Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Sometimes, people assume that the Bible considers mental illness as nothing more than devil possession. Even today, some dismiss God’s Word as “unscientific” because they suppose its human writers did not understand intellectual disabilities and bodily illnesses. The Bible writers—so-called “benighted bumpkins”—explained every physical affliction with the wanting description of “devil possession.” However, there is a verse that corrects the critics’ misunderstanding. The Bible writers are not confused; the Bible critics are.

Matthew 4:24 is just that verse: “And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.” But, first, before we address this Scripture, we want to ask a question. Why were these healing miracles so vital to Christ’s earthly ministry? Were they designed to simply give suffering people relief, to remove difficulties from their lives?

Matthew 4:17 tells us at the very beginning of His ministry: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The Lord Jesus Christ traveled the highways and byways of Israel in Matthew through John and preached and healed every type of bodily affliction, disease, and disability. Matthew 9:35 reports, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease among the people.” In order to validate His preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom—God’s earthly kingdom now within Israel’s grasp—the Lord Jesus performed numerous miraculous demonstrations. Jesus Christ was God manifest in human flesh, and He was proving Himself to be just that to Israel!

Luke 8:1 says, “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing [demonstrating by miracles] the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,….” And, Matthew 12:28: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” You may also check Matthew 8:16-17 (cf. Isaiah 53:4), Matthew 10:5-8, Matthew 11:4-6 (cf. Isaiah 35:3-6), Mark 16:16-20 (especially verse 20), Luke 4:18, and Acts 2:22 for additional references.

Hebrews 2:3-5 summarizes: “[3] How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; [4] God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? [5] For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.” Finally, Hebrews 6:4-5: “[4] For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, [5] And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,….”

These physical deliverances (miracle healings and casting out devils) were foretastes, or previews, of the worldwide liberations that would occur when Jesus Christ would return at His Second Coming to reign over Israel in the Earth (see Isaiah 33:24 and Zechariah 13:2). This kingdom is yet future—we know of it as “the Millennium,” or “the 1,000-Year Reign of Christ.” Now that we understand the purpose of the miracles of Christ’s earthly ministry (and the ministries of His apostles), we can address the issue of mental illness and devil possession.

The word “lunatic” is not in technical usage today, but it is still commonly applied to someone suffering from mental illness. You have probably already noticed the word resembles “lunar”—as in, the Moon. Friend, you would be correct in making that connection. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, the word “lunatic” originated from Old French lunatique, from late Latin lunaticus, from Latin luna ‘moon’ (from the belief that changes of the Moon caused intermittent insanity). The word first appeared in the 1300s, so it has been around for quite a long time.

Religious people, usually bound by superstition, or those who hear and believe them, may say that those suffering mental illness (or even physical illness) are really just “devil possessed.” However, the Bible would disagree. If we return to Matthew 4:24, notice: “And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”

The Bible writers—in this case, Matthew—some 2,000 years ago knew there was a difference between “those which were possessed with devils” AND “those which were lunatick.” Being devil-possessed and being mentally ill were obviously not the same affliction according to the Spirit of God. There is even a demarcation between those “sick… with divers diseases and torments” AND “those which were possessed with devils.” Physical illness is not necessarily related to devil possession.

God’s Word cannot be shamed here. It is in perfect accordance with what we understand today.

Also see:
» Why did Jesus Christ heal on the Sabbath day?
» Is there “healing in the Atonement?”
» Can you explain Paul’s ministry during Acts?

Did King David engage in vulgar dancing?


by Shawn Brasseaux

While recently dealing with a dear Christian lady entangled in the Charismatic Movement, I heard her say something quite strange, totally unexpected actually. No one had ever told me this before. In an attempt to defend “praise and worship” time in her church building, she told me that dancing was Biblical. After all, she claimed that King David danced so intensely that (her words) “his clothes almost fell off!” Did she interpret the Scriptures correctly? Or did her intense religious fervor cause her to be sincerely wrong?

Second Samuel 6:12-23 relays the account of King David, recently anointed as Israel’s monarch, bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. Notice:

“[12] And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. [13] And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. [14] And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

“[15] So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. [16] And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. [17] And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

“[18] And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. [19] And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house. [20] Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

“[21] And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. [22] And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. [23] Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.”


Second Samuel 6:14 tells us: “And David danced before the LORD with all his might….” Verse 16 says Michal, Saul’s daughter and David’s wife, saw David “leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.” Everything appears fine, until we come to verse 20, Michal talking to David when he returns home: “How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!” This language is offensive, is it not? Now, read part of David’s defense in verse 22: “And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.” Was David behaving “vile” as engaging in immoral movements?

