Acts 21:25....Drinking blood forbidden?


Last night I was invited by a friend to attend a Protestant Bible Study. The pastor pointed out sometime during his study that in Acts, the Christians were forbidden to drink blood, and therefore the doctrine of Transubstantiation was “not Biblical”.

Acts 21:25-As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

I’ll admit, this shook me up a bit, as I never heard of this verse before. I have been unable to find a Catholic response to this anywhere. I am assuming that Paul means that Christians could not drink blood from animals sacrificed to idols…but its not very clear at all, since the wording is “things offered to idols, and from blood”…not “things offered to idols, INCLUDING blood”.

My question is, how does a Catholic respond to this, and what is the proper Catholic view of this Bible quote?


It should be clear that Paul is talking about eating the meat and drinking the blood of animals that have been sacrificed for the pagan gods.

Now unless this “pastor” believes that the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ to be a pagan sacrifice, he should be easily refuted. Jesus’ Self-Sacrifice is the Once and For All Times Sufficient Sacrifice, and as such His Meat and His Blood are to be, at His Command, consumed often in order that one may have eternal life.

If the Bible is this “pastor’s” sole rule of faith, I would ask him why he doesn’t believe the Bible. And if this “pastor” believes in Christ, I would ask him why he doesn’t believe Christ:

“Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because if the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” John 6:53-57.


The list in Acts is not a list of all things that are sinful. Compare the list to the 10 Commandments and you’ll see the list only touches on a very few points. The things in the list all have to do with pagan religious practices. For example, Heb 9:13 talks about the use of blood but not about eating blood: “For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh…” So the prohibition in Acts could have referred to sprinking or smearing of blood on a person.

Another point - do Protestants insist on kosher meat? If not, then they too are violating the prohibition on blood in Acts. But of course they don’t insist on kosher meat. Why not? Why the double standard?

Last point - How do we square the prohibition on blood with the very clear NT statement from Christ himself that nothing a person eats is impure in itself, that nothing that enters a man can defile him? Catholic teaching squares this apparent contradiction quite well, but Protestant teaching is trapped in its own false interpretations.


Excellent points made so far.
I would like to add the following:

The prohibition of drinking blood in the Mosaic Law had to do with the belief that the life of the animal was contained in the blood. It was not good for them to have the life of the animal within them.

Jesus, on the other hand, wants us to be alive within us. Hence, as MAURIN already stated, John 6:53-57 points this out.


Right. This is akin to the “contradiction” that we are not to worship any man, and yet we are to worship the man Jesus Christ.


Just wanted to underscore/highlight this post.



It should be clear that Paul is talking about eating the meat and drinking the blood of animals that have been sacrificed for the pagan gods. This is not true the book of Leviticus clearly says

And whatever man of the house of Israel or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats ANY blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut them off from amongst his people. And God warns a second time in Liviticus 17:14 YOU SHALL NOT EAT THE BLOOD OF ANY FLESH! that doesnt sound like what you posted here - Paul is talking about eating the meat and drinking the blood of animals that have been sacrificed for the pagan gods. Twice God said ANY FLESH. And the apostles re confirm what God had forbidden.
"But that we right to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled and from BLOOD.
Acts 15:20.
Also Jesus clarifies back in John 6:32-35 what eating and drinking are. Its he who comes to me shall never hunger and he who believes shall never thirst. Jesus in this bread discord is sharing the contrast of the physical and the spiritual. See John 6:29 It tells us that by believing in Him we are doing the work of God.


Again - Leviticus 17 is referring to the blood containing the life of that body. Jesus gives us life - HIS life - as he did on the cross.

**You are missing the entire symbolism and foreshadowing of Christ here. The blood that is being refered to in Leviticus 17 is the blood of sacrificed animals. Jesus was sacrificed for our sins. We are saved by his blood. **

His blood is the ONLY blood that truly profits us. His flesh and blood profit us everything, whereas the blood of bulls and lambs profits us nothing. He revealed this to us in the Bread of life discourse John 6:31-71. That’s why he said, “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” **

Those of us who believe in his true presence in the Eucharist have accepted this spirit and life.


you nailed it symbolism. We are saved by His blood! Not by drinking His blood. Jesus would have broken the law if He was teaching the Jewish people to literaly drink blood.See Leviticus 17:10-14. And He then would not be able to atone for the sin of the world by shedding His blood. Eating and drinking are used as contrast to coming and believing. See John 6:35


See John 6:55. Jesus was speaking of his flesh and blood - NOT a symbol of it. That is why he asks, “Does this shock you?” in verse 61. If he meant otherwise, he wouldn’t have asked that question. If you read 1st century historical texts and writings of the Church Fathers, you will see that they were accused of being cannibals because of this belief.

He also uses the Greek verb, trogon, which means to munch or gnaw as an animal eats, instead of the usual phagon which means to eat as a human. He was using hyperbole, as he often did to get his point across.

**Read on, my friend and see how many of his disciples left because they couldn’t believe what they were hearing. **

Sounds like a lot of Protestants today.


[quote=micas]you nailed it symbolism. We are saved by His blood! Not by drinking His blood. Jesus would have broken the law if He was teaching the Jewish people to literaly drink blood.See Leviticus 17:10-14. And He then would not be able to atone for the sin of the world by shedding His blood. Eating and drinking are used as contrast to coming and believing. See John 6:35

Deja vu!

The early Christian community unanimously accepted and believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the holy Eucharist. Read the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was a disciple of the John the Apostle (the very author of the Bread of Life discourse): “I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (Letter to the Romans 7:3).

