WHAT IS THE “BLOODY FLUX” OF ACTS 28:8?
by Shawn Brasseaux
“And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him” (Acts 28:8).
The Beloved Physician Luke (Colossians 4:14), whom the Holy Spirit moved to write the Book of Acts, draws our attention to a man on the island of Melita (modern Malta) suffering a particularly gruesome bodily affliction: the individual is sick with a “bloody flux.” In medical terms, “flux” (Latin, “flow”) is any fluid flowing from the body. Of course, we know what “blood” is. Luke used the word “dysenteria” (“dus/dys” is a Greek prefix meaning “difficulty, grievous;” “entos” refers to the bowel). Our modern medical term is a transliteration of that very word—dysentery. Essentially, it is a disease, usually caused by infection, characterized by severe diarrhea with passage of mucus and blood. In the case of Publius’ father, infection is involved, as he also suffers a fever.