The subject of nutrition, as we think of it today, is not directly mentioned in the Bible. In other words, the Bible doesn’t talk about calories and the balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates a person needs. Furthermore, the foods that people ate in the Bible can drastically vary from the foods we eat today. Due to this, few people have considered that the Bible is an authoritative and reliable source of dietary information.
However, God is our all-knowing teacher. He did speak in the Bible about health in ways we can still apply it today. It conveys numerous health principles both by direct command and examples. Modern dietary science and research verify that the information it contains is accurate and beneficial. That’s only logical since God, who designed of our bodies, knows what we should eat. Here is what the Bible has to say about our diets.
What does the Bible say about health?
First of all, the Bible encourages us to care for our bodies, and good nutrition is included as a part of that. God cares about His children’s physical comfort and well-being (Exodus 22:27). Paul further argues that, since a believer’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, that we should free from anything which harms the body such as sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18–20). This argument can be carried over to other issues, including drug and alcohol abuse and how we treat food. Food is fuel. It is not meant to be used purely for pleasure, or we could eat nothing but chocolate and cheese pizza and be healthy. Food is meant for nutrition and good health. If we want to glorify God in our lives, then we have to be healthy doing so.
Is eating unhealthy a sin?
The Bible is far more concerned with how much we eat than what foods Christians eat. Physical appetites are an analogy of our ability to control ourselves. If we are unable to control our eating habits, we are probably also unable to control other bad habits such as lust, anger or being unable to keep our mouths from gossip. As Christians, are not to let our appetites control us, but rather we are to control them (Deuteronomy 21:20; Proverbs 23:2; 2 Peter 1:5-7; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Corinthians 10:5).
If we are overweight it came about not suddenly, but rather “little by little”. When we choose to eat unhealthy, we pack on the pounds before we even realize it. Each day we over indulge until we become further from the Lord, because we are placing a love of food over Him. This problem can be tackled with the Lord’s help and He will give us the power to trim down. As we seek the Lord and ask for His help in this area, He will not fail us. He will give us the strength to overcome gluttony and over indulgence or other bad eating habits.
Can we use our body to serve God?
Our bodies can be considered machines that carry us from place to place as we carry out the work God has planned for us (Ephesians 2:10). An unhealthy body will make us slow, lethargic, and prone to illness and injury. When we have a poor diet, we are less likely to get up and do the things that God wants us to do. For example, you might feel too tired to go to Bible Study, or spend all of your time at church service thinking about what brunch meal you will have after. This tears us away from serving God.
Good nutrition is crucial for proper brain function and hormonal balance. Eating the right food contributes highly to our ability to think clearly and to our general quality of life. Therefore, good nutrition can help support our service for the Lord. It’s vital that we treat our bodies properly so that God can use us as a way to spread His Word.
Does the Bible provide a diet plan for us?
While the Bible doesn’t prescribe any specific diet plan, it does highlight the principle of balance—between healthy restraint and enjoyment of rich foods. In other words, make a habit of disciplined, healthy eating, but on occasion let yourself enjoy a feast of God’s good gifts. Looking forward to the feasts will help keep you going during the seasons of restraint. Interestingly, that distillation of the Bible’s wisdom on eating is the same conclusion that dieticians have reached after thousands of years of scientific research. In Scripture God truly does provide “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Does the Bible ban any foods?
Leviticus chapter 11 lists the dietary restrictions God gave to the nation of Israel. The dietary laws included prohibitions against eating pork, shrimp, shellfish and many types of seafood, most insects, scavenger birds, and various other animals. The dietary rules were never intended to apply to anyone other than the Israelites, which many Christians get mistaken.The purpose of the food laws was to make the Israelites distinct from all other nations. After this purpose had ended, Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19). God gave the apostle Peter a vision in which He declared that formerly unclean animals could be eaten: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 10:15). When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4). This includes the laws regarding clean and unclean foods. Therefore, we do not have to worry about any specific foods being banned from our diets.
Food is not our enemy, but it’s important that we pay attention to how we fuel our body. God wants us to enjoy His delicious gifts, but do so in a way that does not tear ourselves away from Him. Treating the body God gave you with kindness, love and respect is important so that we can then carry out His Will.