The Apple Of God's Eye

February 22, 2009

Is the Eating Of Unclean Meat Condoned In NT Times?

In I Corinthians 10:27 it says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.” For many, this seems to clearly indicate that God now allows the eating of unclean meats. But if you carefully observe the context of the subject under discussion, you will find that this verse is actually addressing whether it is appropriate to eat meat that has been offered to idols.

We have to understand that Paul was speaking to newly converted Corinthians, whose daily ritual comprised sacrificing to various idols. The sacrificed meat from the pagan temples was usually eaten by the person who brought it. But if any was left over, the priests would sell to the local butchers.

Paul was teaching the Corinthians to abstain from these pagan sacrifices to devils (I Cor. 10:20), which was a sin. But, as he told them, there was no special significance to either the idols [made of wood or stone], or the meat that was being offered to them (v. 19). Therefore, the Corinthians did not need to ask if the meat they were buying at the market, or eating at the home of a non-believer, had been offered to idols. In fact, Christians were admonished not to ask, “for conscience’ sake” if the meat they were served had been sacrificed to an idol, as then eating it made them appear to compromise their beliefs.

Paul deemed the history of the meat, tied to pagan idolatry, as irrelevant, not the eating of unclean meats. This distinction must be made clear, as God’s dietary laws of Leviticus 11 are still applicable today.

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