The KJV says abstain from meat, the NIV says certain foods. I've just learned that some translations rely only on whole documents whilst many discoveries of single pages of older manuscripts have been made. Does anyone know which manuscripts say certain foods, which manuscripts say meats, and which of these manuscripts are the oldest?

  • The word in the original is broma meaning 'foodstuffs' Strong 1033. Some usage of 'meat' in the KJV is archaic, meaning food generally not necessarily animal flesh. 'Some hae meat and canna eat' See Robert Burns, poet.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 26 at 14:02
  • See also Hamlet; "The funeral-baked meats..." Commented Feb 26 at 14:14
  • @NigelJ... I agree that "meat" is archaic but not that it is necessarily inaccurate. I Tim. may referring to gnostic teachers who forbade meat-eating. Commented Feb 26 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


The Greek text of 1 Tim 4:3 is undisputed. Therefore, the choice of manuscripts is not germane.

The operative word in 1 Tim 4:3 is βρῶμα (bróma) = "food of any kind". It occurs 17 times in the NT, namely, Matt 14:15, Mark 7:19, Luke 3:11, 9:13, John 4:34, Rom 14:15, 20, 1 Cor 3:2, 6:13, 8:8, 13, 10:3, 1 Tim 4:3, Heb 9:10, 13:9.

On all these occasions, "food" is the correct translation.

Historical note: When the KJV was translated, "meat" simply meant "food" of any kind. That is, the meaning of the word "meat" has changed in the last 400 yeas from "food" to "flesh food".

Actual Meaning of 1 Tim 4:3

Look at what this verse is saying:

They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from certain foods that God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

Thus, Paul is talking about a variety of sects that arose in the first century of Christianity that prohibited a number of perfectly valid practices, such as:

  • marriage (a number of modern, even large churches, still prohibit marriage in some circumstances)
  • some types of food (again, some large denominations prohibit some food either generally or on certain occasions)

Paul pronounces such ideas as:

the teachings of demons, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars, whose consciences are seared with a hot iron (V1 & 2)

That is strong language!!

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