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Clean and Unclean Meats (Facilitator's Guide)

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Clean and Unclean Meats (Facilitator's Guide)

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Facilitator’s Guide

This Facilitator’s Guide is intended to assist the facilitator in leading the discussion of a group on the following topic.  It is not meant to give an exhaustive review of the topic, but rather give pointers from the Bible.  To that end we have inserted a few comments and Bible verses that are relevant to the discussion – this may help get the discussion started. For a more comprehensive study of this topic see the related online resources at the end of this guide.


When you decide to put God first, every facet of your life is affected.  For example you eventually learn that the Word of God, the Bible, even contains dietary principles. This study guide will lead you to discover biblical principles pertaining to which food God designated to be good for our health.

Evidence from Scripture

1 Corinthians 3:17 1 Corinthians 3:17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
American King James Version×
“If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

1 Corinthians 6:19 1 Corinthians 6:19What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?
American King James Version×
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (20) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

1. What do these verses teach us about how we are to treat our bodies?

Webster’s revised unabridged dictionary defines the term glorify, “To make glorious in thought or with the heart, by ascribing glory to; to acknowledge the excellence of; to render homage to; to magnify in worship; to adore.” By not defiling our body (temple), we are giving honor to and glorifying God.

2. What does it mean to defile the temple of God?

1 Corinthians 3:17 1 Corinthians 3:17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
American King James Version×
says that our body is the “temple” of the Holy Spirit (which we receive after baptism). To defile the temple would be to make it unclean, to taint, or to pollute. One way this can be done is by the consumption of unclean food (meats which God declared to not be consumed by humans).  Another way is by eating things that are unhealthy for the body.   Daniel sets an example for us in Daniel 1; he refuses to eat the king’s food. Daniel 1:8 Daniel 1:8But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
American King James Version×
, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies.” Some other ways the temple can be defiled are by tattoos, body piercings, and smoking.

3. How does one glorify God in his body?

In reading Genesis 1, we know that God created the human body. Genesis 1:27 Genesis 1:27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
American King James Version×
, “So God created man in His own image.” One definition of “glorify” is to acknowledge the excellence of (Webster’s Revised Unabridged). We should recognize God’s amazing creation (our body) and want to care for it accordingly. God tells us which animals are clean (fit for human consumption) and which are unclean (not to be eaten) in Leviticus 11. When we choose to obey God by following his dietary commands, we are glorifying Him.

4. How do these verses apply to what food to eat? defines the term defile as “to make foul, dirty or unclean; pollute; taint.” It further describes the verb as “to make impure or to desecrate.” 1 Corinthians 3:17 1 Corinthians 3:17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
American King James Version×
says “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God shall destroy him. For the temple of God is holy.” These verses do apply to diet, for the reason that when one consumes unclean food they are defiling the temple of God (their body).

5. Why should holiness affect what one eats?

In Leviticus 11 God says that to “be holy” one must avoid the unclean. In Deuteronomy 14 Israel was told not to eat “any detestable thing” (verse 3), “for you are a holy people to the Lord your God” (verse 2, 21). To be holy means to be set apart by God.

6. What is bad about eating scavengers and animals killed by predators?

Scavengers (i.e. buzzards, etc.) eat decaying flesh, or carrion. Predators usually prey on the weakest animal in the herd (often times the weakest is also disease-ridden). It is harmful to human health to consume these animals.

Leviticus 11:2 Leviticus 11:2Speak to the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which you shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
American King James Version×
“Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the animals which you may eat among all the beasts that are on the earth: (3) ‘Among the beasts, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud — that you may eat.’”

7. What animals are fit for human consumption?

Which Animals Does the Bible Designate as ‘Clean’ and ‘Unclean’?

8. List some common meats which are not fit for human consumption.

9. Can you think of any health reason why God would single out these animals as fit or unfit to eat?

God has declared which animals are clean and which ones are unclean; it is not up to us to decide for ourselves. To do our part, we must obey His commandments regarding clean and unclean meats.

Research has shown that humans are susceptible to the following allergic reactions when consuming shellfish: General allergic symptoms—occurring within a few minutes to a few hours of eating shellfish—include tingling and swelling in the mouth and throat; runny nose, sneezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, hives and difficulty breathing.

