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I am very new to Christanity and so kindly bear with me if my question appears novice. I want to know what is the ruling on eating pork in Christianity as per Bible?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Affable Geek, El'endia Starman Aug 1 at 16:32

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Different denominations have different answers. Are you wondering about a specific denomination? –  Andres Riofrio Jul 25 '13 at 7:36
    
possible duplicate of Do we have to obey the laws of the bible? If so, what laws? –  Narnian Apr 15 at 20:28

10 Answers 10

Unlike Judaism, Christianity has no rule prohibiting (or commanding) the eating of pork. In fact, in Acts 10:9-16, Peter has a vision where a sheet is lowered from Heaven with "all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds" on it. He is then commanded to get up, kill, and eat the animals. To this, Peter is shocked and replies that he has never eaten anything unclean (as per the Judaic Law). To this, God replies:

Acts 10:15 (NLT)
15 But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.”

There is of course a deeper meaning, but on the surface, God is telling Peter that nothing is unclean now (that is, no animals are unclean). This includes pigs and pork, so eating bacon and the like is perfectly acceptable (and happens quite often in the United States) among Christians. Another piece of support is that the four things still considered prohibited for Christians are listed in Acts 15:

Acts 15:29 (NLT)
29 You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.

None of these four actions apply to typical ways to consume pork. So, as a Christian, it is perfectly fine to eat pork.


As noted by waxeagle in a comment, not all Christians consider it acceptable to eat pork. Some sects maintain a kosher lifestyle whereas others abstain from meat entirely. However, these don't compose a significant portion of Christianity. The best course of action is to ask the Christian group you're part of.

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should probably note that there are some sects that still maintain a kosher lifestyle, namely parts of Messianic Judaism (not sure if it's across the board, and some sects that require vegetarianism (7th day adventists among others). Both of these groups abstain from pork (or meat all together) –  wax eagle Jun 23 '12 at 23:37
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But I am confused withe these taken from Bible: "And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you" "Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch, they are unclean to you." [Leviticus 11:7-8] "And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you. Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass." [Deuteronomy 14:8]. Bible is clearly prohibiting Pork. –  gpuguy Jun 25 '12 at 12:36
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Don't forget about Mark's editorial comment (Mk 7:19): "Thus [Jesus] declared all foods clean." –  mojo Jun 25 '12 at 12:37
    
But in the Gospel According to Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus is reported to have said quite the contrary, as follows: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law . . . ." –  gpuguy Jun 25 '12 at 12:40
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Regarding food sacrificed to idols, Paul says (1 Co 8, NASB), "we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat." It seems the abiding principle here relates to whether in bothers our consciences. Paul talks more of this in 1 Co 10. –  mojo Jun 25 '12 at 13:17

@gpuguy, Jesus finished with "...until all is accomplished." Since he didn't go into detail about accomplishment, it might be a point of debate as to what this means. The two ideas I've considered are:

  1. the end of time

    Based on other things, like what you've mentioned, it would be complicated to reconcile this statement with others that seem to say that the Mosaic law doesn't apply to us. It would seem that there is some sort of contradiction between being bound by the law and being freed from the law.

  2. Jesus' mission on earth is finished.

    Whereas, if the accomplishment referred to Jesus' mission as a man (cf. Jn 19:30, "It is finished."), it is very straightforward (for me) to reconcile this with Jesus' own statements and those of Paul concerning the old law and the "new way." Jesus death (and eventual resurrection) has some strong suggestions that the Mosaic law ("the law of sin and death," as Paul says it; Ro 8:2) is a thing of the past, like the veil in the temple being torn in two. Jesus came to fulfill the law (which might, in itself, suggest that the law was no longer needed).

Jesus created a new covenant, separate and distinct from the Mosaic law.

Jeremiah 31:31 (NASB)
"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,

Luke 22:19-20 (NASB)
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood."

Paul asserts that the Law is good and had a purpose, but that it has been superseded:

Romans 8:2 (NASB)
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

I'm willing to entertain arguments about how we (all Christians) are still bound by the Mosaic law, but they would need to address the requirement to obey all of the law, including animal sacrifices (which seem completely unnecessary since Jesus is our once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice), temple worship, etc.

(EDIT:Added Conclusion)
To specifically address the question of whether Christians should abstain from eating pork: There's no reason why they should abstain, since the Christians are not under the Mosaic law.

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Please excuse my comments to this answer as I was in a middle of a debate when typing them. My opinion is not relevant to the question.

Simply Jesus permits the food.

Mark 7:17-19 NIV

17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

AND

Matthew 15:10-20 ESV

What Defiles a Person

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides.[c] And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?[d] 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

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Act 10, Peter's vision was about MEN, not food. The whole point of the vision was that gentiles were to be included in the covenant, not to change non-food to food. The bottom line is this: Christians are supposed to be Christlike. If Jesus did it, we do it. If He didn't we don't.

