Since I was starting a blog with such a catchy name, I thought I should google it and see what else was already out there. What I found I have dubbed “food inerrantists”. Mainly it was links and references to a book by Don Colbert called What Would Jesus Eat? I haven’t read this book, but it appears to be the same general genre as The Maker’s Diet which basically looks to the Bible to find the kind of diet that God intended for us to eat. The author of the Maker’s Diet, Jordan Rubin, found that this led to a cure for his Crohn’s disease.
Both of these authors share a particular approach as to how to read the Bible and particularly how to understand the role and purpose of food in the Bible. The Bible for them is a kind of self-help book. When approaching the Bible they ask, “How can this benefit and help me?” This is not an entirely bad question, but it is a shallow one. You will only find certain kinds of answers when you ask this kind of question.
Inerrantists are those who claim an entirely literal interpretation of the Bible as the literal dictated word from God. Ultimately this understanding of the Bible ends up absolutizing biblical culture (which spans centuries) and attempts to simply apply it directly to our modern world. This approach is often forced to ignore new discoveries and understandings of science, philosophy, social sciences, etc.
This seems to be what our “food inerrantists” have done. I have no doubt that their books are an interesting study of food in the Bible. However, I cannot condone using the biblical culture to prescribe any kind of diet (unless you are a Jew observing a kosher diet… oh wait that’s my point exactly). This is not what this blog is about.
Food in the Bible is rich with meaning. There is the concept of table fellowship which got Jesus in trouble for eating with sinners. The dietary laws in the Old Testament are not about how to cure Crohn’s disease. They have to do with how Israel related to the world around them. There are laws about food that have economic implications, intended to provide for the poor. As the Gospel moved out from Jerusalem food became a central issue (i.e. Can we eat meat sacrificed to idols?). This seems way more interesting to me than the all-new all-singing ancient Hebrew version of South Beach or colonic cleansing (not that there’s anything wrong with that).