Bible Study Guides – Diet and Health

January 27, 2013 – February 2, 2013

The Healthy Reformer

Key Text

“Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34.

Study Help: Counsels on Diet and Foods, 175–182, 368; Counsels on Health, 72–74; Child Guidance, 384–389, 399; The Sanctified Life, 20.


“There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.

“The prophet Malachi declares, ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers’ (Malachi 4:5, 6). Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things. The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous, whom God especially leads and blesses, is to be presented to the people in contrast to the extravagant, health-destroying habits of those who live in this degenerate age.” Counsels on Health, 72, 73.


  • What is one fruit that is evidence that the Spirit of God dwells within? Galatians 5:22, 23; Philippians 4:5.
  • What is the inspired definition of “true temperance”?

Note: “True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.

“Keep the work of health reform to the front, is the message I am instructed to bear. Show so plainly its value that a widespread need for it will be felt. Abstinence from all hurtful food and drink is the fruit of true religion. He who is thoroughly converted will abandon every injurious habit and appetite. By total abstinence he will overcome his desire for health-destroying indulgences.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 457.

  • How do we understand what is harmful? Romans 12:2.

Note: “Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating—eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food—destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting.” Child Guidance, 398.

“It is a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed without its use. The grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood. These elements are not so well or so fully supplied by a flesh diet. Had the use of flesh been essential to health and strength, animal food would have been included in the diet appointed man in the beginning.” Ibid., 384.


  • Is obedience a matter of convenience, taste, or principle? Matthew 5:19; James 2:10; Matthew 6:24.

Note: “God has spoken, and He means that man shall obey. He does not inquire if it is convenient for him to do so. The Lord of life and glory did not consult His convenience or pleasure when He left His station of high command to become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, accepting ignominy and death in order to deliver man from the consequence of his disobedience. Jesus died, not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. [Emphasis author’s.] Man is to leave the error of his ways, to follow the example of Christ, to take up his cross and follow Him, denying self, and obeying God at any cost.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 250, 251.

  • What specific counsel applies to healthy digestion and discipline? Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Note: “The stomach becomes weary by being kept constantly at work, disposing of food not the most healthful. Having no time for rest, the digestive organs become enfeebled, hence the sense of ‘goneness,’ and desire for frequent eating. The remedy such require, is to eat less frequently and less liberally, and be satisfied with plain, simple food, eating twice, or, at most, three times a day. The stomach must have its regular periods for labor and rest; hence eating irregularly and between meals, is a most pernicious violation of the laws of health. With regular habits, and proper food, the stomach will gradually recover.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 175.

  • What is the process used in making the wine described in Proverbs 23:29–32? Should we allow this process to be reproduced in our stomach?

Note: “Disturbance is created by improper combinations of food; fermentation sets in; the blood is contaminated and the brain confused.

“The habit of overeating, or of eating too many kinds of food at one meal, frequently causes dyspepsia. … Disease takes the place of health.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 110, 111.


  • What principle should we remember in choosing our food items? I Timothy 4:3–5. What foods were sanctified by the word of God in the original plan? Genesis 1:29.

Note: “If several varieties of food are placed before me [Ellen White], I endeavor to choose only those that I know will agree. Thus I am enabled to preserve clear mental faculties. I refuse to place in my stomach knowingly anything that will set up fermentation. This is the duty of all health reformers. We must reason from cause to effect. It is our duty to be temperate in all things.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 493.

  • After sin, God prescribed something to add to the dietary. What was it? Genesis 3:18.

Note: “But while we would recommend simplicity in diet, let it be understood that we do not recommend a meager diet. Let there be a plentiful supply of fruits and vegetables that are in a good condition. Overripe fruit or wilted vegetables ought not to be used. Vegetables and fruit should not be eaten at the same meal. At one meal use bread and fruit, at the next bread and vegetables. Thus we may have all the variety that we need to desire, and if we must have puddings and custards, let bread and these articles form the meal.” The Signs of the Times, September 30, 1897.

  • God gave His people flesh to eat after the flood. Later, when preparing them to enter the Promised Land, He gave them manna. How is their reaction paralleled in our days? Philippians 3:19; Isaiah 65:4, 5; 66:15–17; 22:12–14.