Act 10:28 says ‘’ And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean’’.

So you can all see that it was not referring actually to food but Men because it was a vision. And No records in the bible that the Jesus Christ or His Disciples ate Pork Meat. Some Christians just reading the bible half way, read full chapter before concluding on issues.

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Welcome to C.SE. This would be a great comment to the answer that suggests that Acts 10 doesn't declare all food clean (I tend to agree with your argument), but you don't actually answer the original question of can you eat pork. When you get a chance, check out the FAQ for what makes a good answer: christianity.stackexchange.com/faq –  Greg Mar 5 '13 at 5:46

Acts 10 is about men--not food. Even Peter declares he has never eaten unclean food. This is obviously after everything Jesus accomplished on Earth during his first coming. This should be an obvious clue that Jew and Gentile alike are still under Mosaic Law. As to how the Law pertains to sacrifices, it specifically states who is to perform the sacrifices and where (God's Temple). He allowed his temple to be destroyed after Jesus returned to heaven which means we cannot perform those sacrifices. That is why Jesus came, to be the ultimate sacrifice.

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This is good. Could be better if you quoted the Bible verses you are mentioning. edit this answer to make it better. –  fredsbend May 16 '13 at 22:19
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Does not Paul indicate that we are not, in fact, under law? –  Narnian Jul 24 '13 at 18:18
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Christians cannot be under the Mosaic Law because the Mosaic Law (Old Covenant) is no longer binding upon men after death (for the same reason a woman is no longer considered an adulterer if she marries another man if her former husband has died). Since a man dies in Christ and is born again, the Old Covenant is no longer binding. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jul 25 '13 at 6:21
    
Of course Jesus was offered up as the ultimate sacrifice, sufficient for all time. And of course He was sacrificed under the paradigm of Mosaic Law, where blood must be spilled for the remission of sin, but that does not mean that we are still under Mosaic Law, because if we have had the one ultimate and ever-sufficient sacrifice for all the World's sin, then why are we still bound to obey the Law of Moses? –  Ztucker Jan 14 at 17:23

There are few verses that mention that one shall not consume the flesh of swine:

“Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch, they are unclean to you.” [Leviticus 11:7-8]

Pork is also prohibited in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy

“And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you. Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.” [Deuteronomy 14:8]

A similar prohibition is repeated in the Bible in the book of Isaiah chapter 65 verse 2-5.

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Welcome to C.SE, and I appreciate the scriptural support. That said, one could argue in light of Acts 10 & Acts 15 (above), above, that these rules no longer apply. How do you account for these? –  Affable Geek Jul 24 '13 at 18:14
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Yeah, this affirms that the Law forbade the consumption of pork. This question, however, was about Christianity. –  Narnian Jul 24 '13 at 18:17
    
Welcome to the site. We are always happy to have new participants. This answer is okay, though, the topic requires much more. The idea of eating clean and unclean animals goes all the way from Genesis to Acts. You have only covered the Law. I think you probably don't need the help to see what this site is about so I will skip some of that and just say that the best way to see what good answers look like is to read them. Find questions that interest you and see how others have answered them. Welcome again and I hope to see you more. –  fredsbend Jul 24 '13 at 18:34

Some Christians eat Pork. Some Christians like me don't. You may ask why do I obey dietary laws? Let me state my reasons.

Malachi 3:6 - "I the Lord do not change."

Hebrews 13:8 - "Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever."

We see Jesus Christ saying this in John 10:30 - "I and the Father are one."

Since Father and Son are one, we know that the son Jesus Christ cannot reject the teachings of his Father God.

Also remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

But you may ask what about Mark chapter 7:18 where Jesus says "Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?"

We have to notice one major thing while we read this. Jesus Christ said this to the Pharisee Jews and other Jews who were with Pharisees. Not to the Gentiles.

On the top of this, Jesus was a Jew and he didn't break a single commandment of Torah.

This is what Jesus said to Jews - Whatever they eat goes into their stomach and then out of the body. But what comes out of them is what defiles them, because it comes from their hearts. Not from their stomachs.

We read this in Mark 7:21-23 - "For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

In Mark 7:3-4 - "The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles."

We read that Pharisees and other Jews favored the tradition of elders over Torah. Through favoring their traditions of the elders, they have set aside the commands of God.

In Mark 7:8-9, Jesus says this.

Mark 7:8-9 - "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!"

Through their so called traditions, Pharisees and other Jews tried to make themselves very clean "outwardly". But through "inwardly", they have defiled themselves through their evil natures - adultery, murder, theft, fornication, etc.

They have defiled themselves "inwardly" because they nullified the word of God through their so called traditions.

Mark 7:10-13 (NIV) - "For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

We also have to understand that the generation of Jews during the time of Jesus was extremely evil.

