What the Bible Says about Health

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Health

Issue:

We’ve been asked to address the topic of health.

Response (staff answer):

There are so many ideas about how to stay healthy in today’s society. But let’s look at what the Bible says. Here are some various and potent ideas on what provides, establishes, and maintains health.

The psalmist declares that it is God who is the source of health: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us…. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations” (Ps 67:1-2 KJV). As we feel God’s face shining on us, we can’t help but feel and experience God’s saving health in our own lives. But it’s God’s way that provides health. It’s not our own. So we turn our lives over to God. We let God be God!

One of the wise sayings that we find in the Bible affirms that peace is essential to health: “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body” (Prov 14:30 NLT). Here, the writer makes an explicit connection between our sense of inner well-being, a calm sense of peace, and a healthy body. And this makes sense. As we feel peace, so our body expresses such peace.

It naturally follows that if we’re peaceful, we’re also gracious, kind, loving. Such a state of being is healthy. Another proverb states, “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Prov 16:24 NLT). Again, there is a link between the soul and body. The body is expressing, so to speak, the sense of kindness, happiness, health of the soul, mind, heart. As our hearts are right with God, so we live a Godlike life and experience health. Practicing the Golden Rule and following Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount help us keep our hearts right with God.

Another proverb points to the necessity of trusting (fearing) God, refusing to do evil or to accept evil into our lives: “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Prov 3:7-8 KJV). We take our lead from God. We’re not trying to be humanly wise. We look to God for wisdom, and such wisdom helps us “depart from evil.” As we make the stand to turn away from evil of any kind, and instead stand for good, we find health. This suggests that a sense of true morality is important for health.

How do we do this? We allow God to show us the way. The prophet Isaiah emphasizes the importance of discipline: “Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!” (Is 38:16 NLT). Such discipline does not need to be harsh. As we welcome in God’s laws and guidance and then set about to practice them in a disciplined way, we reap the benefits. If we realize that we need to make a course correction, God shows us the way. Perhaps we find ourselves being more disciplined in our thoughts and in our lives. We obey God more fully, and hence, we discover health more lasting and permanent.

As we listen humbly to God and direct our attention to God’s word, we find health. We read in Proverbs, “My son, pay attention to my words. Bend your ear to my speech. Don’t let them slip from your sight. Guard them in your mind. They are life to those who find them, and healing for their entire body. More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it” (Prov 4:20-23 CEB).

This begs the question: What are we listening to? What are we letting into our thinking? Are we listening to all the gloom and doom predictions or advertisements? Are we listening to fear and worry? Or are we listening to God, to those who teach us what God is about, like the prophets and Jesus? This is an important distinction, for when we let something into our thinking, we let it into our experience, our lives. As we keep our minds filled with the word of God, as we listen to the angel voices, we are going to see a much brighter, more joyous, more Godlike, and therefore a more healthy view.

This is natural, as God is continually blessing us, loving us. God’s great mercy shines over us and heals us. Moses confirms this: I am the Lord who heals you” (Ex 15:26 CEB). The psalmists agrees: “Lord, my God, I cried out to you for help, and you healed me” (Ps 30:2 CEB); “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps 107:20 KJV). God is indeed here for us—healing, saving, and delivering us, providing us with lasting health.

God’s word is indeed the powerful source for health.

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