Further research has found additional health problems resulting from consumption of pork. Some known affects are: trichinosis, tapeworms, roundworms, salmonella, tuberculosis, etc.

Leviticus 11:9 Leviticus 11:9These shall you eat of all that are in the waters: whatever has fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall you eat.
American King James Version×
“ ‘These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers that you may eat. (10) ‘But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you. (11) ‘They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination.’”

10. Name some fish can man eat?

11. Make a list of seafood that should not be eaten.

12. Can man eat any bird he chooses? Are fowl such as chicken and ducks acceptable? Read verses 13-19, and comment on guidelines to judge which birds are edible.

In Leviticus 11:13-19 Leviticus 11:13-19 [13] And these are they which you shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, [14] And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; [15] Every raven after his kind; [16] And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, [17] And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, [18] And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, [19] And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
American King James Version×
God lists the unclean birds that are not fit for human consumption. These birds either feed on carrion (dead and decaying flesh) or are birds of prey. Since chicken and ducks are neither of these and are not listed on the unclean list, they are clean animals and can be eaten.

13. Does God also give instructions concerning insects, rodents, and reptiles? Read verses 20-23 and 29-31. Why do you think God is so specific?

God does give instructions regarding insects, rodents, and reptiles. Verses 20-23 and 29-31 are in reference to “creeping things” that go upon the earth. Verses 20-23 speak of flying creeping things (insects), and states that “every flying creeping thin that goes upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap with upon the earth” shall be clean. This includes types of locusts and grasshoppers. Other insects are stated as being unclean. Verses 29-31 are in reference to more creeping things that go upon all four paws. Verse 29 lists rodents (mouse, weasel, mole, etc) and reptiles (chameleon, lizard, tortoise, etc.) as being unclean.

Leviticus 3:17 Leviticus 3:17It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that you eat neither fat nor blood.
American King James Version×
“ ‘This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.’”

14. What kind of fat is this — animal or vegetable? Is it referring to “marbling” or that which surrounds the organs? Read verses 14-15 and comment.

This passage is not referring to “marbling” but rather to the fat covering animal organs. Verse 9 says “the fat that covers the inwards, and the fat that is upon the inwards.” This is repeated in verses 14-15. Marbling relates to intramuscular fat, not fat surrounding internal organs.

15. What foods has manmade that contain blood?

Black pudding (also known as blood pudding), kishka, boudin noir, and black soup are a few examples of international dishes containing blood.

Deuteronomy 14:21 Deuteronomy 14:21You shall not eat of anything that dies of itself: you shall give it to the stranger that is in your gates, that he may eat it; or you may sell it to an alien: for you are an holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
American King James Version×
“You shall not eat anything that dies of itself ….”

16. How can an animal die of itself?

An animal dies of itself from old age, disease, etc. An animal that has been slain does not “die of itself.”

Note: The matter of a proper and balanced diet is not the intent of this guide.  There is much more information and knowledge now from medical science and dieticians that positively add to this discussion of Clean and Unclean Meats.


1. What message does God give Christians concerning diet?

Isaiah 55:8-9 Isaiah 55:8-9 [8] For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. [9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
American King James Version×
states that “My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” Proverbs 14 tells us that God is our authority over our conduct; this includes our decisions regarding which foods are consumable (source: What Does the Bible Teach about Clean and Unclean Meats?). We are instructed to obey God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 11:27 Deuteronomy 11:27A blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
American King James Version×
). If our goal is to obey God and please Him, then part of doing so would be to follow His instruction concerning diet.

2. Do people in our culture teach the same principles regarding diet?

The answer is no, our society does not follow God’s dietary instruction. Not only does it encourage gluttony with so many “all you can eat” buffet restaurants, but society also consumes many different unclean foods. There are innumerable “delicacies” that are actually unclean meats (examples: calamari, escargot, etc.). Those who follow God’s dietary instruction know how meticulous they must be in reading product labels and when ordering at restaurants.

3. What dietary principle do you follow?

“Assignment” for participant(s)

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