We see Jesus calling them "wicked (or sinful) and adulterous generation." (Matthew 12:39, Matthew 16:4, Mark 8:38, etc.). We also see Jesus calling people in that generation that their father is devil (John 8:44) due to their evil nature. We also see Both Jesus Christ and John the Baptist calling them "offspring of vipers" (Matthew 23, Luke 3).

Even Jewish Priest Josephus agrees with Jesus on the wickedness of that generation.

"I shall therefore speak my mind here at once briefly: — that neither did any other city suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world." (Jewish Wars V, 10:5).

In Mark 7:6-7, we see Jesus Christ mentioning Prophet Isaiah and his prophesy when he tells this to Pharisees and teachers of the law.

It must be noted that we read this in Isaiah 66:17 - “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one who is among those who eat the flesh of pigs, rats and other unclean things—they will meet their end together with the one they follow,” declares the Lord."

But you may ask what about Peter's vision in Acts Chapter 10?

Acts 10:9-16 – “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.”

When it comes to a vision or a dream, We should not take them literally. This is because it can have figurative or symbolic meanings.

Let me take an example from Genesis Chapter 41. When Pharaoh saw the dreams in his sleep, he knew these dreams should not be taken literally. He knew these dreams had a figurative or a symbolic meaning. That's why he called in Magicians and Wise Men of Egypt to interpret the dreams. Later, we see Pharaoh calling for Joseph to interpret the dreams when others failed to interpret them.

We see Joseph interpreting the dreams to Pharaoh in Genesis 41:25-27 (NIV) "Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine."

Through this, we learn that a dream or a vision can have symbolic or figurative meanings.

Acts 10:17 - "While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate."

So we see that Peter was wondering about what the vision really meant instead of taking it literally.

The meaning of Peter's vision is that Peter should not call Gentiles as unclean or impure.

We understand the meaning of Peter's vision in Acts 10:27-28.

In Acts 10:27-28 - "While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean."

Through Jesus Christ, the salvation is also open to Gentiles. So Peter’s vision in Acts 10 has nothing to do with God’s dietary laws.

So I believe it is absolutely necessary for the Christians to keep the dietary laws.

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If I may speak from my convictions, Acts 10, while a fun story is not the definitive passage on this issue. Neither is Matthew 15:11-20, though I do love teaching that passage to middle school boys :) No, Paul wrote the treatise on clean and unclean foods in Romans 14.

Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions. One person believes in eating everything, but the weak person eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not despise the one who does not, and the one who abstains must not judge the one who eats everything, for God has accepted him. Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (vv1-4)

But you who eat vegetables only – why do you judge your brother or sister? And you who eat everything – why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (v10)

I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in itself; still, it is unclean to the one who considers it unclean. For if your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy by your food someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you consider good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people. (vv14-17)

So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. For although all things are clean, it is wrong to cause anyone to stumble by what you eat. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything that causes your brother to stumble. (vv19-21)

New English Translation, 2008

Here is Paul, a former Pharisee, declaring that there is no food that is unclean (vv14a, 20a) unless the person eating it or watching someone eat it thinks it is unclean. Even then it not "unclean" as much as it is a stumbling block to those for whom eating that food seems wrong.

To summarize Paul, if a person wants to eat any kind of meat (except that offered to false idols), let them eat it to the glory of God. Those that don't think they should eat a certain type of food, let them abstain to the glory of God. If God is pleased, great! If God is not, He will deal with the one who needs correcting. It is not our job to correct, condemn, judge, or ostracize a person over their dietary habits if their heart is in the right place. There are much bigger things in the Kingdom to worry about. Paul sums up the whole argument so succinctly in v20: "Don't destroy the work of the Kingdom over some barbecue and shrimp." (my paraphrase).

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I am a Christian and I have read the bible and all the verses above regarding consumption of pork. We were eating pork before we were even Christian and so we will continue to eat pork, if it were sinful to eat pork then I rather to have sinned than not to have sinned by eating what I do not like ... peace to all

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Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with the quality of your answer, it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites? –  David Stratton Dec 10 '13 at 5:35
    
A better answer would address the verses more directly and with better support. –  Affable Geek Dec 10 '13 at 14:57

If we are to obey ALL the laws of Moses, why would we believe that we need salvation through Christ? I mean when God gave the Law to Moses, he was only preparing the way for his Son to come into the World (many citations from Isaiah come to mind, and later, John the Baptist saying, "one greater than me is coming whom I am not worthy to untie the sandal of.")

It's really a debatable topic, because there are verses that speak to both sides. I think it is a personal choice. I myself avoid all meat including pork during lent (except fish).

It's my hat tip to the Mosaic law.

And I think the verse in Acts where God tells Peter to "rise, kill and eat" was mainly for the benefit of the Gentiles who had a long tradition of eating swine in first-century Palestine; the Jews are still under the Law. But if they profess to be Christians, then they are obviously not bound to the Law.

I love pork and ham. It's the sweetest of all the meats, and I revel in the ability to be able to eat it without spiritual consequences.

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