Abstaining from blood


Hello to all,
Today a couple of Jehovah’s witnesses stopped by for a few minutes and dropped off a pamphlet and said they would stop by again to talk over any questions, etc… I might have. I thanked them for the pamphlet and told them to never mind about coming back as I have my own beliefs(however eclectic they are). They were fine with this and we all said have a nice day to each other.
So now to the point of the post- in the pamphlet it mentions Jehovah’s witness do not accept blood transfusions because in the bible(acts 15:20, 28,29) it “forbids taking blood.”
To any that wish to respond-what is your traditions teaching on “abstain from blood”? I donate blood and have done so at a believer’s chapel a few times as well as a catholic church once as well as a Methodist church once. So I know not all Christians believe the same as jw. What does “abstain from blood” mean to/for you?
And if you are jw-do you or have you ever hunted, fished, or trapped and does this matter? Blessings to you and yours. Thank you.


JW’s believe what they want, and I’m not very sure what that is, except I think that they don’t believe that Jesus is divine.

The covenant with the Jews on Sinai was…a covenant with the Jews on Sinai.

If you read modern Jewish commentaries, they will tell you exactly that. non-Jews are not bound by the covenant at Sinai.

In the NT, Paul argues strenuously against requiring male converts to Christianity to be circumcised. He says that if they are circumcised (for religious purposes) then they are bound to the old covenant and trapped in their sins.

Based on the opinions of ancient Jews and modern Jews, non-Jews would not be bound to any of the Torah (instructions) to the Jews. So, not consuming blood is one of those things that you can ignore, as a Christian.

(Now, by the same argument, you could say that the commands in Leviticus about men not laying with men like with women, are also cancelled out. But, you will still hear a lot of people citing Leviticus against homosexual conduct. They seem to reject the OT in how it applies only to Jews, and to reject Paul, that the covenant is still binding in some way to Christians today. But, I digress.)

19 Therefore I have reached the decision that we should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled[e] and from blood. 21 For in every city, for generations past, Moses has had those who proclaim him, for he has been read aloud every sabbath in the synagogues.”

(In urging abstention from blood, here Simeon seems to be contradicting what Paul said about why circumcision should not be required and that’s right there at the beginning of Acts 15. so, oddly, blood still seems to be forbidden, but only blood, fornication etc. as it says later in Acts 15

28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled[j] and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. …and of course, circumcision])


Jehovah Witnesses are NOT Christian. They also believe that Jesus is Michael the Archangel.

Whatever they gave you, rip it up and throw it away!


Jehovah’s Witnesses can do whatever they want.

The council of Jerusalem however, was specific to areas in Syria and Asian Minor where Jewish converts to Christianity had to live among Gentile Christians and where “Judiazers” were harassing the Gentiles, demanding that they be circumcised.

Abstaining from blood was one of the four things that Gentiles had to do in order to be allowed to live among the Jews. This is straight from the Book of Leviticus.

*]Abstain from sacrificed to idols
*]Abstain from sexual immorality
*]Abstain from meat of strangled animals
*]Abstain from blood

Gentile Christians in Syrian Antioch were being told by Judaizers that they had to obey the entire law of Moses, including circumcision, or they could not be saved. The council of Jerusalem told them exactly what the Book of Leviticus said, that the Gentile Christians only had to do these four things to be allowed to live at peace among the Jews.

The decision was brilliant in that it silenced the Judiazers because it was straight out of the Law of Moses and it delighted the Gentile Christians because they didn’t have to be circumcised.

So let the JW’s decline transfusions if that’s what they want to do. It’s their loss. We don’t live in Syria or Asia Minor nor do we live among many Jewish converts to Christianity who insist that we keep the Law of Moses or we can’t be saved. When I move to syria and a bunch of Jewish converts tell me that I have to be circumcised then I’ll abstain from blood transfusions.



A footnote in the Ignatius Study Bible says that the (catholic) council of Florence interpreted the prohibition from eating blood in Acts 15 to have been a precaution at that time ( in Acts ) from participating in pagan rituals, but those conditions do not apply today.

Blood transfusions cannot be mistaken as eating blood, only by a stretch of imagination.

By the way, some trivia (like anything else I say), blood is red because of the HEMOglobin in the red blood cells, but the red stuff that comes out of meat (like steak) when you eat it is not blood but MYOglobin, which transports oxygen inside the muscle cells.

I never understood that puddle of red stuff on my plate, but that’s it, myoglobin.


Yes, the Council of Florence infallibly taught that all the OT disciplines have been dispensed by Christ. A few disciplines, like abstaining from blood and the meat of strangled animals were continued for a brief time (because many early Christians were formerly Jews). But since then all OT disciplines (dietary proscriptions, animal sacrifices, etc.) have passed away.

However, all OT teachings on faith, morals, and salvation are still in force. And in so far as any OT disciplines also teach us something, that teaching too is still in force.


I have also been taught that the decision that gentiles should not eat blood was a discipline to reduce scandal in mixed Jewish and gentile communities due to Jews long holding that the blood should not be eaten, but not a permanent requirement.

The prohibition against blood given to Israelites was not because blood was unclean, but because it was believed to hold the life. Remember that the blood couldn’t have been unclean, as the Israelites were specifically instructed to pour the blood of sacrifices out on the altar as an offering to God.

It seems logical to me that, under the New Covenant, when God poured his blood out for us so that we may have life (and instructed us to drink it), and our closer union with God and having already come to understand the meaning of the blood, that it is no longer prohibited that we eat it in our foods.


Thank you all for your views on what is meant by “abstain from blood” and who it applies to and why. Thank you also for the bit of trivia on myoglobin-who knows that may come in handy while watching Jeopardy! sometime :). Blessings and take care.


I would also respond to the JWs–if there’s something that we’re not supposed to do, but then God tells us to do it, then we go with what God tells us to do.

After all, he’s God, right?

And God did tell us, quite clearly, to drink his blood.


The red part is exactly right.

People drag up things that happened at councils or encyclicals written centuries ago and don’t realize that many things they are citing are applicable to conditions that existed at that specific time.

They don’t realize that conditions have changed, or that the Church never intended the writings to have universal application to the entire church until the end of time.



Besides, the worst thing is when someone of these people, God forbid, will get to the hospital, and he urgently needed a blood transfusion.


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