A lot of the misunderstanding stems from the words “uncovereth” and “shamelessly uncovereth.” The most problematic expressions are the word “shamelessly” and the reference to women watching David. The dear lady I dealt with, like others, interpreted David’s activity to mean nearly nude or completely nude dancing. Did David remove all of his clothes and act vulgarly? No, that is not the case, friends. The Bible language would be “naked,” as in Israel dancing without clothes around the golden calf idol at the foot of Mount Sinai. David’s joy in the Lord is certainly not to be equated with Israel’s lewd dancing around an idol five centuries earlier!

Exodus 32:18-26 says: “[18] And he [Moses] said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. [19] And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount…. [22] And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. [23] For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. [24] And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. [25] And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies: )….” Again, this dancing was certainly not the same as David’s.

Returning to 2 Samuel 6:20, Michal’s words to David: “How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!” This is not divine commentary on David’s actions (whereas Exodus 32:25 is God’s observations of Israel’s lewd behavior). Second Samuel 2:60 is Michal’s comments. She is mocking David, employing sarcasm, as the Bible says “she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16; 1 Chronicles 15:29). Had David’s actions been as “glorious” as she claimed, she would have loved him, appreciating him for worshipping God in song and dance. However, out of hatred, she teased him. Exactly why she ridiculed him will be revealed later.


First Chronicles contains the companion passage to our main text, and it reveals something that the Book of 2 Samuel omitted. Turning to 1 Chronicles 15:27-29, we read: “[27] And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. [28] Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. [29] And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal, the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.”

According to this passage, David was wearing two special garments (perhaps more). Firstly, he had a “robe of fine linen.” Secondly, he wore an “ephod of linen.” These were expensive, royal clothes (the ephod was originally a priestly garment; Exodus 28:4). Such extra garments were evidently cumbersome and hot to wear while leaping and dancing. If we use Michal’s description, David evidently removed outer garments; he surely had other layers of clothing on his body! His clothes did not “almost fall off” as the Christian lady claimed, either. That was in her imagination. He purposely took off extra layers of clothing so he could be more agile and cool.

However, David’s plainclothesman/civilian/humble/vile/lowly appearance offended Michal his wife. His royalty was no longer apparent. He looked like just another Jew. Aristocratic Michal, daughter to King Saul (now dead), considered it humiliating for David the king to lay aside his royal garments and pretend to be an ordinary citizen. It was “improper,” “un-kingly,” for he resembled a commoner… or perhaps a peasant! Furthermore, a king should behave more seriously than singing, leaping, and dancing in public! Read 2 Samuel 6:20 again, paying close attention to “the king of Israel” part: “Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!” That is, “David, you did not behave majestically and seriously today!”

We must not overlook the most important—that is, spiritual—issue underlying this matter. The whole celebration of bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem was meaningful only to believers in JEHOVAH God. David was so excited to have God’s presence return to Jerusalem (Saul had not used the Ark of the Covenant during his 40-year reign, according to 1 Chronicles 13:3!). Thus, the Bible says he sang, danced, and leapt as musical instruments were played. Michal, being the daughter of evil Saul, was an unbeliever. In fact, she was not even present in the celebration of the Ark’s entrance into Jerusalem. She watched it from afar, from a window (2 Samuel 6:16; 1 Chronicles 15:29). We read about her having an “image” (idol) in 1 Samuel 19:12-17. David celebrating the return of the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel seemed like foolishness to Michal. (Just like the lost world sees us going to church or Bible study as “foolishness.”) If there is no Spirit of God giving light, the lost soul wallows in spiritual darkness.


This issue is yet another example of people grabbing anything in the Bible if it even remotely supports their denominational system. It is also important to note that the woman with whom I dealt was quoting the verse from memory, giving me a very loose paraphrase of it. She did not actually have a Bible in hand, and neither did I. Had she actually read the verse, its context, and its companion passage, she would not have overlooked such important details. David did not strip down to nothing and dance. His clothes did not “almost fall off” either! He had merely removed his outer royal garments, weighty and hot clothes. In doing so, his “normal” attire underneath offended Michal his “upper-class,” unbelieving wife. He looked like just another Jewish citizen. To unbelieving Michal, David was “foolish” for worshipping the LORD God. She mocked him, exaggerating or overstating what he did.


