Healing in the Bible

Does God promise his people healing? Does the holy spirit really provide healing power? Promises to Abraham are extended to Gentiles in the new covenant (Gal 3:14). So we get all the same promises and more as believers. This includes all the blessings of the old covenant, like prosperity, good health, and victory over enemies (Ex 23:25-26, Deut 7:12-15, Deut 28:1-14).

Isaiah 53: (NLT) 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

Matthew 8:16 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. 17 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”

Isa 53:4-6 says the Messiah takes our sicknesses and infirmities on the cross. In Mat 8:16-17, the author points out Jesus’ fulfillment of this role as the messiah and quotes Isa 53:4. 1 Peter 2:24 quotes Isa 53:5 as well when he says “by his wounds you are healed”.

1 Peter 2:24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.

These wounds connect to the first communion, which illustrates Jesus’s body being broken like bread for us (Matt 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19). Paul reiterates this in 1 Cor 11:23-26 when talking about taking communion.

1 Cor 11:23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.

According to Matthew 4:23, Jesus is capable of healing all sickness.
There is healing for the paralyzed (Matt 9:1-8), the blind (Matt 9:27-31), and even the deaf and mute (Mark 7:31-37). Jesus said all things are possible to those that believe (Mark 9:20-27 & Mark 11:20-24), so those who believe can receive healing. In Mark 9:14-29 the father of a demon-possessed boy asked if Jesus could heal him, Jesus questioned his faith because he based “if” Jesus could do it. Then Jesus replied that all things are possible for anyone who believes. The man eagerly said he does, and asked for help in believing and Jesus cast the demon out.

Mark 9:22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Furthermore, Jesus heals people in Mat 8:5-13, Mat 9:27-29, and Mat15:21-28. God’s will is healing since Jesus only does God’s will according to John 5:16-23 and John 12:44-50. Remember, God is compassionate and Jesus heals people out of compassion (Ps 145:8, Ex 34:5-7, Matt 20:29-34, Mark 1:40-41, Mark 5:6-19).

This goes beyond Jesus and extends to his people. Mark 16:17-20 says that healing power along with other gifts of the spirit follows those that believe. In John 14:9-14, Jesus himself confirms that his people will do greater works because they can ask for anything (that is good) in his name and the Father will do it. Acts 3:1-16, Acts 5:16, Acts 8:7, Acts 9:34, Acts 14:9, Acts 19:8-12, and Acts 29:8-9 show us more examples of God’s work being done through his people and this is all after Jesus ascended. Acts 4:25-31 shows that God’s people expected God to hear and answer their prayers, including prayer for miraculous signs and wonders verses 29-31. This is because God’s people received the holy spirit which brings the gifts of the spirit and God’s power.

Killing, stealing and destruction come from Satan (John 10:1-10), so God gives us a weapon against Satan and that is the holy spirit. Ephesians 6:10-20 says our enemies are not humans but spiritual, so we must be equipped with the spiritual armor of the holy spirit. 2 Cor 10:4-5 reiterates that our weapons are not carnal but spiritual and for free people from the strongholds of spiritual darkness. Everyone who is a believer gets access to the same holy spirit and the gifts that come with that. 1 Cor 12:4-11 and verses 27-31 cover the gifts of the spirit which include “healing” and “special miracles”. 2 Cor 1:8-11 reminds believers that God will answer prayers to rescue them from mortal danger. Again this is post ascension of Christ and Paul is talking to Corinthians both Jews and Gentiles, so this framework applies to us today just like all of his other letters regarding spiritual matters. We are delivered from the “Power of Darkness” and transferred into the “Kingdom of God’s Son” (Col 1:11-14).

1 Corinthians 12:7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

2 Corinthians 1:8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

Believers must still manage their health correctly because we “sow what we reap” and receive the consequences of our actions. Believers’ bodies are literal temples of the living God (1 Cor 3:16-17) because his presence (the holy spirit) is inside of the bodies of believers. Therefore they should watch what they eat and take care of their bodies. Believers were purchased by Jesus’ death on the cross, therefore they are to glorify him in spirit, soul, and body (1 Cor 6:19-20). Ep 2:19-22 says that both Jews and Gentiles are united in this way as temples of the living God.

