When we think about how we behave in other areas of our lives, we see that this is not a logical view. If your bicycle breaks down, do you take it to a mechanic or wait for God to perform a miracle and ‘heal’ it? If the roof of your house develops a leak, do you wait for God to mend it, or do you fix it yourself? God is just as capable of repairing a bicycle or mending a roof as he is of healing our bodies. The fact that God can and does perform miracles of healing does not mean we should always expect a miracle. We should seek help from those with the knowledge and skill to assist us.
What does the Bible say about doctors?
Many verses in the Bible speak of using medical treatments that were common at the time. These include applying:
- bandages (Isaiah 1:6)
- oil (James 5:14)
- oil and wine (Luke 10:34)
- leaves (Ezekiel 47:12)
- balm (Jeremiah 8:22)
We know that Luke, the author of Acts and the gospel of Luke, was a doctor (Colossians 4:14). And Paul once gave Timothy advice on medical treatment (1 Timothy 5:23).
Doctors are referred to about 12 times in the Bible. The only verse that could be wrongly used to teach that we should not consult doctors is 2 Chronicles 16:12: ‘In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.’
The problem was not that Asa consulted physicians, but that ‘he did not seek help from the Lord’ as well. We should always seek help from God as well as going for appropriate medical treatment – not instead of doing so.
In Matthew 9, the Pharisees asked Jesus why he spent time with sinners. He replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick’ (Matthew 9:12). Jesus recognised that sick people need doctors. He did not condemn using doctors and ‘earthly’ remedies. Yes, Jesus performed many healing miracles while he was on Earth. But these were partly to show people that he was the promised Messiah (Luke 4:18).