Congregation at Duke Chapel

Food, Nutrition, and Faith

For the ears, you can listen to an audio recording [high fidelity audio playable under all personal computer operating systems via VLC media player, Microsoft Windows Media Player with the Xiph.org codecs for FLAC et al, OS X QuickTime with the XiphQT plugin, etc., on many Android-based mobile devices, and on iOS-based mobile devices via apps such as FLAC Player or Golden Ear]

Food, Nutrition, and Faith

presentation at Adult Forum by
Pao-Hwa Lin, PhD
Associate Professor, Duke University School of Medicine
February 17, 2019

Scripture passages that groups within the class read and which you can hear discussed as part of the class were:

  • Alcohol:
    • John 2:1-11
      On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now." Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:31 - 11:1
      So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
    • Ephesians 5:18-20
      Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • 1 Timothy 5:23
      No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.
  • Purpose of food/eating:
    • Genesis 1:29-30
      God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.
    • 1 Timothy 4:3
      They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
    • 1 Timothy 6:17
      As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
    • Deuteronomy 8:3
      He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
  • Rules about eating:
    • Genesis 1:29-30
      God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.
    • Genesis 9:3-4
      Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
    • Leviticus 17:14
      For the life of every creature - its blood is its life; therefore I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.
    • Galatians 5:1
      For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
    • Colossians 2:16
      Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths.
  • Attitude about eating:
    • Romans 14:14
      I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
    • 1 Corinthians 8:13
      Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
    • 1 Corinthians 8:7-12
      It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. "Food will not bring us close to God." We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
    • Romans 14:5
      Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds.
    • Romans 14:19
      Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
  • Concluding scriptures:
    • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
      Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
    • 1 Corinthians 6:12
      "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything.

Near the end, mention was made of the insightful book The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield.