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This small group Deuteronomy 14 Bible study guide contains commentary, discussion questions, cross-references, and application to encourage life change. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Deuteronomy 14 Bible Study And Questions – Honoring God in Diet And Finances


I. Clean and unclean foods (1-21)
II. Tithing (22-29)

I. Clean and unclean foods (1-21)

Discussion Questions

• Summarize this passage in one sentence.
• Why should they not cut themselves or shave their hair for the dead (2)?
• What types of animals were they allowed to eat?
• What types of animals were they not allowed to eat?
• What do you think was God’s purpose for these dietary laws?
• How might this affect their health?
• How might this affect their relationship with other nations?
• Do these laws still apply today? Why or why not?
• Are there any practical applications we can get from these dietary laws?
• Since our bodies are temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19), how should we treat them? How does knowing this affect what we eat?


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.

Galatians 3:24-26 – So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Philippians 3:19-20 – Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. You are the sons of the Lord your God – This truth is the basis for the various commands in this section. Israel was a chosen nation. They were to be holy and set apart for the Lord. When they entered the land, there were many temptations all around. The people of the land had their own culture and practices. The Canaanite culture was an abomination to God. It was seeped with idolatry, superstition, and evil religious practices.

The Lord did not want His people to mix with them or assimilate. Some of the commands in this chapter were expressly to create a clear line between the people groups and make it difficult to mix with them.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 – Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.

Application – We are to be in the world, but not of the world.

John 17:14-16 – I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Modern culture is filled with practices that don’t please God. It is easy for us to accept these practices because everyone around us is doing it. It is difficult to swim against the current. It is far easier just to drift.

This passage a reminder that we are to be “sons of the Lord.” Our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior should be defined by our relationship with Christ. That means we need to evaluate the cultural practices around us, rejecting those aspects which are unwholesome.

Reflect – What are some cultural practices that believers should be careful of?

Here are a few possible examples.

• Popular movies or TV programs that are X-rated and don’t glorify God. Would we watch it with Jesus beside us?
• Giving screens and cell phones to children and teens. Is it really good for them? “All their friends have one” is not a good reason.
• Materialism. Many people accept a job based on one criterion: “Does it pay more?” We are sons of the Lord. Our criteria should be different from the world’s.
• Taking on huge student debt to go to a liberal university. The world says this is necessary for a good job. The world is doing it. But does God want us to?

2. Do not cut yourselves or make baldness on your foreheads for the dead –

Here are two examples of Canaanite practices that didn’t please God. Idolatrous practices were associated with mourning. Perhaps they did this self-mutilation to attempt to appease their gods.

It is similar to what the prophets of Baal did in 1 Kings 17. When their god did not respond to their prayers, they cut themselves in a desperate attempt to get his attention. Satan certainly is delighted when people, created in God’s image, harm themselves. It is no wonder that the demonic overlords of the Canaanites took sadistic pleasure in seeing their subjects torture themselves to attempt to earn their favor.

The Lord did want His people, who were to be holy, to have anything to do with these pagan practices.

Some misguided Christians perform self-flagellation with a type of whip called “discipline.” They view it as a way to mortify the flesh and make penance for their sins. Martin Luther did this prior to his salvation.

These practices have demonic roots. Self-harm is not religious. It does not please God. God is not capricious. He takes no delight in our pain.

Satan came to “kill, and steal, and destroy,” while Jesus came to bring “abundant life” (John 10:10).

Believers’ bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We should care for them as a way to glorify God.

3. Rules for clean and unclean foods –

God prohibited the Jews from eating many foods. He said that these were “unclean for you.” Most Christians today eat some of the foods on the list, such as pork.

Reflect – Why did God give these commands?

We will look at some of the reasons for these commands as well as any modern-day application.

