meaning that they go around and eat garbage – including the dead and dying…they will even eat their own offspring and kind. Pigs were never meant to be eaten. Their purpose, along with the other unclean animals from Leviticus 11 was to clean up the Earth.
      Gos’s people were to keep these Laws to be a light unto the nations. You can see how good God is in that He would tell us not to eat these creatures.
      What are your thoughts?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Here are is what I say: Pork is a a powerhouse of essential vitamins and minerals — just three ounces of cooked lean pork covers you for more than a third of the daily requirement for thiamin, niacin, selenium and vitamin B6. Plus it is rich in vitamin B12, potassium, iron, magnesium and zinc.

    Alright!! That was easy, right?? Not so much..
    What religion does not allow you to eat pork? One of the most distinctive food practices in both Judaism and Islam is the avoidance of pork products. In Judaism, the prohibition has been a way of showing Jewish identity and of challenging it.
    Is it against God’s law to eat pork? Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitions constitute taboos. Many food taboos and other prohibitions forbid the meat of a particular animal, including mammals, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, fish, molluscs, crustaceans and insects, which may relate to a disgust response being more often associated with meats than plant-based foods.[1] Some prohibitions are specific to a particular part or excretion of an animal, while others forgo the consumption of plants or fungi.
    Other than that..I agree that we should not eat pork…

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  4. Smh….I look up my facts. I also happen to a adoptive dad, who knows a lot about good health and so on…
    He happens to be a PA……I don’t copy my research, I look it up,I read it, and then I do a sumary…What about you?? What do you do??

    Like

    1. It appears that you have copied your facts. I found the link for the first part of the second paragraph. Here it is:
      https://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_why_does_the_bible_prohibit_eating_pork/
      And as for the second part, it also appears that you copied it as you left the hyperlink/quoting numeral in your comment.
      If you have plagiarized, you should admit it and give the link.
      To answer this comment, though, just because pork is not all bad, certainly does not make it good. Do you see what I mean?
      In your next comment you said that your adopted Dad was a PA. This is irrelevant. Just because your Dad might know about health doesn’t mean that pork is healthy and it certainly doesn’t mean that the Bible says that you can eat it (which is the point of this post).
      Also, please be respectful as you converse.

      Like

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