We can better appreciate such royal garments by appealing to 1 Kings chapter 22. Centuries after David, wicked Ahab (king of Israel) and righteous Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) are fighting the Syrians. In order to spare his life, Ahab removes his royal garments so as to conceal his identity. Notice how Ahab told Jehoshaphat to wear his own robes (these were the royal garments). When the Syrians wanted to fight Ahab, they mistook Jehoshaphat to be him. Jehoshaphat was wearing his royal clothes but Ahab was not. There was no nudity here either. It was merely the removal of outward royal garments!

“[30] And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle. [31] But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. [32] And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out. [33] And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.”

Also see:
» What is wrong with “praise and worship?”
» What about the “Jewish Roots” Movement?
» Why did God give Israel King Saul if Saul turned out to be evil?

Are there modern-day apostles and prophets?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Certain “Christian” groups boast of their modern-day “apostles” and “prophets”—Mormons and Charismatics are two major factions. They argue that unless all five offices are filled and active today—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)—the Church the Body of Christ cannot function properly. Thus, we will hear men (and even women!) today calling themselves “apostles” and “prophets.” Is this proper? Is it Scriptural? We will look at Bible verses and let them speak.

Ephesians 4:11-13 says: “[11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:….”

Notice verse 11—“he [Jesus Christ of verse 7] gave.” Paul wrote Ephesians at the end of the Acts period, when was under house arrest (see Acts 28:30-31). At the time of Ephesians, God was not “giving” (present tense) those gifts but rather He “gave” (past tense) those gifts. Those spiritual gifts were no longer being given to new people. The men who had those gifts were growing fewer and fewer because the gifts were no longer being given. There was something taking the place of these gifted men. Once the written Word of God was completed shortly after the Acts period, there was no more need for the limited-knowledge spiritual gifts program.

First Corinthians 13:8-13 says the following: “[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [13] And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

The spiritual gifts were temporary, only necessary until the full revelation from God had been given to man. Knowing “in part” would result in “full knowledge.” Prophesying “in part” would be replaced by “full prophesying.” The partial would pass away, and the complete would come. All too often, there is the idea that spiritual gifts are to operate indefinitely, or until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. This is a theological speculation, and certainly not supported by Scripture. People stumble over the “that which is perfect is come” in verse 10. They contend that that “perfect” is Jesus “the perfect One” coming back to Earth. (An alternative view is that it is Christians dying and going to Heaven.) Both views are lacking because they do violence to the Scripture, reading things into the verses that the verses simply do not say.

There is nothing in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 about the Lord coming back. There is nothing in that chapter about going to Heaven either. The last reference to Christ’s “coming” in 1 Corinthians is chapter 11, verse 23. There is no mention of dying and going to Heaven in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 at all. God wants us to grow up now; we should not wait for Heaven until we act and think like spiritually mature people!

Ephesians 4:14 says to this point: “That we henceforth [from now onward—not in Heaven!] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….” How could God expect us not to be children now if we must wait until Heaven to grow up? See, as the verse indicates, that time of maturity has arrived—the “perfect” has already come. We have a completed revelation from God in the written 66 Books of the Holy Bible! Will we read it and think like mature adult children of God, or will we not read it and then plead ignorance of the very Book we claim to have?

It is important to notice what Ephesians 2:20-22 says about “apostles and prophets:” “[20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; [21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: [22] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” These “apostles and prophets” are associated with Paul’s ministry (they are also referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Romans 16:26; 1 Corinthians 14:37; Ephesians 3:5). We know that these Apostles and Prophets are not the 12 Apostles and not the Old Testament Prophets because Ephesians 4:7-11 says Jesus Christ ordained these Apostles and Prophets after His ascension.

Ephesians 2:20 says that the Apostles and Prophets in the Body of Christ laid a foundation. This foundation does not need to be laid indefinitely any more than a physical foundation is to be installed indeterminately. A foundation is laid once, and then a structure is built on top of it. While the offices of the Apostles and Prophets were necessary to lay the foundation, the foundation has already been laid. The Apostles and Prophets in the Dispensation of Grace—headed by the chief “Apostle” and primary “Prophet” Paul/Saul (Acts 13:1-2; Romans 11:13)—preached and taught the special doctrine committed first to the Apostle Paul. The Lord Jesus Christ revealed the Dispensation of Grace directly to Paul, and then the Holy Spirit used Paul’s ministry (teaching, preaching, and writing) to educate those Apostles and Prophets. They then communicated it to the other saints of God.

Notice Ephesians 3:1-6: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:….”

