Jehovah’s Witnesses


Home | Contents

“But we think it proper to hear from you what your thoughts are, for truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.”—Acts 28:22


How can we harmonize the Scriptural counsel, “Everything that is sold in a meat market keep eating, making no inquiry on account of your conscience” (1 Cor. 10:25), with the advice recently contained in The Watchtower, to make reasonable inquiry at places where one buys meat to be sure that it has been properly bled? (The Watchtower, September 15, 1961, page 557)

"Questions From Readers," The Watchtower, November 1, 1961, pp. 669-70.
Copyright © 1961
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.

Both of these statements of counsel must be viewed in their context. First Corinthians, chapter 10, contains a discussion concerning foods that have been offered to idols. It points out that Christians cannot “become sharers with the demons” by participating in religious ceremonies in which the worshiper shares a meal in common with some demon god. (1 Cor. 10:18-21) In fact, it would be wrong for the Christian to eat the meat anywhere if he ate it “as something sacrificed to an idol,” that is, with any feeling of reverence for the idol. (1 Cor. 8:7) So it was to protect Christians from idolatry that the command was given to “keep yourselves free from things sacrificed to idols.” (Acts 15:29) However, the offering of food to an idol does not bring about any change in the meat itself that would make it unfit for use. So if part of an animal that was offered in sacrifice were sold in a meat market it would be just as good as any other meat. Certainly a Christian would never ask for this meat in preference to other meat, feeling that it was “holy meat,” but, on the other hand, he was not under obligation to make inquiry to find out if the source of supply was a religious temple or a regular slaughterhouse. So the point under discussion in 1 Corinthians 10:25 was the purchasing of meat in a market that obtained some of its supplies from a religious temple.

Christians are also commanded to abstain “from blood and what is strangled.” (Acts 21:25) The Scriptures do indicate that one may eat meat but that he must not do it as an act of idolatry; however, nowhere does the Bible say that believers may eat blood under any circumstances. Furthermore, the prohibition on the consumption of blood is directed, not only to those who do their own slaughtering, but to all “the believers.” Therefore those believers who do not do their own slaughtering may have to make inquiry to find an acceptable source of supply if they want to eat meat. If you know from your own experience or from inquiry that it is customary in your locality to drain the blood from butchered animals and from fowl killed for food, and you are doing business with a reliable person, then it may not be necessary to ask further specific questions on the matter when meat is purchased. However, one who purchases meat from worldly persons in those communities where Caesar’s laws do not specify that blood must be drained from slaughtered animals would not be able to avoid eating “blood and what is strangled” without making inquiry.

So the points of counsel are harmonious and are in agreement with the rest of the Word of God.

Back to main article


Home | Contents

Added: May 30, 2007. Copyright © 1997 by Jehovah's Witnesses—Setting the Record Straight. All rights reserved. This web site is not affiliated with or sanctioned by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. However, every effort has been made to adhere to the current views published by the "faithful and discreet slave" (Matthew 24:45; Luke 12:42) through the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The "Official Web Site of Jehovah's Witnesses" can be found at, and should be recognized as the authoritative source about the beliefs, teachings, and activities of Jehovah's Witnesses.