Bible study 2-15-03 Ann Arbor, MI
Some relevant texts with comments:
I Tim. 4:8: “For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it hold promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Doing physical things to help your health good and possible, but of limited value.
I Tim. 5:23: “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”
Good health can come from doing the right natural things, such as from drinking the right drinks. Notice also godly people can have health problems also, since Timothy was sick fairly often, but wasn’t by any means especially sinful.
Jeremiah 8:22: “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?”
Despite the presence of balm (a medicine) and physicians, the health (or healing, NASB margin) of people in Israel wasn’t especially good. Sin can affect one’s health (notice the context of v. 15, 19).
Prov. 3:7-8: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body, and refreshment to your bones.”
God can promote good health apparently without directly intervening miraculously, by us obeying His laws generally speaking. (See also Prov. 4:20-22).
John 5:14: “Afterward, Jesus found him [the healed paralytic] in the temple, and said to him, ‘Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you.’”
Bad health CAN be the result of sin. We should be careful, however, unlike Job’s friends were about Job’s general trials, about attributing any one person’s bad health to evil conduct. Hence, obeying God’s spiritual law is one way to obey God’s health laws. Perhaps the latter are partially a subset of the former.
Prov. 17:22: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken heart is good medicine.”
Having a good mental and emotional state improves our physical health, but having a bad one hurts it. Notice this isn’t directly tied to God’s law, but inevitably having a peaceful, non-anxious mental state (cf. Matt. 6:25, 31-32; John 14:27; 16:33).
Prov. 16:24: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Positive comments can help a person’s physical and emotional health. See Prov. 12:18; 13:17 for more about what a person says improving their (mainly?) emotional health.
Isa. 58:7-8: “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily bring forth, and your righteousness will go before you.”
Doing good works can bring physical recovery or allow God to allow it to occur. It could be that some people are in bad health not directly because of breaking God’s law, but because their sin prevents healing from physically caused ailments.
The laws of clean and unclean may have had health benefits, such as those concerning leprosy, isolating lepers, and cleaning houses with molds, etc. (Lev. 13:21; 14:8-9, 38-47). The question is how much of this was God’s direct intent, and how much was God’s use of a physical lesson to teach a spiritual truth.
Deut. 5:16: “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.” (See also Deut. 11:8-9)
If we obey God’s law, he may bless us with long physical life also. Hence, obeying a spiritual law (here, the fifth commandment in particular) can help improve our health.