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Eating Animals: What did Jesus say about Eating Animals

Jesus Himself did not directly address the act of eating animals in His recorded teachings in the Gospels. The dietary practices in the New Testament, including the consumption of animals, are more broadly discussed in the context of the early Christian community’s debates over Jewish dietary laws and the inclusion of Gentiles.

However, there are a few passages in the New Testament that indirectly relate to this issue by discussing food and Christian freedom:

  1. Mark 7:18-19: Jesus declared all foods clean in the context of a conversation with His disciples about purity laws. “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.)” This passage indicates that Jesus removed the dietary restrictions that were part of the Jewish law, implying that all foods, including animals, are permissible for consumption.
  2. 1 Timothy 4:3-4: This passage, although not directly from Jesus, reflects early Christian thought on food. “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,” This suggests that all foods, created by God, are good and can be eaten with thanksgiving.
  3. Acts 10:13-15: In a vision to Peter, which played a crucial role in the acceptance of Gentiles into the Christian faith, God declares all foods clean: “And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”” This passage further underscores the idea that the distinction between clean and unclean foods has been abolished in Christ.

Three Main Takeaways:

  1. Christian Freedom in Dietary Choices: The New Testament teachings, especially in the context of the early Church, emphasize freedom from the Old Testament dietary laws, suggesting that the choice to eat or abstain from animal products is a matter of personal conscience and cultural context rather than a specific command from Jesus.
  2. Gratitude and Prayer: Foods, including meat, are to be received with thanksgiving and prayer, recognizing God as the creator of all good things. This attitude transforms eating from a mere act of consumption to an act of worship and thankfulness.
  3. Love and Respect for Others: While the New Testament allows for freedom in dietary choices, it also calls for love and respect for the beliefs of others within the community. In situations where eating meat might cause another believer to stumble in their faith, Christians are encouraged to act out of love and possibly abstain (Romans 14:13-21), prioritizing the spiritual well-being of the community over personal freedom.


  • Greg Gaines

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