The “prophets” in the Body of Christ identified and copied Scripture. They wrote Scripture (Romans 16:26—“the scriptures of the prophets”). First Corinthians 14:37 says: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” The foundation for the Dispensation of Grace was preached and taught first and foremost by the Apostle Paul, just as he claimed by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians chapter 3: “[10] According to the grace [ministry] of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (More specifically, the “foundation” was “Jesus Christ… according to the revelation of the mystery,” or secret revealed by Christ first to Paul—Romans 16:25-26.)

The secondary Apostles and Prophets associated with the Body of Christ bolstered and spread what God began with Paul’s ministry. Their ministries continue even today—but not with new (modern-day) Apostles and Prophets. Rather, their ministries are perpetuated in the sense that we already discussed. Their ministries continue via the written, preserved Word of God, the words they once preached audibly and wrote down. Those ministries sustained the Body of Christ during the Acts period when there was no written and completed “New Testament” canon, but they have since given way to the written Word. They were influential in giving us the written Bible. Now that we have the written and preserved Bible, there is no more revelation needed from God. Modern-day apostles and prophets serve no purpose whatsoever because the ministries of the Apostles and Prophets of the A.D. first century are perpetuated through the written, preserved Word of God.

Notice in Colossians 1:24-28 what Paul’s apostleship and ministry were designed to accomplish: “[24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: [25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: [28] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:”

Verse 25 says Paul was “made a minister” in order to “fulfil the word of God.” Notice the word “fulfil,” as in “complete.” The doctrine, “dispensation,” or body of truth; that the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ gave to Paul was to bring God’s revelation to a completion. That is the same idea presented in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (which we looked at earlier in this study). The “mystery” (secret) dispensation—the “Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2) exposes God’s secret will. What God kept hidden in Himself since eternity past, is now divulged in the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

The Bible says in Ephesians 1:8-10: “[8] Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” With the doctrine God committed to the Apostle Paul, we now know the secret of God’s eternal purpose. We have no need for modern-day apostles and prophets, people supposedly giving us “new” words from God, “new” insight from God. The foundation has already been laid, and there is nothing else for God to reveal to us. Friends, either we believe the Bible to be the final authority, or we disbelieve it. Either we believe Paul’s ministry and revelation bring God’s Word to a completion, or we do not.

By the way, I find it interesting that those who claim to be “prophets,” people supposedly “speaking for God” today, actually disregard a verse that exposes false prophets. First Corinthians 14:37 says: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” How many of today’s “prophets” pay any attention to the special commandments of the Lord written by the Apostle Paul in Romans through Philemon? None! Even if they were “prophets,” they would be, by the verse’s standards, false prophets! The test for knowing who is speaking on behalf of God today is to see if he or she recognizes Pauline revelation (not mixing Law and Grace, not mixing Israel with the Body of Christ, not mixing prophecy and mystery, not mixing time past with but now or the ages to come, not mixing Heaven and Earth, et cetera.)

When someone claims to be an “apostle” or a “prophet” today, he or she is claiming to be adding to the Scriptures. They deny the sufficiency of the 66 Books of the Bible. They claim that their words (sermons, books, et cetera) are equal in authority to the Holy Bible. Heresy! They are no different from the Roman Catholic Church that claims to determine what the Bible “is,” what the Bible “says,” and what the Bible “means.” Yes, they are no different from those who argue that the Apocrypha belong in the Bible canon. The Holy Scriptures are already written, they have been preserved for us as the King James Bible (in the English-speaking world), and they are enough to tell us everything that God wants us to know and equip us to do everything God wants us to do.

2 Timothy 3:16-17: “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Do we believe those verses?

Also see:
» Who are the “prophets” in Romans 16:26?
» What is the difference between a “disciple” and an “apostle?”
» Was Paul a false prophet?

Should we “plead the blood of Jesus?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

It is a phrase wildly popular in Charismatic (“spiritual-gift”) groups. Decades ago, it was common to hear or read of someone declaring, “I plead the blood of Jesus!” Today, that expression has largely fallen into disuse—restricted to older people. You are most likely to hear the modern parallel: “Satan, the blood of Jesus is against you!” Another variation is, “I put the blood of Jesus against it!” To what purpose are these declarations made? Should we utter such pronouncements? Is there any biblical authority for this? Or is it merely religious fervor? We shall see!


“Pleading the blood of Jesus” goes back to the early 1900s, the beginnings of Pentecostalism. Adherents claim that God so wants to support us, we should call upon Him for help, protection, and deliverance. Yea, they contend that God will assist us by setting us free, guarding us, healing us of bodily illness, and so on. They argue that just as the hymn says, “There is Power in the Blood,” we need to claim that power and activate it by declaring, “I plead the blood of Jesus over ____.” They plead the blood of Jesus over sickness, poverty, “demon” spirits, spirits of fear and torment, et cetera.

