Does God Hate Shrimp?

There are many dumb excuses for ignoring God's moral laws. This 1-minute devotion explains how to test which Old Testament laws apply today.

Sometimes people try to discredit New Testament commands by comparing them to Old Testament laws. For example: "If you believe premarital sex is wrong, then you better quit eating shrimp because they're both condemned in the Old Testament" (Deuteronomy 22:13-19; Leviticus 11:9-12)

The Bible is an unfolding story about God's relationship with mankind. When we understand the finished work of Christ, we can put Old Testament laws and New Testament commands in proper perspective.

Old Testament dietary, cleansing, and ceremonial laws served an important purpose: to prove that external law-keeping can't change hearts or make us right with God (Romans 3:19-20; Romans 4:13-14; Galatians 3:23-25). Christ didn't abolish these laws, but He fulfilled them (Matthew 5:17). 

If an Old Testament law is applicable to Christians, it will be re-commanded in the New Testament. And we need not worry about dietary laws because Acts 10:9-16 commands New Testament Christians to quit calling foods "unclean."

There are many dumb excuses for ignoring God's moral laws. This 1-minute devotion explains how to test which Old Testament laws apply today.Premarital sex, homosexuality, adultery, lying, murder, and greed are condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Eating shrimp is not.

God doesn't hate shrimp. He hates behaviors that damage our souls.


For a better understanding of Old Testament law-keeping, read the book of Galatians.

And please check out the Bite Size Study on this subject for a fuller understanding of the differences between Civil, cleansing, dietary, and ceremonial laws.

For additional insights: Christ's Complete Fulfillment of the Law 

There are many dumb excuses for ignoring God's moral laws. This 1-minute devotion explains how to test which Old Testament laws apply today.

Bible Love Notes


  1. I respectfully disagree with your point that dietary laws have been done away with. On a basic level, you can research the digestive systems of unclean animals and understand why they are not meant for food. They were meant to clean the earth and are scavengers which makes them toxic. If God made them clean through the death of Jesus, He would have had to change the digestive system of the animals at that time.

    Peter states he has never eaten anything unclean. Why is that if the dietary laws have been done away with? If that is one of the laws Jesus died for, Peter would have known that. The principle in Acts 10 was to show Peter that people are not to be considered unclean and unworthy of a relationship with God. He even states in Acts 10:28 "But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean". The verse doesn't make any other reference to food which to me disqualifies it.

    I don't believe salvation comes by following a set of instructions, but I do believe in honoring God by following the instructions he set forth. You are only under the bondage of the law if you follow them begrudgingly.

    1. Thanks, Tami, for sharing your views on this. You know I appreciate you and know you are seeking to honor God.

      I present a few disagreement below, not to be argumentative, but for he purposes of others who might read these comments.

      It's true we don't agree. I think the message of Scripture is straightforward in this area. If God was trying to tell Peter that foods were still unclean but people were not, then I don't believe he would have shown Peter unclean foods 3 times and said they were clean. This principle starts with dietary laws (one thing that separated Jews and Gentiles) but went much further.

      Peter said he had never eaten anything unclean when he received this vision, not afterward. I imagine he started eating unclean foods at the Gentile home of Cornelius.

      And it is no surprise that he still followed Jewish laws before this vision. One theme in the book of Acts was God's attempt to move the Jewish Christians beyond their race and religious background, out into the world. They certainly struggled against it,and Peter seemed to have a special problem with it. Paul was really the pioneer in this area, and it is no small thing that God called a very religious Jew to be his messenger to the Gentiles as well as to rebuke Peter when he forgot his vision and refused to eat with Gentile believers.

      Look at how amazed the other Apostle and elders were when Paul said he was sent to the Gentiles. These elders were believers but were not sharing Jesus with Gentiles just as Peter and many other Jewish believers were still following Old Testament dietary laws. Jesus made His mission to the world just as clear as the end to the dietary laws, but they were slow to understand either. Their refusal to fully embrace the New Covenant is by no means approval of their actions or law-keeping.

      Romans 14:14 is also extremely clear as well as the whole book of Galatians. Most of these passages were written because Jewish Christians were too weak in the faith to give up the O.T. laws.

      I agree that there may be health benefits in avoiding unclean foods just as there are health benefits in circumcision, but there is a huge difference between a healthy preference and a moral absolute.

      Having said these things, I hope you know that I do respect you, Tami. I pray that God will give us both wisdom as we seek to serve Him.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to respond, Gail. I appreciate your posts because they are rich with wisdom and insights which challenge us to look at ourselves and perhaps make necessary adjustments. I should make a habit of commenting on those posts too as I read in agreement because I would imagine you don't often get encouragement for speaking the truth. I appreciate that about you. You have had a positive impact on me in my journey and I am grateful. We will agree that we disagree on this point, but I respect your perspective. Much love~ Tami

    1. Thanks, dear friend, for your example of mature disagreement.

  3. You're welcome...I'm learning! I value you more than my desire to argue a point.

  4. This was really helpful, even Ms Tami's view and the response. I hope God open our eyes more to His will. Thank you Ms Gail. Ms. Tami said something about how you might not be getting enough encouragement, so I decided to help overcome that. This is 2020 and I've learnt a lot from your teaching even in their bite sized forms. Thank you and God bless you. I hope it won't burden you to pray for me, even just a line. That I experience God's Voice speaking to me especially. Thank you again ma'am and weldone

    1. Hi bookey,
      Thank you for encouraging me, and I have take some time to pray for you as well. I've prayed that God will guide and direct you and keep you on the path of sound, biblical wisdom. God bless you!

