18 Things People Think Are Forbidden In The Bible But Aren’t

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By Jonathan Trent

In the modern era, misinformation is rife, especially on the internet. This results in many misunderstandings, including regarding the Bible and what this holy book says you can or cannot do. To summarise, here are 18 things people think are forbidden in the Bible but aren’t.

Wearing Jewelry

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Certain passages in the Old and New Testaments warn against excessive adornment, particularly vanity. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear any of your favorite accessories. Wearing jewelry isn’t completely forbidden; the Bible is just trying to outline that excessive vanity is less important than inner beauty!

Getting a Tattoo

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People often think that the Bible forbids tattoos, but this isn’t necessarily true. Leviticus 19:28 is often cited for a case against tattoos, but as HuffPost points out, many scholars believe this verse to be misunderstood, with its true meaning being to forbid pagan rituals.

Eating Pork

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Parts of the Old Testament outline certain dietary restrictions, particularly about eating pork. Back then, this was more about cultural and health issues rather than being considered wrong to eat this particular meat. Nowadays, with the evolution of religion, the Church does not forbid Christians from eating pork.

Charging Interest on Loans

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Many believe that the Bible forbids people from charging interest on loans… if only that was true! The Bible does encourage ethical loan practices designed to protect people from exorbitant interest rates, but it’s more about showing compassion for the borrower and aiming for financial balance rather than eradicating interest altogether.

Eating Shellfish

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If you were worried about eating pork, maybe you were also worried about eating shellfish, but fear not; this isn’t forbidden either, at least not by modern interpretation. Leviticus lists that eating certain seafood is prohibited, but nowadays, most religious traditions view this as an outdated understanding.

Getting a Divorce

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The Bible naturally highlights the sanctity of marriage, so of course, divorce is going to be something religious teachings will frown upon. Divorce in the New Testament is discouraged, but with the evolution of religious values and social attitudes, there is more flexibility in the Church today.

Working on the Sabbath

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Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest for Christians, but this is rarely the case today. The Old Testament does state Sundays as a day for worship, but this view is impractical these days. As the Bible Project explains, it’s more an invitation than a commandment.

Women Speaking in Church

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Women’s roles have evolved over the years from a religious and societal standpoint. Some older biblical teachings restricted a woman’s role within the church, particularly speaking during a congregation. Thankfully, with a modern understanding of gender roles, women now enjoy equal rights within the Church. 

Cursing or Swearing

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A common biblical teaching is to avoid profane language, speak respectfully, and, in particular, avoid using the Lord’s name as a curse word. However, that last point is most important, and cursing outside of the Lord’s name is generally more acceptable these days. 

Women Wearing Pants

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In biblical times, women had to wear modest clothing, specifically avoiding pants in favor of dresses. Of course, gender norms have changed a lot since then, and most women these days wear pants, and progressive religious viewpoints certainly don’t forbid a comfortable pair!

Wearing Mixed Fabrics

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Many people believe that Leviticus 19:19 advises against wearing anything made with mixed fabrics, but this is actually more symbolic. The United Church of God speaks about how this relates to the antiquated act of pursuing “purity”. This restriction comes with the understanding of ancient textile methods, which are no longer applicable.

Using Birth Control

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Christianity has always celebrated fertility, and with this in mind, birth control wasn’t ever something that was encouraged. However, thanks to the evolution of modern practices and medicine, there is now a more diverse understanding of people who use birth control, including those from certain religious beliefs.

Sex Before Marriage

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All Christians will agree that respecting your spouse and staying faithful within your marriage is important. Some religious people even choose to avoid sex before marriage to show their devotion, but many modern religious beliefs don’t class sex before marriage as forbidden. Ultimately, it’s all down to the individual. 

Eating Non-Kosher Foods

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Certain dietary laws outline kosher food consumption, particularly within Jewish tradition. However, this is certainly not a set-in-stone rule that all followers of this faith must follow. The modern-day reality is that the rule is very flexible, depending on the Jewish community and what they wish to follow.


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For a long while, many Christians believed that homosexuality was a sin. However, the truth is that biblical teachings vary and are very much open to interpretation, so this shouldn’t be taken seriously. In fact, Human Rights Campaign points out that “It’s unlikely that the biblical authors had any notion of sexual orientation.” 

Drinking Alcohol

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Some people believe that the Bible forbids the drinking of alcohol, but how could this be true when Jesus’ disciples drank his blood (wine)?! Religious guidelines teach caution with alcohol consumption, specifically drinking far too much, which can encourage less-than-respectful behavior. However, there are no rules against alcohol as a whole.

Smoking Tobacco

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Another thing commonly mistook to be forbidden by the Bible is smoking. Just like alcohol, smoking is a bad habit, but tobacco wasn’t a thing during biblical times, so how could it be forbidden? However, Biblical teachings focus on the importance of good health, so you should keep this myth in mind!

Gambling and Playing Cards

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Finally, people often think that gambling is forbidden in the Bible, but that’s not true. Sure, greed is one of the seven deadly sins, but gambling didn’t exist during the times of the Bible, just like smoking. So, religious teachings these days don’t condemn gambling, but gambling goes hand-in-hand with avarice, so it’s still best avoided.