“Plead the blood over everything, every aspect of your life,” they tell us. We are to plead the blood over our family, finances, house, health, car, church, and so on. They say we must make that declaration in order to erect a “hedge of protection.” “The devil cannot cross the bloodline,” they say. “It is like putting up a ‘No Trespassing’ sign, telling Satan he has no authority!” One such preacher talked about he and his wife, when moving into their new house, went into every room pleading the blood of Jesus, driving out the evil that the previous tenants might have engaged in! Despite their strange behavior, they are adamant that they have Bible verses for support. We now move on to addressing their primary “proof texts.”


Various key Bible verses allegedly undergird the practice of “pleading the blood of Jesus.” Proponents contend that it is founded upon the passages of the Passover lamb in Egypt, and the consecration of the Levitical priests.

Exodus 12:13 says: “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” It is argued that this “blood for protection” typifies the alleged “New Testament” practice of “pleading the blood of Jesus to receive protection.” Yet, Scripture does not say that any Jew applied the blood to the door and then chanted incessantly, “I plead that blood on my door! Devil do not dare come in!” No, they applied the blood by faith and God took care of the rest. God would pass over them once He saw the blood” (Exodus 12:13). He was not interested in them “pleading the blood.” The very verse they claim supports their system actually weakens it—God was interested in seeing the blood! Furthermore, there was no prayer for deliverance. God had already promised them that He would deliver them.

Leviticus 8:30 records the ordination of Aaron and his sons into the Levitical priesthood: “And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.” This was the blood of consecration. Aaron and his sons were now divinely-appointed priests in the nation Israel. Where in the Bible did these priests “plead the blood?” There is no such verse!

In addition to the two main proofs, the “plead the blood” advocate appeals to various and sundry lines of thought. It is a mixture of verses and speculations, as you will notice. Since Satan constantly accuses us Christians of past sins and failures (Revelation 12:10), it is said that we must continually fight those condemning thoughts by “pleading the blood of Jesus.” Without pleading the blood, they say, we will have no victory over the Adversary. We must “plead the blood” to overcome temptation to sin. When we “lay hands on others for them to receive the Holy Spirit,” we are to “plead the blood.” We are to “plead the blood” for grace and mercy to be activated in our lives (1 Peter 1:2). We are to “plead the blood” to have a clean conscience (Hebrews 9:14). We are to “plead the blood” to come boldly into God’s presence (Hebrews 10:19-20). Yet, if we look at those verses, there is no person “pleading” or reciting anything. The blood of Christ is there, yes, but where in these verses is the pleading? Completely absent!

There is no clear formula anywhere in the “New Testament”—or even in the Old Testament—to “plead the blood.” The priests of Israel never said, “We plead the blood” (and yet, they were offering the animals’ blood that typified the blood of Christ!). On the night of the Passover in Egypt, the Jews had no such formula to pray. The blood was already applied, and they need not be concerned with doing anything other than trusting God to keep His promise. When we find the Apostles performing miracles in the “New Testament” Scriptures, never once does the Bible record them saying, “We plead the blood of Jesus over this evil spirit/sickness/difficulty!” Let us deal with this in greater detail.


Let us begin by saying that the power is not in our words, or in something we pray, or in something we repeat over and over as heathen (unbelievers) do. The Lord Jesus warned in Matthew 6:7: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Listen to the “plead the blood” crowd long enough, and you will see they are engaging in “vain [empty, pointless] repetitions.” Moreover, we never read about praying, “I plead the blood of Jesus,” anywhere in the Bible. There is certainly no power in words and phrases we make up. Bible verses must be quoted in context if they are to profit us. We can pray for God to give us strength and resources to build a boat, but will He give us them as He did Noah in Genesis chapter 6? It is Biblical to build an ark you know! Why should we not claim Genesis chapter 6 for ourselves too?

Just so there be no misunderstandings at this point, it is important to note the following. We are very much aware that Christ’s shed blood provides our redemption (buying back) and forgiveness (sin debt cancellation). Colossians 1:14 says to that point, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Through His Son’s shed blood, Father God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (verse 13).

Satan is already defeated; we just rest, or trust, in Colossians 2:13-15: “[13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; [14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” As Jesus Christ was victorious over Satan at Calvary, so we are victorious over Satan at Calvary. There is no chant or prayer involved; there is simple reliance on (trust, faith in) the “cross of Christ” Bible verses we read.