James 5:13-16 shows us that believers often prayed for one another to be healed and forgiven of sins, and they even used oil in some cases to anoint people for this purpose. They trusted that the fervent prayers of the righteous were effective and powerful.

James 5:13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

James 5:13-16 also reveals that people can also get sick from their sins as well, and even then God will heal us when we repent. There is even a promise of long life for those who follow the fifth commandment to honor their parents in Ep 6:1-3 [Ex 20:12, Deut 5:16]. This implies that breaking such a command will shorten one’s life span. Jesus said to “go and sin no more” to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:1-14 because his sins had made him sick. Jesus told the lame man from Capernaum (who was let down on the rooftop) in Mark 2:1-12, that his sins are forgiven. When the Pharisees scolded him for it, he revealed that this was another way of telling him he was healed and then he demonstrated this by telling the man to “stand up, pick up his mat and go home” and the man did it.

Mark 2:4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man[a] has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

Isaiah 38 has Hezekiah’s testimony of healing and his poem of thanksgiving. Isaiah also reminds us of how good God is because he empowers the weak (Isa 40:28-31). Isaiah reveals promises of restoration for those who repentant of their sins as well (Isa 57:15-21, Isa 58:1-10).

Isa 40:28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

In the old covenant, there is a special process that involves purification and reconciliation when people have unnatural bodily discharge disorders like perpetual menstrual bleeding (Lev 15:25-30) or skin diseases like Leprosy (Leviticus 14). That is because these skin diseases were caused by sin, so they required repentance. When someone was cured of an unnatural discharge like the hemorrhaging woman in Mark 5:24-34, they had to sacrifice two birds, one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. Furthermore, according to Leviticus 14, when someone is cured of a skin disease (like leprosy) they must show themselves to the priest and go through both a process of purification (Lev 14:1-9) and reconciliation [with God and people] (Lev 14:10-32) by sacrifice three offerings, two male lambs and a female lamb. One male lamb was the guilt offering and the other two were the sin and burn offerings. Two birds could be used for the sin and burnt offering instead of mammals if the person was poor. In Numbers 12, Miriam gets leprosy from badmouthing Moses’ wife, but Moses interceded and God healed her, although she still had to wait a week for purification. This means bad-mouthing people, holding grudges, or refusing to apologize can make a person sick and even kill them. This seems to be the principle behind why Paul warns believers about taking communion unworthily in 1 Cor 11:27-32.

1 Corinthians 11:27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. 31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. 32 Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

Unworthily in context must refer to unconfessed sin, which he says caused sickness and death amongst the people in Corinth. Since this principle is in the Old and New Testaments, it is a spiritual law that must be considered when praying for healing. Unforgiveness is especially bad, so much so that Jesus even said God won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive others (Matt 6:14-15, Mark 11:25-26).

Matt 6:14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Mark 11:25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” [26] But if you refuse to forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.

When asking for healing we should ask God if there is any sin in our lives that caused this and apologize for it. Then we can thank God for forgiving us and trust that we will be healed. If there is no sin that caused it then it is an affliction from the enemy without a just cause, like what Satan does to Job (Job 1 & 2). In that case, thank God for giving you the power to overcome, and trust that you are healed because Jesus took our weakness and infirmities on the cross. “By his wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). You will receive if you believe because all things are possible to those that believe (Mark 9:23, Mark 11:23-24). Those who are unbelievers, don’t have access to the holy spirit but God is merciful, and if they call on the God of the Bible, who is the after of Jesus can deliver them because he loves even his enemies (Matt 5:44-45). God can send a believer to pray for you or deliver you himself because he is awesome.

More scriptures on God’s healing:
Psalms 29:11, Psalms 30:2, Psalms 41:1-13, Psalms 91:1-16, Psalms 103:1-5, Psalms 147:1-3, Prov 3:5-8, Prov 4:14-23

Joy vs depression:
Prov 15:30, Prov 16:24, Prov 17:22, Neh 8:10