22 Unexpected Practices Condemned in the Bible

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The Bible is a complex text that offers guidance for all aspects of life. But beyond the familiar stories and teachings, there are also surprising practices the Bible discourages. From dietary restrictions to social customs, this article delves into some of the less-discussed aspects of what the Bible considers unacceptable behavior. Prepare to be surprised as we explore these unexpected insights into what the Bible discourages!

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#1 Eating Shellfish and Seafood Without Scales

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The Old Testament book of Leviticus outlines dietary restrictions for the Israelites. One particular rule prohibits consuming shellfish and other sea creatures that lack scales or fins. While some interpretations view this as a permanent dietary law, others argue it was specific to the Israelites’ context and health concerns of the time. The New Testament emphasizes that these restrictions are no longer binding on Christians (Acts 10:9-16).

#2 Wearing Makeup and Jewelry

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Some interpretations of the Bible caution against vanity and excessive focus on outward appearance. Passages like 1 Peter 3:3-4 emphasize the importance of inner beauty, modesty, and a gentle spirit over elaborate adornment. Following this principle, some Christians choose to avoid makeup or jewelry, prioritizing inner qualities and expressing humility through simpler forms of self-presentation.

#3 Disrespecting Elders

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Respect for elders is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. Proverbs 20:20 states, “Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp will go out in utter darkness.” This passage, and others like it (Leviticus 19:3), emphasizes the importance of honoring and respecting one’s parents and elders. This respect extends beyond obedience to include showing courtesy, valuing their wisdom and experience, and caring for them as they age. Disrespecting elders is seen as a transgression against both societal order and God’s will.

#4 Eating Meat with Blood

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The Bible tackles the consumption of blood in a few places, most notably Leviticus 17:10-14. Here, it instructs followers to drain the blood from slaughtered animals before eating. Interpretations on this vary. Some see it as a literal prohibition on consuming meat with any remaining blood, while others view it as addressing improper bloodletting practices common at the time.

#5 Worshipping Different Gods

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The Bible offers clear guidance on worshipping one God. However, interpretations on interacting with other religions can vary. Exclusivity versus tolerance is a debated topic. Some view passages like Exodus 20:3 (“You shall have no other gods before me”) as a strict prohibition on acknowledging other deities. Others emphasize messages of love and respect for all people, even those of differing faiths.

#6 Bragging and Arrogance

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Boasting about oneself and looking down on others is seen as prideful and displeasing to God. Proverbs 11:2 states, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the lowly is wisdom.” Similarly, James 4:6 reminds us, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

#7 Occult Practices and Seeking Otherworldly Guidance

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The Bible strongly warns against practices like witchcraft, sorcery, and seeking advice from mediums. These activities are seen as attempts to gain knowledge or control outside of God’s will. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 instructs followers, “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.”

#8 Wearing Mixed Fabrics

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This one might seem strange. Leviticus 19:19 prohibits garments woven from two different kinds of fiber, such as cotton and polyester blends. While the exact reason remains debated, some interpretations see it as a symbolic reminder to avoid practices that blend God’s laws with other beliefs. Others view it as a practical rule for the time, related to the properties of different fabrics.

#9 Wearing Clothes of the Opposite Sex

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Cross-dressing is explicitly forbidden in Deuteronomy 22:5. The reasons behind this remain unclear, with some interpretations focusing on maintaining societal gender roles of the time, while others see it as a symbolic reminder against blurring moral boundaries.

#10 Trimming or Shaving Facial Hair for Men

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Leviticus 19:27 advises men against trimming the edges of their beards. This has been interpreted by some as a complete ban on shaving facial hair. However, others argue that the passage refers to specific styles associated with pagan practices at the time. The core message might be about maintaining a distinct appearance that reflects following God’s law.

#11 Engaging in Revenge

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The concept of “an eye for an eye” might be familiar, but the Bible actually discourages personal revenge. Proverbs 20:22 advises, “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil!’ Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” The emphasis is on trusting in God’s justice rather than taking matters into one’s own hands.

#12 Marrying a Close Relative

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The Bible prohibits marriage between close relatives like parents, children, siblings, and even aunts or uncles. This was likely due to health concerns and social structures of the time, but it remains a core principle in many religions derived from the Abrahamic tradition.

#13 Exploiting the Poor

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The Bible emphasizes compassion and justice for the less fortunate. Proverbs 22:22-23 warns against taking advantage of the poor or vulnerable, stating, “Do not oppress the poor because they are poor, and do not crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will defend their cause and contend for their lives.”

#14 Playing with Dice or Gambling

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The casting of lots, similar to gambling, was a common practice in biblical times used for decision-making. However, Proverbs 16:33 suggests that the outcome of casting lots is ultimately determined by God, discouraging reliance on chance or gambling for personal gain. This has led to interpretations that caution against engaging in games of chance or gambling activities.

#15 Charging Excessive Interest

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While lending money isn’t inherently wrong, the Bible condemns excessive interest rates, which exploit those in need. Proverbs 28:8 warns, “He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest gathers it for him who will be kind to the poor.” Fairness and compassion in financial dealings are important principles.

#16 Destroying Trees During War

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The Bible discourages unnecessary destruction, even during wartime. Deuteronomy 20:19-20 instructs soldiers to avoid destroying trees because they provide sustenance for both sides. This principle of avoiding needless cruelty is highlighted.

#17 Being Vegetarian or Vegan

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A literal interpretation of Genesis 9:3-4, where God grants humanity permission to eat animals, could be seen as discouraging vegetarian or vegan diets. However, many Christians believe this passage reflects the context of the time and that a plant-based diet can be a healthy and ethical choice. The Bible ultimately emphasizes responsible stewardship over creation and avoiding harmful practices.

#18 Foul Language and Profanity

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The Bible emphasizes the importance of our words. Ephesians 4:29 discourages speech that is “unwholesome” or “corrupting,” urging us to use language that builds others up and is beneficial. This can be applied to avoiding profanity or vulgar language. While cultural norms around language evolve, Christians striving to follow biblical principles may choose to avoid foul language, reflecting a commitment to respectful and edifying communication.

#19 Nudity

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The Bible promotes modesty and decency. Exodus 20:26 cautions against public nudity. Some interpretations extend this principle to private situations like sleeping naked. Cultural attitudes toward nudity vary, but those seeking to follow biblical teachings may choose to sleep modestly as a matter of personal conviction.

#20 Holding Grudges and Refusing to Forgive

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Clinging to resentment and refusing to forgive hinders healing and goes against the core message of the Bible: love and mercy. Matthew 6:14-15 teaches, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

#21 Gossiping and Spreading Rumors

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The Bible condemns spreading rumors and lies about others. These actions are seen as destructive and harmful to both the target and the gossip itself. Proverbs 11:13 emphasizes that “a gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.”

#22 Using Social Media or Technology on Sundays

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The concept of keeping the Sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8-11) is interpreted differently within various Christian denominations. Some interpretations emphasize complete rest and dedication to spiritual matters on Sundays. This might lead adherents to avoid using social media or technology altogether, creating a dedicated space for reflection, worship, and disconnecting from the digital world.

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Hasthi Wand

Hasthi is a writer with nearly a decade of experience in editing, proofreading, and creating content on a variety of topics, including language, literature, travel, food, digital marketing, health, and wellness. In her free time, she enjoys reading novels, watching movies, and exploring new places.