Rophe: A Study of Medicine in the Bible

Old Testament and New Testament views of medicine and physicians were, in many ways, opposite. According to ancient interpretations of the Book of Deuteronomy, all misfortune, whether disease, calamity, etc., was a punishment from God for the commitment of some sin. If illness was produced by God, then healing could only come directly from God, without the intervention of physicians and, many times, only through the priest. Many ancient theologians felt that physicians acted against God’s will in trying to aid in healing. In fact, one writer in the Talmud says, in effect, that the best of physicians was destined to go to hell, and the medical profession was counted among the seven professions who would not share in heaven. In spite of a rather low assessment of doctors, the ancient Jews were a healthy lot in large part due to dietary and sanitation laws. Contrast this with New Testament teaching. Indeed, Luke was the beloved physician and the writer of one of the Gospels. Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” In this book, we explore biblical teachings about medicine in both Old and New Testaments. Also, we will study dietary and health laws that have bearing on today’s life and lifestyle.


--Allan G. Cougle, M.D.