A. The dietary laws created a separation between the Jews and the people of the land –

“These special dietary laws were to separate them from social mixing with pagan idolatrous people, to prevent them from being lured into idolatry.” – John Macarthur

One of the most common things friends do together is share a meal. Strict dietary laws made it almost impossible for the Jews to share a meal with the Canaanites. The Jews could not go to the Canaanite feasts or homes because there were many unclean foods present. Thus, the dietary laws were a practical barrier helping the Jews be set apart.

B. Food safety practices – Eating clean and sanitary food is essential for our health. Think about it. Food gives our body energy and nutrients. As our bodies digest food, the nutrients in the food literally become our bodies. It is true that “you are what you eat.”

Restaurants in many developed countries are required to pass food safety and sanitation tests to operate. Many display their certificates. Poor food preparation techniques or contaminated food causes food poisoning, illness, and even pandemics.

While the origin of Covid-19 is not clear, it is possible that it developed at a wet market in Wuhan where all different types of meat were sold together. This may have created a situation where the virus passed from one species to another. It is entirely possible that Covid would have been avoided if the food laws from the Mosaic law were followed.

If you have ever had a case of food poisoning, you know how serious this issue is. The worst sickness I ever experienced was due to food poisoning. I will spare you the details, but it was very ugly, one of the worst days of my life.

The dietary laws seen here were important for health reasons, especially for that time period. There were no refrigerators. There was no way to test for viruses. Food may not have been cooked as evenly or as well. The food laws protected God’s people from viruses and sickness, as well as contributing to overall good health.

Reflect – Should we follow these laws today?

C. Modern-day application – Believers today are not under the law of Moses.

Mark 7:19 – Since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

Romans 10:4 – For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

It is not a sin to eat pork. The laws served God’s purpose for His people in the place and time they were in.

Does that mean we should not care about those laws?

No. There is a lot of wisdom we can get from these dietary laws. They remind us that the food we eat is very important.

In the United States, obesity is an ever-worsening problem. According to the latest data, 42.4% of adults are obese and another 30.7% are overweight. Allergies are increasing, including food allergies. Some have lactose intolerance. Others have Celiac disease and cannot eat gluten. Many are inflamed, swollen, and bloated because of the foods they eat. This is not a small problem.

Gluttony is sin.

Proverbs 23:20-21 – Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.

Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We are to take care of them. The world is concerned with pleasure and food is one way to pleasure. We are to glorify God.

God put us in this world for a period of time for a reason. We are to serve Him with the time we have. Think about how many Christian lives have been cut short because of health problems related to obesity. Think about how many have no energy to serve because of obesity or health problems related to it. Many are poisoning their bodies, which are to be used for serving God. In essence, it is destroying the good thing God has given us. If someone dies at 65 instead of 80 because of side effects due to poor eating habits, that is 15 years they cannot serve God.

Many of the foods that God prohibited in the Old Testament can cause issues. Seafood is often the culprit of food allergies and poisoning. Shrimp and crabs are the bottom feeders that scavenge and process waste. It is not surprising the Lord called them unclean.

God is the Creator. He knows what is good for us to eat. He designed our bodies and He designed the food for those bodies.

One of the biggest problems with the food we eat today is that we often eat man-made food instead of God-made food. Much of the Western diet consists of highly processed foods. Generally speaking, the more processed a food is, the unhealthier it is. At the same time, the closer something looks to how God made it, the healthier it tends to be.

God cares about the food we eat. We should eat clean and nutritious food so that we can live healthier and longer lives in His service. When Daniel and his friends did their ten-day health challenge, they had much better health and countenance than their counterparts who indulged themselves (Daniel 1).

The world lives for itself. Their god is their belly.

Philippians 3:19 – Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Application – Evaluate your diet. What motivates you to eat what you eat? Are you exercising self-control? Does your diet hamper you from serving God or support you? What do you need to cut out or reduce?

II. Tithing (22-29)

Discussion Questions

• What was subject to the tithe?
• Why did God instruct them to tithe?
• What was the purpose of taking their t