I could just as easily ask the question, “What is Murder” or “What is Bearing False Witness”. Where do we find the correct answer for any of these three questions? If your answer is the government or the dictionary then I would ask you where they found the correct the answer to those questions.
God is the source for the answers to all of these questions. Many of our government laws were originally formed based on the answers we find in the scripture. Unfortunately those laws can change based on the whims of the people or the government. We can become used to things changing to the point that we forget that our God does not change. He does not change his morals, thus he does not change what is right or wrong, his law.
Food is not just anything you can put in your mouth. One could try to swallow every metal spoon they have, but the result would not be nutritious or healthy. One could try to swallow anything that they could put on a spoon, but that would also not be nutritious or healthy. Some might argue the health benefits of dirt so I will mention any mushroom one might find in the woods and perhaps rats for examples. Some have argued that since some do eat rats and live that it is fine. They will argue that anything that has been prayed over is safe to eat. If that were the case then no one would ever get food poisoning or an upset stomach from eating something that has been prayed over, but we all know of incidents that would negate that idea.
The false assumption is that scripture, specifically the new testament, makes anything you can eat, and not immediately die, food. Under a closer look scripture is very precise about it’s wording. It refers to food in Romans and Corinthians, but the subject is food that is offered to idols, not the definition for the word food. In 1 Timothy 4:3-5 the word food is used and we are told not to refuse food as it is sanctified by the word of God.
The problem that many do not see in 1 Timothy 4:3-5 is that scripture is not telling one that anything they put in their mouth becomes food because it has been sanctified by the word of God. Rather we are being told that we should not refuse anything that the scripture has set apart or sanctified as food.
1 Timothy 4:3 “who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”
This verse is specifically mentioning foods that God created for us to eat not things that men decide should be food. I grew up Catholic and we were forbidden to eat meat, other than fish, on Fridays. Later I found that this law of the church was only followed in certain countries thus making it arbitrary. God does not make arbitrary law. Every law of God has a purpose. In the case of food it is a health law to protect us.
If you go back now and look at all those other scriptures, especially with the aid of the Greek, you will see that non-food items are never called food. “Things” is often found, but that is often italicized. The real problem that hinders understanding is Romans 14:14 that is mistranslated.
Rom 14:14 “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing by itself is common; except to him who esteems anything to be common, it is common.”
I don’t normally check different bible versions, but prefer to look at the Greek. I was able to find only three versions, two of which were by the same man, that had the rendering agree with the Greek. Above is the quote from the Modern King James Version. Akathartos, the Greek word for unclean is not found in Romans 14:14. The MKJV above has common correctly translated from the Greek koinos. So how many have made an incorrect decision concerning the definition of food based on an incorrect translation of Romans 14:14?
What is food? Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 should help you decide. The basic theme is for one to avoid scavengers. Scavengers were made by God to clean his world. If we eat the trash eaters two bad things happen. One is that the world is not cleaned properly. The second is that we become sick and weak. As such we have an unhealthy and shortened life. One can not evangelize when we have some of the many diseases associated with eating non-food “things”.