Food Laws in the Bible: Their Significance Today?

Published on Apr 5, 2024
Category: Behold!

Read: Leviticus 11-12

I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground.  I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore, be holy, because I am holy.

Leviticus 11:44-45

God is holy and calls us to be holy!

Do Old Testament food regulations apply today? As early as the time of Noah, God made the distinction between clean and unclean animals. However, it is only in Deuteronomy that God specifies the kinds of clean and unclean animals. Some of the food laws may have protected Israel from the disease. But health cannot be the primary reason for these laws, because God has rescinded the food laws. Jesus in Mark 7:15 says Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.

And yet, at the end of the food laws, the running theme of Leviticus is reiterated. The Lord calls his people to be holy because He is holy. That is the crux of the matter.

The prohibition of certain foods as unclean was a temporary part of God’s way of making Israel distinct from the nations of the world. With the coming of Christ, God’s people, are no longer political-ethnic people like the Jews, but a global people, from every tribe and language ethnicity and race.

To be holy is to be set apart, to be consecrated for the Lord’s use. We live for His purposes, to worship Him the way He wishes to be worshipped. We are called to be slaves to righteousness, which leads to holiness (Romans 6:19).

What are you enslaved to? Would you ask God to create in you a clean heart?

How does the concept of holiness make Christians distinct from the rest of the world? What sins or behaviors do you need to confess and repent of to live a more holy life? What is one step you can take today to live a life that is more consecrated for the Lord’s use?


Lord, I confess my sins and behaviors that grieve your heart. Change my heart as only you can and create in me a clean heart, I pray, Amen.

Scripture Writing: Romans 6:19

Song: Create in Me a Clean Heart

Bible Verses: Holy/Holiness


Preethi Alice Jacob

Preethi Jacob is the author of the yearlong devotional At the Potter’s Wheel, Day by Day. Her journey includes teaching a Bible Study Fellowship class, teaching and leading the Sunday School ministry in her church, leading Bible studies, besides counselling young women. She serves on the Global Mission Team of the United Bible Societies and lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and two young adult children.

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