Does God Hate Shrimp? And Other Questions About God's Laws

Does God Hate Shrimp? Understanding laws in Old and New Testaments
Understanding Old and New Testament Laws - which apply to us and which don't...

Sometimes people discredit New Testament commands by comparing them to Old Testament laws. For example: "If you believe premarital sex is wrong, you also need to quit eating shrimp."(1)

But the Bible is not a law book, it's an unfolding story (a true story). Among other things, it contains:
  • History and civil laws for the O.T. nation of Israel.
  • Temporary O.T. sacrificial and dietary laws foreshadowing Christ's redemption.(2)
  • O.T. laws containing permanent principles that have the same or different application(3) for us today. 

Does this sound confusing? Then simply ask this question: 
"Is the law repeated in the New Testament as a command (not simply a reference to an Old Testament law)?" If it is, it applies to us.
It's God place, not ours, to decide which laws are permanent. God doesn't hate shrimp. He hates behavior that damages our souls.

For a good warning against Old Testament law-keeping, read the book of Galatians
(1) There is an Old Testament command against eating shrimp (Leviticus 11:9-12). For New Testament laws against sexual immorality, see Sex, Truth, Love  
(2) Sacrificial and cleansing laws ended with Jesus: Hebrews 10:1-22. Dietary laws also ended with Jesus: Acts 10:9-15; Matthew 15:10-11, 17-20  For more details, see Bite Size Bible Study: Old Testament Laws
(3) Some sins were punished severely under Israel's civil laws in the Old Testament, and these punishments are not re-commanded even though the behavior is prohibited.

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Does God Hate Shrimp? Understanding laws in Old and New Testaments


  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.


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