Note: “Those who transgress the laws of God in their physical organism will not be less slow to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai. Those who will not, after the light has come to them, eat and drink from principle instead of being controlled by appetite, will not be tenacious in regard to being governed by principle in other things. The agitation of the subject of reform in eating and drinking will develop character and will unerringly bring to light those who make a ‘god of their bellies.’ ” Counsels on Health, 39.


  • Knowing one’s natural disposition to like sweet things, what inspired direction is given? Proverbs 24:13; 25:27. Too much of a good thing is not good. What is the reason for the advice listed in Proverbs 25:16?

Note: “Hurtful food and drinks are partaken of in such a measure as to greatly tax the organs of digestion. The vital forces are called into unnecessary action in the disposal of it, which produces exhaustion, and greatly disturbs the circulation of the blood, and, as a result, want of vital energy is felt throughout the system. … Christian men and women should never permit their influence to countenance such a course by eating of the dainties thus prepared. Let them understand that your object in visiting them is not to indulge the appetite, but that your associating together, and interchange of thoughts and feelings, might be a mutual blessing.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 88.

  • What are the “dainties,” and why are they declared to be “deceitful”? Proverbs 23:3.

Note: “Sugar is not good for the stomach. It causes fermentation, and this clouds the brain and brings peevishness into the disposition.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 327.

  • What principle should we keep in mind when choosing what will enter our mouth? I Corinthians 10:31; Proverbs 23:1; Daniel 1:8.

Note: “To have firm religious principles is an inestimable treasure. It is the purest, highest, and most elevated influence mortals can possess. Such have an anchor. Every act is well considered, lest its effect be injurious to another and lead away from Christ. The constant inquiry of the mind is: Lord, how shall I best serve Thee, and glorify Thy name in the earth? How shall I conduct my life to make Thy name a praise in the earth, and lead others to love, serve, and honor Thee? Let me only desire and choose Thy will.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 129.


  • What has God promised to those who seek to do all of His will? Psalm 1:1–3; Revelation 22:14.

Note: “If Christians will keep the body in subjection, and bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience, feeling it a duty that they owe to God and to their neighbors to obey the laws which govern health and life, they will have the blessing of physical and mental vigor. They will have moral power to engage in the warfare against Satan, and in the name of Him who conquered appetite in their behalf they may be more than conquerors on their own account.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 35, 36.

“If we do the pleasure of our Creator, He will keep the human organism in good condition, and restore the moral, mental, and physical powers, in order that He may work through us to His glory. Constantly His restoring power is manifested in our bodies.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1118.

  • What is important to us in developing “appetite discipline”? I Corinthians 9:25–27.

Note: “[Deuteronomy 6:1, 2 quoted.]

“In this scripture we are taught that obedience to God’s requirements brings the obedient under the laws that control the physical being. Those who would preserve themselves in health must bring into subjection all appetites and passions. They must not indulge lustful passion and intemperate appetite, for they are to remain under control to God, and their physical, mental, and moral powers are to be so wisely employed that the bodily mechanism will remain in good working order.” Lift Him Up, 160.

  • Eating simply and at regular times helps us to discipline our habits. Who showed by example a similar lifestyle and prefigures the faithful of the last days? Matthew 3:1–4.

Note: “After the regular meal is eaten, the stomach should be allowed to rest for five hours. Not a particle of food should be introduced into the stomach till the next meal. In this interval the stomach will perform its work and will then be in a condition to receive more food.” Child Guidance, 389.


1 Why doesn’t God want us to partake of anything harmful? Am I willing to leave those things behind?

2 How does Jesus’ example help us to overcome any desire and appetite for flesh?

3 Did God ever intend His people to eat of unclean things and to like killing?

4 Why is it wrong to celebrate with frequent feasts during the time of judgment?

5 What will help the most in developing self-control? Am I practicing it?

Expending Vital Force

“Intemperance in eating and drinking, intemperance in labor, intemperance in almost everything, exists on every hand. Those who make great exertions to accomplish just so much work in a given time, and continue to labor when their judgment tells them that they ought to rest, are never gainers. They are living on borrowed capital. They are expending vital force which they will need at a future time. When the energy they have so recklessly used, is demanded, they fail for want of it. Physical strength is gone, and mental power unavailable. They realize that they have met with loss. Their time of need has come, and their physical resources are exhausted. Those who violate the laws of health will sometime have to pay the penalty. God has provided us with constitutional force, and if we recklessly exhaust this force by continual overtaxation, our usefulness will be lessened, and our lives end prematurely.” The Signs of the Times, September 30, 1897.

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.