Did the Lord Declare All Foods Clean in Mark 7:19?

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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“Did the Lord declare all foods to be clean in Mark 7:19, as it says in the NIV? I thought He came to obey and fulfill the Law, not change or negate it?”

“…whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats” (Mark 7:18,19).

At the end of Verse 19, the NIV adds in parenthesis, “(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods ‘clean.’)” These words, which in NIV format appear to be part of the Bible text and not an editorial note, are not in any Greek text. The Lord was not setting aside the Law; He was speaking of the body’s natural ability to purge food of impurities.

As we compare Scripture with Scripture, we know that if the Lord had spoken these added words, then Peter would not have spoken these words years later:

“I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean” (Acts 10:14).

If the Lord had pronounced unclean foods clean in Mark 7, Peter would have started eating them at that time, but his words here clearly indicate that such was not the case. The dietary laws of Leviticus 11 were not set aside until the ministry of the Apostle Paul (Rom. 6:14; I Tim. 4:4,5). God used Peter’s sheet vision to introduce this change, and teach Peter and his fellow Hebrews that Gentiles were no longer to be considered unclean (Acts 10:28) by teaching them that unclean foods were no longer unclean.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


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