  5. As many Scriptures have different "layers" to them, I believe this could possibly be a case of not necessarily "either/or" but perhaps "both/and." So often in Western culture we get stuck into the "either/ or" thinking pattern and do not consider the Eastern culture where the "both/and" thinking comes into play.
    In Jewish study of the Scriptures, there are four levels of types of study of meanings, etc. Briefly:
    (1) Pashat -"simple" basic
    (2) Remez - "hint" alluding
    (3) Drash - "search"
    (4) Sod - "hidden"
    Each level goes deeper than the one before it, expanding one's knowledge and understanding. Like peeling back the layers of an onion or cabbage to get to the "heart" or, better yet, the unfolding of a rose into its full bloom of beauty! One level of study gives some understanding, the next a little more and so on. Each step in the process does not negate the ones before it, but instead enhances or adds additional knowledge & understanding. Perhaps this is the case in point, where neither view is incorrect, but maybe a different level of unfolding the Scripture in point. Blessings to all!

    1. Brenda,
      God wants to communicate clearly with us.
      He's not hiding the truth.
      We may find deeper meanings in passages as we study them, but we will not find meanings contrary to the clear wording of the passage.

      And the clear wording of Scripture is that Old Testament laws were fulfilled in Christ and we should no longer judge anyone by what they eat or the days they celebrate the Lord or what they don't eat and what they don't celebrate.
      Romans 3:19-20; Romans 4:13-14; Galatians 3:23-25, etc.

      Colossians 2:16-17: "So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality."

      Many false religions talk about an elite few who can understand the true meaning of their holy books.

      Christianity is not like that. Each man and woman who is in Christ has the Spirit of God within him/her, and we are guaranteed that the Spirit will guide us into all truth. John 16:13, 1 John 2;27

      The majority of Bible scholars, missionaries, martyrs, and Christians are not in the dark about the true meaning of Scripture. To claim that God makes important truths hidden so only level 4 studies can reveal them is to believe in another God than the God of the Bible.

      And using that logic, a person could explain away ever major doctrine of the Gospel.

  6. Dear Gail , some of your comments are your interpretation of scripture and do not stand the scrutiny of scriptural hermeneutics.
    I therefore ask, since the Bible says nothing about smoking, is it alright fir a Christian to smoke?

    1. Hi Donnie,

      I have a Masters Degree from Seminary where I was taught how to correctly handle the study of Scripture. Before writing this devotion, I consulted the original languages when necessary, studied cross references letting Scripture clarify itself and I've consulted a variety of solidly biblical resources.

      However, if this were simply my view after study, it wouldn't be enough. My Masters degree does not qualify me to read something into Scripture that is not there. That's why I wouldn't have written this devotion if I hadn't found that a majority of Bible Scholars from various backgrounds agree with what I've written, scholars from past and present who have far more Bible knowledge, education, and experience than I have.

      I actually think these things are obvious to the average reader of Scripture, and they are certainly confirmed by scholars.

      Now, in regard to your question about smoking. How does this apply?

      Eating shrimp was prohibited under Old Testament dietary laws (specifically mentioned in the Old Testament as an unclean food).
      In Acts 10, God did away with dietary laws where He told Peter 3 times to no longer call a food unclean. That included shrimp.

      Smoking was not mentioned in Old or New Testaments. We can form a view about the harms of smoking by using principles in Scripture, but we don't need to do that with shrimp or other unclean foods because God made His views perfectly clear in Acts 10.

    2. One principal I learned from my mentor was not to just accept, or trust right from the start, anything he or anyone else said, but to be a Berean...they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11). Our standard for authority and truth must always be the very word of God. We must not stand on anything else but the Word of the Lord.

      We grab an idea and cling to it religiously. Defending whatever notion we have as if our life depends upon may find this attitude in many of the "higher strata" within or institutes of "learning." Which results in condemnation before is the major bar to learning the truth. It is also that which restrains "baby"-Christians from enjoying the meat of God's word. Paul addressed this life style in several of the churches he came into contact with, in particular Corinth..."I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." (1 Cor 3:2).

      I have a PhD and have been a Christian since December 1971. Every day since has been a day of learning as I turn to and remain in the Word of our Lord. One of the ways in which I accomplish this is with daily devotions like "Bible Love Notes." And, no, I do not just read and accept what is presented. I get in the Word, because in there alone I will know the truth.

      No scripture stands alone. It will always have supporting verses. Not interpretations from someone else, though these interpretations may indeed be correct...the only way one may know whether what is said is true or not is to place it alongside the WHOLE Word of God.

      Like many religious organizations these days, it seems one verse being taken out of context, or without context, apart from context, is the basis for their ideologies. HRM is one such movement.

      My question is, "Who or what are they exalting"? It appears to me that it is not God's our quest for relevance we defend our attitudes and presuppositions, and find, if we examine our hearts with God's word, that we have placed ourselves, our opinions, above the unadulterated Word of God. Only in humility will we draw close to our Lord.

    3. I am convinced that our hearts and motives come before PhD level Bible Study qualifications. Many people are illiterate, many semi-literate, this does not exclude them from Christianity. The first disciples to be called, by Jesus, were fishermen. They followed Him unquestioningly. We can follow His Word in the same way.

    4. Hi AnneD, I'm not sure I understand your comment.

      Donnie left a comment above that is called "ad hominem." That means he didn't share his view, but he chose to discredit me personally, claiming I didn't understand proper hermeneutics. I responded explaining that I do understand hermeneutics having a Masters degree from seminary, but I also stated that I don't think people need a degree to understand the truths in this devotion.

      So you leave a comment as if I was saying that having a degree is necessary for understanding Scripture and people without one are excluded from Christianity.