Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

What are we allowed to
eat or not to eat

QUESTION:

In the book of Mark 7:1-23 is Jesus addressing the question of what we should and should not eat or what?

Bongani

ANSWER:

Bongani,

I thank you for your question. The quick question is that Jesus is not teaching about food, but rather the inner condition of human nature. 

In order to clarify, here is some background. The Pharisees were antagonists against Christ. They had made up many religious rules and regulations that people had to follow. They insisted that to be accepted by God, people had to follow these outward rules. For example, they had to go through a ceremonial process of cleansing their hands a certain way before they ate (7:3). The Pharisees also regulated the kind of food people could eat. These made up rules were different than the true teachings of the Old Testament, which is the exclusive Word of God (along with the New Testament). 

Jesus came along, and He and his disciples ignored those teachings of the Pharisees, which made them very angry. Jesus scolded them. His point was that the Pharisees put their focus on outward appearances and rules that they thought would make them right with God. However, Jesus said their hearts were far from God (7:6). He said they were wrong.

Jesus went on to say that eating correct food, and observing outward ceremonies and rules did not address the real problem of humanity, which is the wicked inner heart condition, or basic nature of people. In other words, eating or not eating of certain food cannot cure the wicked things mentioned in verses 20-23. Regarding food, the writer specifically states, “Thus He declared all foods clean” (7:19). 

In other portions of Scripture, Jesus said that to fix the human condition we have to be spiritually born again through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:1-19; Romans 3:9-28). God is more interested in our hearts or inner motives and desires than our outward religious ceremonies, rules, or works. The Holy Spirit works in our hearts to change us from the inside out.

Hope this helps, Bongani.

All the best, and God bless,

Dr. Newman

PS. By the way, you show a keen interest in the things of God. I ask you to consider enrolling in Newman Bible Academy to further understand the Bible and things of God.

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