Should Christians eat whatever food is offered to them?

Author: BibleAsk Team

Food Offered to Idols

The apostle Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth gave instructions about food offered to guests. He said, If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake” (1 Corinthians 10:27). The above verse must be interpreted in its context. The subject here was a specific one dealing with the eating of meats sacrificed to idols.

It is with regard to this that the invited guest was asked to lay aside his scruples and happily eat the food provided for him. He is not to humiliate his host or place himself in a compromising position by asking questions as to whether the meat on the table had earlier been offered to the idols worshiped by his host.

When the believers at Paul’s time were reaching out for the non-believers, they were often invited to share a meal with them. This was an act of friendliness. And such occasions were used to witness for the Lord and to direct attention to the love of God and His plan for the salvation of man (John 3:16). Therefore, the believers were instructed to be careful as not to offend their guests and build barriers between them and the truth.

Clean Meats

1 Corinthians 10:27 does not approve the use of meats that were clearly forbidden in the Bible. These meats are listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. The meats that the believer should eat must be clean that he can conscientiously partake of without breaking God’s commands. If the meat meets God’s requirement, the believer may receive it with thanksgiving without asking questions in regard to his conscious (Romans 14:1).

The apostle Paul was addressing the question of the use of food that has been offered to idols, and didn’t address the propriety of foods from a nutrition and health concern. The Christian should realize that he must be wise in not eating the unclean meats that would be a danger to his physical well-being (Romans 12:1, 2).

Paul wrote, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). Man is the property of God by creation and by redemption. Therefore, he is to live mentally, physically, and spiritually to the glory of His name.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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