• Why does God hate pork and shrimp? (Understanding OT food laws)

Why does God hate pork and shrimp? (Understanding OT food laws)

Hi Dojo readers,

As you may or may not know, one of the primary ministries of Disciple Dojo is our weekly #RuthsChrisBibleStudy that I have been leading here in Charlotte for about 3 years now. We began in Genesis 1 and have taught through both Genesis and Exodus chapter by chapter (most of which are available to watch on Disciple Dojo’s YouTube channel or download the podcast of via iTunes or SoundCloud).

We are currently about a third of the way through Leviticus and today we began discussing what is, for most people, one of the oddest things about the Old Testament–the dietary laws.


Seriously…why does God hate porkchops or bacon-wrapped shrimp??

Can any food really be an “abomination”??

Why does the Bible say that bats are birds, when they are clearly mammals??

Why does the Bible teach that rabbits “chew the cud” when they are not ruminants and thus do not even have compartmentalized stomachs that produce cud to be chewed??

When Jesus and Paul declared that food was not “unclean”, were they abolishing God’s Word??

Christians don’t follow OT dietary laws…so why do we care about following the other laws in the OT that we pick and choose to follow??

Why does God even care what people eat to begin with???

These are just a few of the questions people have when they first encounter the Biblical dietary laws of Leviticus 11 (and Deuteronomy 14). So it’s important at the outset that we orient ourselves properly and understand these laws first in their original cultural context, and then through the lens of the later Prophets and ultimately through the Gospel of Israel’s Messiah proclaimed in the New Testament.

That was the purpose of today’s session. Here is the video for those who could not be there or anyone who’s ever wondered about the food laws of the Old Testament:

[ps: If you enjoyed this teaching, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel or podcast! It really helps when people do!]


The issue of OT food laws is just one aspect of the larger question regarding the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. For an overview of this question, see the video below from a Q&A session I did at my home church a few years ago:

"Do Christians keep the Ten Commandments?"

Posted by James-Michael Smith on Thursday, July 1, 2010


For further study on the food laws of the Old Testament see the following resources:

Leviticus 1-16 (AYBC) – Jacob Milgrom / Leviticus (CC) – Jacob Milgrom
The Book of Leviticus (NICOT) – Gordon Wenham

Leviticus (NIB) – Walter Kaiser
Leviticus (Interp) – Samuel Balentine
Leviticus (TOTC) – R.K. Harrison

Deuteronomy (UBCS) – Christopher Wright
Old Testament Ethics for the People of God – Christopher Wright
Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament – Christopher Wright 

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