Should we “plead the blood” when we are tempted to sin? No, we simply remember and believe Romans 6:7: “For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:7). “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 11). Verse 19: “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” Finally, Galatians 5:24-25: “[24] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. [25] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

The power is in the Word of God, not in our prayers. Hebrews 4:12 is quite clear: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Holy Spirit will take those Bible verses we study and believe, and He will put them to work in our lives. The way we apply the blood of Christ to our daily lives is not to chant, “I plead the blood of Jesus!,” or to pray repetitiously day after day, “I plead the blood of Jesus over this, over that, over all!” Scripture will work in us who believe, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” We either believe these divine words, or we do not!

Ephesians 5:18-19 says to us members of the Church the Body of Christ: “[18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; [19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord….” Colossians 3:16 is the parallel passage: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” The way we are “filled with [controlled by] the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) is if “the word of Christ dwell[s] in [us] richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16).

Colossians 2:6-7 says that, however our Christian life began, that is how it will function on a daily basis: “[6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: [7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” How did our Christian life begin? By we “pleading the blood?” No, “faith in Christ” (verse 5). Faith, not “pleading,” is the issue. Trust, not declaration, is what matters. Christ’s blood was imputed (applied) to our account for soul salvation unto eternal life, when we had faith in the justification verses that we heard or read.

Romans 4:5 says: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Justification was not reckoned to our account by we saying, “I plead the blood!” God wants to see faith in what He says about His Son; He does not want to hear “magic” words uttered. Likewise, in daily Christian living, we have faith in those same verses. The death of Christ was our death to sin, and His resurrection was our resurrection to new life (righteous living).

Religious people desiring success, fortune, good health, and so on, “plead the blood of Jesus” to try to manipulate God to do what they want. They say Christians should not be sick, should not be poor, and so on. We are “plead the blood” to get ahead in every aspect of life. Are they correct in these assertions? What if God can use us mightily without giving us material riches, without providing us with good health, and without all the other things such “prosperity gospel” people say God ought to give us His children? Nay, we are not rebellious. We pray according to His rightly divided Word, what He is doing today, not what He did in time past or what He will do in the ages to come. The authority is in the Word of God. When we understand that the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, are what God is doing today, we will by faith claim those verses. There is nothing in Paul’s epistles about “pleading the blood” for healing miracles, exorcisms, prosperity, and so on. In fact, we read the exact opposite.

The Apostle Paul himself was poor. Paul himself was ill. Paul himself suffered immense persecution by evil spirits and wicked men. If anyone should have “pled the blood of Jesus,” surely it should have and would have been Paul! (Yet, as the Bible shows us, he did not do it.) Moreover, when writing to us Gentiles and the Church the Body of Christ, never once did the Apostle Paul instruct us to “plead the blood.” When he had difficulties in 2 Corinthians chapters 11 and 12, never once did he “plead the blood of Jesus.” Neither did he do it for ill Timothy, infirm Trophimus, or sick Epaphroditus. There was no “blood pled” for the devil-possessed girl at Philippi—and yet she was delivered. No blood was “pled” for the 12 Jews on whom Paul bestowed the Holy Spirit by laying hands on them. If the Charismatics were correct concerning this topic, all of these verses would read differently. Lest you take my word, take God’s Word for it!

The Bible says in Acts 16:16-18: “[16] And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: [17] The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. [18] And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” This devil-possessed girl was indeed delivered from satanic captivity, and yet, the Bible never says that Paul declared over her, “Devil be gone—I plead the blood of Jesus!”

Acts 19:4-7 says the following: “[4] Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. [5] When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. [6] And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. [7] And all the men were about twelve.” Did Paul “plead the blood of Jesus” here? The verse is silent on that subject—yet, the Scriptures say these 12 men received the Holy Spirit. Evidently, “pleading the blood” was not on the Holy Spirit’s mind when He penned these verses. Why?

Read Paul’s directions to chronically infirm Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” Was there no blood pled for Timothy? Obviously not—if we believe the verse, that is. Was not Paul performing healing miracles? No, not anymore. As we can see, with the close of the Book of Acts, the healing miracles have passed away. Timothy cannot receive any type of physical healing from God; the Apostle’s pen, bearing the Holy Spirit’s stamp of approval, says that he must resort to medication.

Philippians 2:27 says of Epaphroditus: “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” This Christian, Epaphroditus, was deathly ill, but Paul says that he recovered. Was there any blood pled for him? Again, if you have noticed the pattern forming, the Bible is silent on that theme. If “pleading the blood” were such an important issue, as the Charismatics claim, surely it should be appearing in the Scriptures. So far, we have not seen it in these most pertinent passages.

