Ask Your Preacher
A close friend of mine is a devout Christian. She has Type 1 diabetes, but beyond taking insulin to stay alive, she ignores the health care system totally. She has medical insurance; I think she’s trusting her health to God almost 100%. Does the Word of God sanctify this? I know faith in God is important, but I am concerned…
Dear Troubled Friend,
If your question is whether or not a Christian is allowed to use doctors and medicine, the answer is ‘yes’. Paul told Timothy to take wine medicinally for a sick stomach (1 Tim 5:23), and Jas 5:14 describes the elders praying and using oil, a common general ointment, when someone is sick. God told mankind to take dominion of this world and use it for our good – this includes the creation and use of medicine (Gen 1:26). Using medicine is not in opposition to having faith in God. As for how much and when each individual should use medicine, that is up to each person’s discretion and wisdom.
What things besides the Bible (e.g. a knowledge of history, culture, languages, etc.) are prerequisites to understanding the Bible? How can our plea be "Bible only" if so much additional knowledge is needed just to understand the Bible itself?
Dear No Theologian,
The Bible is the only thing we use as our guide, and anything that we can use to help better understand and appreciate the Bible is useful… but it all comes back to God’s Book. If someone doesn’t know how to read, they can still study their Bible by having others read it to them… but literacy sure makes them more effective students! You don’t need to know world history, Jewish culture, or Koiné Greek to learn the Bible, but they each offer things that can enhance your studies and give you a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. All of these are simply tools to help us be better Bible students… but in the end, knowing Bible is the goal and at the heart of all we do (Rom 1:16).
The common sleeping pills have their affect on the brain by binding to GABA receptors, potentiating a sedative effect. Alcohol binds to the same receptors and produces the same effects. If it is "okay" to use a prescribed sleeping pill, would it be equally okay to drink alcohol for the same reason? I had a medical doctor tell me I could either take an Ambien or drink a glass of wine before bed, so this is a true concern for me. Please advise.
Dear Medical Matter,
Alcohol has always been a problem in society, and Christians are rightfully cautious about any connection with liquor. This isn’t a new concern; Christians have always felt this way. In 1 Tim 5:23, Paul had to specifically tell Timothy that using alcohol medicinally was okay. This is the exact same scenario you are facing. If your doctor prescribes alcohol medicinally, your situation would fall into the same category as 1 Tim 5:23. Having said that, if your conscience offends you, you should choose alternate medical routes (after all, we are blessed to live in a time with so many medical options) because anything that isn’t done in faith is sinful (Rom 14:23).
Just to reiterate, this only pertains to medical prescriptions, not recreational or social drinking.
What does the Bible say on cremation? Is it okay to be cremated after you pass away?
Dear Last Wishes,
Both cremation and burial are acceptable Biblical practices. The Bible makes it clear that your body is merely a tent that is discarded at death (2 Cor 5:1-4). Peter recognized that at death we leave this ‘tent’ of a body behind (2 Pet 1:14). Ultimately, your physical body will return to dust and dirt (Gen 3:19). It may sound morbid, but cremation simply speeds along the natural process of decay that will occur to all bodies eventually.
Furthermore, we have at least one account of cremation occurring in the Old Testament. Saul and his sons were cremated after they died in battle (1 Sam 31:12). The men that cremated Saul and his sons were later commended by David for their behavior (2 Sam 2:5). That same verse in 2 Samuel shows that David considered cremation a form of burial. David’s endorsement of cremation as a godly practice is worth noting.
The Bible does not seem to place much focus on how someone is buried. God’s emphasis is upon how we live (Gal 2:20), not what is done with our body after we die.
Is it okay to take anti-depressants?
Dear Feeling Low,
God condones taking medication for our health problems. Paul told Timothy to take some wine for his stomach (1 Tim 5:23). The sick were told to have the elders pray over them and anoint them with oil – oil was used as a medicine (Jas 5:14).
We know that medicine is perfectly appropriate when you are sick. Though some feel uncomfortable using anti-depressants (and you should never do anything that goes against your conscience – 1 Tim 1:5), the argument can be made that anti-depressant medication is just like using aspirin or any other medical technique to improve human health and body function. Good brethren disagree on this issue, and it is important to consider the issue carefully for yourself and make a prayerful decision.