What Does the Bible Say About Eating Shrimp?

For hundreds of years, religious leaders and scholars have talked about and argued about the dietary rules in the Bible. In particular, many people are interested in the question of whether or not it is okay to eat shrimp. This article will look at what the Bible says about eating shrimp and what it says about other food restrictions as well.

Eating shrimp is a controversial topic for some Christians. While some believe it is acceptable, others view it as a sin. So what does the Bible really say about eating shrimp? Let’s take a comprehensive look.

Old Testament Laws

Several verses in the Old Testament law prohibit eating shrimp and other shellfish, Leviticus 11 9-12 states

“These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.”

Since shrimp do not have scales, they are considered “detestable” and “unclean” according to these verses. Similar prohibitions against shellfish are found in Deuteronomy 14:9-10.

So within the Law of Moses, eating shrimp was clearly prohibited. Those who strictly follow the Old Testament law today, such as Messianic Jews and Seventh Day Adventists, still avoid shellfish as a result. Most Christians, however, believe that certain aspects of the Old Testament law do not apply after Jesus’ death and resurrection. So what is the New Testament teaching on this issue?

New Testament Teaching

The New Testament introduces some key changes in how God’s people relate to the Old Testament law. Romans 10:4 declares that “Christ is the end of the law” and Ephesians 2:15 explains that Jesus abolished the law of commandments and regulations. The book of Hebrews explains that Jesus came as the fulfillment of the law and established a new covenant between God and his people.

So Christians are no longer required to follow regulations like the kosher dietary restrictions. These “shadow laws” find their fulfillment in Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). As Jesus declared in Mark 7:19, no food is unclean in itself. The kingdom of God is not defined by what you eat or avoid eating.

Several key events in the New Testament also signal a change in how God’s people should think about foods that were once considered “unclean.” In a vision to Peter, God declared, “What God has made clean, do not call common” (Acts 10:15). Peter concluded that God was telling him the dietary laws no longer applied. God confirmed this to Peter by giving the same vision three times.

Later in Acts 10, Peter goes to the home of a Roman centurion named Cornelius who was a Gentile (non-Jew). Normally it was unlawful for Jews to associate with uncircumcised Gentiles. But God gave Cornelius a vision telling him to invite Peter over. Peter then realizes that the Old Testament purity laws were meant to keep Jews and Gentiles separate, but now in Christ the dividing wall has been broken down (Ephesians 2). Through faith in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles are purified. As a result, Peter concludes “God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean” (Acts 10:28).

Paul affirms the same Christian freedom regarding food, saying “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself” (Romans 14:14). He teaches that what really matters is not avoiding certain foods but living righteously: “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

So the New Testament affirms that Christians are free to eat foods like shrimp that were once prohibited under the Mosaic Law.

Applying the Principle Today

How should Christians apply the biblical teaching on eating shrimp today? Here are a few key points:

  • The dietary restrictions were meant to set Israel apart, not establish universal regulations. Now that Christ has come, some of these laws are no longer binding.
  • In Christ, no food is unclean in itself or defiles a person. Purity comes through faith, not diet.
  • Christians should focus on righteousness, peace, and joy—not dietary rules.
  • It’s better to avoid a food if it causes others to stumble. But food itself shouldn’t become an idol.
  • Each Christian must follow their conscience. Resolve any doubts through prayer and Scripture.
  • Look to the wisdom of church leaders and biblical scholars. But ultimately Jesus, not food, defines your standing before God.

Some additional points of view deserve consideration:

  • While shrimp was “detestable” under the old covenant, many scholars don’t consider those verses binding today. Other verses, however, seem to indicate God’s eternal standards. So this is an example where Christians disagree on biblical interpretation.
  • Some view the Levitical household laws as still applicable, but ceremonial and civil laws as fulfilled in Christ. So moral aspects like sexual ethics remain, but ritual laws like diet are no longer binding.
  • Some reason that God knew shellfish were unhealthy, so he prohibited them under the Law of Moses. Today, with modern handling methods, they are safe to eat. So the health concerns no longer apply.
  • Certain sects like Seventh Day Adventists have an expanded view of Old Testament Law. So they continue to follow the dietary rules based on a different biblical understanding.

In the end, dubious matters like eating shrimp reveal our hearts more than establish doctrine. The way we approach debatable issues demonstrates our faith and love for others. Even when disagreeing, we should grant grace and freedom to hold differing views on secondary issues like diet. Unity around Christ remains central.

So that covers the main points on what the Bible says about eating shrimp! Let the Spirit guide you as you apply Scripture. Focus on listening to God and loving others, not just following rules. In Christ we have freedom, but also a duty to build each other up.

what does the bible say about shrimp

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For hundreds of years, religious leaders and scholars have talked about and argued about the dietary rules in the Bible. In particular, many people are interested in the question of whether or not it is okay to eat shrimp. This article will look at what the Bible says about eating shrimp and what it says about other food restrictions as well.

What Does the Bible Say About Eating Shrimp Really?

The Old Testament contains a variety of dietary laws that were given to the Israelites by God. These laws are explained in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. They say that you can’t eat certain kinds of meat, like pork and shellfish.

Only fish with fins and scales was thought to be clean enough to eat when it came to seafood. Shellfish, including shrimp, were deemed unclean and therefore prohibited.

Historically, these dietary laws were significant in helping the Israelites distinguish themselves from other cultures and religions. Some researchers also think that the dietary laws were good for the Israelites’ health because some foods were more likely to be contaminated or make them sick.

In the New Testament, Jesus teachings on dietary restrictions are more flexible than those in the Old Testament. As Jesus says in Mark 7:14–23, what makes someone unclean is not what goes into their mouth, but what comes out of their heart. This suggests that Jesus is more concerned with inner purity than outward adherence to dietary laws.

Still, early Christians didn’t all agree on whether or not to follow the dietary rules in the Old Testament. In Acts 15, the apostles and elders got together to talk about this problem. They decided that non-Jews who became Christians did not have to follow the Jewish dietary rules. This choice was made because they believe that faith in Jesus alone saves people, not following strict diets.

Different interpretations of the Bibles dietary laws exist today among Jewish and Christian communities. Orthodox Jews, for example, still follow the dietary rules set out in the Old Testament, but many Christians think that these rules were taken away when Jesus came.

Modern Christians may also choose to follow certain dietary rules, like vegetarianism or veganism, for moral or health reasons. Ultimately, the Bibles teachings on dietary restrictions emphasize the importance of inner purity and obedience to Gods will.

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