We read in 2 Timothy 4:20: “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.” Why did Paul not “plead the blood of Jesus” for Trophimus? Is it because that practice is a tradition of men? Furthermore, how could Paul leave Trophimus ill? Could not Paul heal Trophimus here? No. Again, with the close of Acts, the spiritual gift of healing has passed away. With the Acts transition period concluded, Paul’s provoking ministry to Israel has been permanently suspended. By the way, the Book of 2 Timothy was Paul’s last epistle, written shortly before his death. Why did the Holy Spirit, in his final epistle to the Body of Christ, not exhort us to “plead the blood of Jesus?”

Second Corinthians 12:7-10 is the Apostle Paul’s own struggles with life’s difficulties: “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

What did the Lord Himself tell Paul while he was suffering? “Plead My blood, Paul, plead My blood! You will be delivered from all your problems if you plead My blood?” Certainty not! Certainty not! Certainty not! Rather, dear friends, God gave Paul the grace, the strength/capacity, to endure those trials. Again, read: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (verse 9). No “plead the blood” was employed in 2 Corinthians 11:22-28—look at all that suffering of Paul there!

Second Timothy 2:24-26 says on the topic of Christians being delivered from satanic oppression and deception: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” According to the Scriptures, “ensnared” Christians are recovered not by “pleading the blood!” Such saints are delivered by being taught, instructed, to the intent that they use that gained knowledge of the truth to think differently. They should let sound Bible doctrine renew their minds; in doing so, they will relinquish false teaching and abandon faulty thinking.

Philippians 4:11-13 says of Paul’s contentment in all situations, good and bad: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Paul said Christ strengthened him to endure all circumstances, good and bad. There was no mention of a “magic” formula such as “plead the blood” in times of difficulty. Rather, there was instruction from Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9) and Paul was victorious because he believed those applicable Bible verses.

Second Thessalonians chapter 1 says: “[4] So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: [5] Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: [6] Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; [7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels….” The Thessalonians were suffering immense pressure, extreme persecution, for being Christians. As you can read for yourself, friend, there was no “plead the blood of Jesus” here either. The Holy Spirit never instructed them to pray or chant in such a manner. Instead, they were to remember that God would pay back their enemies at the Second Coming of Christ.

Finally, we read in Romans 1:13: “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” Satan hindered Paul from visiting the Roman saints. Once again, we see no “I will plead the blood so I can come to you at Rome.” Friends, if at this point we cannot see that “plead the blood of Jesus” is just a manmade idea, certainly not in the Bible, we have no interest in laying aside our traditions and embracing pure grace and genuine Christianity. We are therefore more loyal to fellow man than Father God!


The practice of “plead the blood of Jesus” is wrong in several points. Firstly, it is a cornerstone of Charismatic “worship,” the Charismatic Movement itself riddled with gross theological errors. Secondly, there is more emphasis on experience and emotions than on Bible verses. Thirdly, there is no clear apostolic practice of “pleading the blood” in the Scriptures; hence, it is nothing more than misguided religious fervor. Fourthly, people have reduced victory in the Christian life to nothing more than declaring a chant, “I plead the blood!” In such circles, there is no clear understanding of how the Christian life began and how it operates. Fifthly, these people should be walking by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)—demanding to see God’s visible workings is manifested unbelief. Lastly, they are mixing dispensations, grabbing Israel’s material prosperity and physical healing verses when they should be realizing that the Apostle Paul exclusively writes to and about us the Church the Body of Christ.

Paul’s Book to the Romans is meant to establish the believer in the grace of God in the Dispensation of Grace of God. Romans 1:11-12 says: “[11] For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; [12] That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” Justification (chapters 1-5), sanctification (chapters 6-8), basic dispensational principles (chapters 9-11), and practical Christian living (chapters 12-16) all discussed in the Book of Romans. If “pleading the blood” was so integral to victorious Christian living, why did the Holy Spirit not mention it in Romans? Yes, the blood/death of Christ is mentioned (Romans 3:25; Romans 5:6-11; et cetera), but it is never offered in Romans (or any other part of Scripture) as a formula to pray or declare in order to escape problems and receive material blessings from God.

Yes, victory is in the cross of Christ, we do know that to be true. Trusting day by day in that finished crosswork in our key to success in the Christian life. However, victory is not in us repeating rote magic formulas (whether it be the rosary, or the pleading of the blood, et cetera). In the Dispensation of Grace, God is not interested in manipulating our circumstances. He is more interested in transforming us from the inside out, the doctrine renewing our mind, and our heart believing that doctrine. Will we let God the Holy Spirit change our mind, or will we continue in our religious error? It is our choice!

