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1 Timothy 4:

1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 6If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

Was it okay for Timothy to eat rabbit according to Paul?

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Much of Paul's letter to Timothy concerns Gnosticism and asceticism, which frowns on physical pleasure, in particular with regard to eating meat of any kind.

"They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods" is referring to the attitudes of these people. Many of the new Christian converts come from that background, and many of their friends and family still hold to it. Paul is warning that these pagan beliefs will eventually find their way into Christianity.

Paul was speaking of the food that God had created for mankind to eat. The NIV translation in the question doesn't make this clear, but many other translations make it more obvious:

  • CSB: foods that God created to be received with gratitude
  • ESV: foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving
  • NET: foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving
  • NKJV: foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving
  • NLT: God created those foods to be eaten with thanks
  • RSV: foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving
  • YLT: meats that God created to be received with thanksgiving

Paul is saying that God created certain animals to be eaten by man, and the ascetic rejection of meat goes against what God wants.

Unclean meat is not food that God created; clean meat is. Horses are meant to be ridden, not to be food for humans. Pigs are meant to be garbage disposals, not to be food for humans. Sheep and chickens were created by God to be food for humans, despite what the Gnostics believe.

When Paul says "everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected", he is referring to food created by God. He is not talking about rabbits, because God didn't create rabbits as food for humans.

If one thinks otherwise, then they must also accept that poisonous mushrooms are good and not to be rejected, because mushrooms were created by God. That is a ridiculous conclusion, but it makes just as much sense as applying the same logic to unkosher animals.

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  • +1 How would this harmonize with Genesis 9:3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
    – Tony Chan
    Sep 23 at 16:31
  • @TonyChan, notice the "just as": poison ivy and deadly nightshade are green plants. And remember that Noah already knew about clean and unclean animals. Sep 23 at 18:02
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Of course. "Nothing is to be rejected if received with thanksgiving". In the Old Testament rabbit was prohibited but that was under the Mosaic law. We are not under that law as Christian's. We are under grace. The verses you quoted say that clearly.

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  • The same goes for all other foods.
    – Rick
    Sep 23 at 14:20
  • +1 How would this harmonize with Matthew 5:19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
    – Tony Chan
    Sep 23 at 14:41
  • So the, is it OK to eat poison mushrooms if received with thanksgiving? Is it ok to eat toxic shell-fish if received with thanksgiving? Is it ok to eat poison ivy if received with thanksgiving?
    – Dottard
    Sep 23 at 21:48
  • Not even a real question. Common sense prevails here. It is like Phil.4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". That is also Bible but common sense tells us that it doesn't mean we can turn into a tree. To add strange and odd comparisons to real Bible interpretation and try to prove a point by it doesn't disprove a thing. The Bible says what it says, period.
    – Rick
    Sep 30 at 14:31

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