“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (*Letter to the Smyrnaeans *6:2–7:1).

These were written somewhere around 110 (maybe 108) AD, not long after John’s Gospel was completed, and that’s according to a conservative date, I might add.

“We call this food Eucharist… [N]ot as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66).

This was still in the mid-second century, around 151 AD.

And St. Paul readily affirmed his own faith in this most holy Mystery: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:16-17)

Old Covenant restrictions regarding the consumption of blood were logical considering the prevalent idea at that time: That the life of a creature is contained in its blood. (The Jewish people have a high reverence for the lifeblood, and likewise Jehovah’s Witnesses also take this very much to heart: hence why they refuse, as a matter of conviction, blood transfusions.) The author of Hebrews is adament in asserting that no sacrifice aside from that of Our Lord’s–his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity–is effective for the salvation of souls. So it is natural that the Christian refuse to partake of this blood (especially when offered to idols, as the Council of Jerusalem’s main focus was–recall–the entrance of the Gentiles, former pagans, into the new Christian religion which, at that time, was primarily made up of pious Jews). Rather, it is the divine life of Christ that we should be desirous for! His lifeblood, his whole person (as made truly Present in the Eucharist), is the source of our own interior life.

Something to think on…

Also, as a sidenote: The Eastern Orthodox, who have valid Holy Orders and Sacraments, have always affirmed with the Catholic Church the Real Presence of Christ in the divine Liturgy; however, I BELIEVE (I may be wrong) they abstain from all blood as a severe form of obedience to this Council’s decree. Perhaps talking to some Orthodox on how they reconcile what you perceive as an apparent contradiction might provide some insight.

A thought. :shrug:



Ummm … just that Jesus explicitly COMMANDED us to drink HIS blood. Since His blood alone saves us and gives us life, and not any other.

In my books this command trumps any more general command against ‘drinking blood’.



But he wouldn’t have broken the law if he had taught the Jewish people to “pretend” to drink blood? Micas, how does that make any sense?

“It’s immoral to kill people, but I the Lord commandest thou to go and buy plastic guns and pretend to fire them at the people…Buy knives and make like you’re going to stab them in the heart, but don’t actually do it…This is good and holy…”


As long as we’re on the topic of symbolism and the meaning of words, you should note that the Greek word used in this exchange in John means to “chew on” or “gnaw”. Pretty graphically specific to the action of actually eating something. There is another word in the Greek that means to consume in a more “general” sense, which would have been much more appropriate, don’t you think, had Jesus intended for them to interpret his words symoblically?

Micas, you may not even know you’re doing it, but you’re putting forth an entirely novel version of the Christian faith and, pardon my directness, but you need to stop. If your version of the Christian faith is accurate in contrast with Catholicism, then you should be able to track down writings from, say 1000 and 500 AD that demonstrate this, right? You won’t find them. I can promise you right now that the Christian faith of 100, 500, 1000, 1500, 2008 A.D. was and is Catholic.

Don’t take my word for it. Examine history for yourself and then act accordingly.

Peace and understanding be with you.



**Ummm . . . are going to address the points I made about Jesus’ use of the Greek word, trogon in my previous post #10 or any of the points I made in that post? **
Or was it just too much to believe?

Another quick question - if you’ll indulge me:
If the Church believed, taught and died for Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist for some 1500 years and was still taught and believed by the “Reformers” - when did the rest of Protestantism become “enlightened” about it being a mere symbol?
I’ve never heard anybody answer that question before.


Well iam glad I opened your eyes. The thing is friend Ive come to show some people here that your false religious system based on works leads to death and eternal distruction. And soon enough God will stop this counterfiet religion and distroy it. So i dont take your threats serious because you are decieved and decieving others. The bible alone has been proven alone to be Gods word. It is the measure of all truth and your false religion is in contradiction to the word of God. Your religion is built on a man and lies and forgeries. You need to wake up!! the Lords return is emmenent.
For God has put it into there hearts to fullfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fullfilled.Revelation 17:17 You have been warned !!!


It always amuses me that Bible only Christians will take this kind of position when it is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who says, “54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. 57 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.”

Now, if Our lord Himself commands something then who are we who follow Him to refuse and argue against it?

Let’s see…The Jews were commanded not to do any work on the sabbath and yet what did Our Lord say when his disciples gleaned grain to eat on the sabbath? (See Luke 6:1-5)

Then look at Luke 6: 6-11 where He healed on the sabbath. Doesn’t this sound much like the people who use this argument against the Eucharist.

These are the very same people who will argue that a carnal mind cannot understand the things of God and yet they apply their carnal minds to oppose this when Christ is quite clear as to what He meant.

They then try to say that the passages do not mean what they plainly say. I’m sure those pharisees said something similar…


Your passage reads a s follows, “32 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. 34 They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread. 35 And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.”

However, here you pull it out of context and attempt to make it say something it actually does not. Nor did the apostles take it to mean anything else, as 1st Corinthians 11:23-30 makes very very clear.

I think the Lord summarizes it all when He says “62 But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? 63 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?”

It sure looks like these people are scandalized. :shrug:


But he wouldn’t have broken the law if he had taught the Jewish people to “pretend” to drink blood? Micas, how does that make any sense.

He wasnt speaking literally!! See John 16:25



Is there a full moon out right now, or what? What’s the deal with all the anti-Catholic zealots seeping out of the woodwork all of a sudden?

Oh yeah. Friday the 13th is just a few hours away…



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