The Bible makes little comment on what forms of medical treatment are acceptable or unacceptable. The book of Leviticus contains a number of chapters that are relevant to health. Chapters 13 & 14 are about the diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases and Chapter 15 deals with bodily discharges. Cleansing and isolation (Leviticus 14:8) were prescribed by the priest – with no medicine as such.
We know that in Jesus’ day there was a multitude of medical physicians. In fact Luke, who wrote the ‘The Gospel according to Luke’ and ‘The Acts of the Apostles’ is described by Paul as a physician in Colossians 4:14. Jesus came across people with all sorts of diseases and ailments, some had spent all their money on doctors bills:
“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone.” (Luke 8:43)
Jesus was the only one who could ultimately heal this woman and although he frequently healed physical sickness, Jesus was more concerned with spiritual health. Jesus describes himself as a physician – with a desire to heal our sinful nature:
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)
James, in his letter, prescribes prayer as a vital element to healing sickness:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up…” (James 5:14-15)
As Christians in modern times we have to come to our own conclusions as to which medical practitioner to visit (if any) and which branches of medicine we feel are appropriate. It has been suggested that homeopathy works only as a placebo (this may or may not be an issue to some Christians), for further reading see the link below for the UK government’s Science & Technology report published Monday 22 February 2010.
What about the bronze snake?
The bronze snake has been discussed previously at Bible Q, please click here.