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Can Christians Eat Blood?

By David Kowalski

People occasionally ask whether or not Christians can eat blood (usually as more of a curiosity), and it is not effortlessly simple to answer since the first prohibition against eating blood comes before the Mosaic Law, and the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) handed down an admonition against it. To be brief, there are four main passages that relate to this topic:

"But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." (Genesis 9:4 ESV) "But should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood." (Acts 15:20 ESV)

"So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble." (Romans 14:19-21 ESV)

"Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations-"Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used)-according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. "(Colossians 2:16-23 ESV)

question markThe passage from Acts comes from the Jerusalem Council and scholars almost universally see this as a word of wisdom relating to table fellowship. For the Gospel to be spread effectively in a cross-cultural setting believers should do nothing that would be a stumbling block to others (see Romans 14).

We are certain from the larger context of the New Testament that we are not bound by the law's dietary regulations. It is true that the injunction against consuming blood was first given before the Mosaic law. Still, the Colossians Passage teaches that the morally neutral, outward regulations of the Old Testament, including Sabbath keeping (which has roots in pre-Law Genesis 2:2) are not binding on Christians.

The bottom line for all of us is to never violate our conscience. "Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). If we have doubts about an activity we should not do it. The conclusion of the matter for me is that I do not think it would be a sin to eat blood but I am not in the least tempted to do so!

© Copyright 2013, David Kowalski. All rights reserved. Links to this post are encouraged. Do not repost or republish without permission.

Written by David Kowalski

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This post was last updated: May. 19, 2013