One final comment is worth sharing. A proponent of “pleading the blood of Jesus” actually warned that, if not approached correctly, the practice can become “a superstitious exercise in which we are depending on the words rather than on the understanding that gives the words their power.” I would say that, right from the start, the very practice of “pleading the blood of Jesus” was invented and is advocated by those who have an extremely poor understanding of the Bible. Thus, inherently, “pleading the blood” is a “superstitious exercise”—it cannot “become” what it already is! There can be no “understanding” in something has misunderstanding as its very foundation! It certainly is not done in faith. There is no clear verse to support a daily repetition of that prayer, a continual declaration of that expression over every aspect of our lives, and so on. It is religious fervor masquerading as truth. Do not be deceived!

Also see:
» Can you explain Paul’s “Acts” ministry?
» Is a Christian a “poor testimony” for taking medication?
» How does Satan operate today?

Should a woman lead a group in prayer?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The following scenario has become increasingly common in recent years. Whether at a Christian school, a local church, a ball game, or even the recent United States presidential inauguration, a woman will lead a group in prayer. To the delight of “feminists,” many swiftly defend this as “acceptable.” However, does it meet God’s approval? Remember, the Bible is the final authority—it speaks for Almighty God. Friends, rather than speculating, offering opinions (both yours or mine), or consulting some denominational hierarchy, we will turn pages in the Holy Bible and let God’s Word speak for itself. Then, we can all say, “Amen!” (“So be it!”)

People who encourage women preachers and “prophetesses” invariably appeal to 1 Corinthians chapter 11 for support. (You will usually find such women in “Charismatic” circles.) This passage is also heavily used concerning women leading a congregation in prayer. As you can see for yourself, friend, there is a woman most definitely praying in that passage: “[4] Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. [5] But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.” The larger context is actually verses 1-16. While time and space do not permit us to discuss that issue in its entirety here, please refer to our “women and head coverings” study linked at the end of this article.


The Holy Spirit’s words through the pen of the Apostle Paul paint a most horrid picture of the Corinthian saints. Chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians, the first three verses, sums up their problems most expressly: “[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. [2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

These Corinthians were saints of the Most High God, no doubt, but oh how they were so fleshly motivated, so mischievous, so sinful! Instead of letting the Spirit of God empower and correct them, they were operating independently of His will for them and His Word to them. Pagan philosophy had so corrupted them. Their minds confused, their hearts void of faith in God’s words, they had nothing but the flesh to fall upon. Indeed, how they fell… into spiritual error, folly, disappointment, and misery!

Beloved, we must not overlook the fact that Corinth was filled with the most immature Christians in all of Scripture. Sadly, if people today want to do something in “Christian religion,” they usually grab some practice or subject unique to the Corinthian assembly. For example, if a religionist wants to speak with the gift of tongues today, all he or she does is quote from 1 Corinthians chapter 14. If a female denominationalist seeks to be a preacher or prayer leader, all she does is cite “proof texts” from 1 Corinthians chapter 11 (above verses). Friends, just because the Corinthians were doing it does not automatically mean we should do it. The Corinthians’ behaviors, you will remember, certainly did not reflect spiritual maturity. They were definitely not models of Christian living, and yet they are treated today like they were! (The Corinthians also sued one another in pagan courts, denied Christ’s resurrection, made the Lord’s Supper a drunken banquet, boasted about their fornicating brother in Christ, and fought against and fragmented themselves. Should we follow them in these practices, too? Maybe we had better not be so quick to follow them in having women preachers!)


Four Pauline Bible Books—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—deal with the operation of the congregation. These “Pastoral Epistles” outline the structure and functioning of the local Christian assembly in the Dispensation of Grace. If we want to see how a local grace church should be organized and maintained, we had better go to these four Books and apply them before the congregation collapses. We must be on guard, beloved, lest Satan ruin our assembly’s testimony!

The following instructions were given to Timothy by the Holy Ghost through Paul in 1 Timothy chapter 2: “[8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. [9] In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; [10] But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. [11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

Did you notice how the subject shifted from men (verse 8) to women (verse 9)? Verse 8 issues specific commands to men in the assembly; the remaining verses of the chapter instruct women. Whom does the Holy Spirit through Paul think should lead prayer in the local church? Whom does the Holy Spirit believe should lead teaching in the local assembly? Notice, we are not interested in what denominations say, preachers think, church members guess, or theologians assume. We are, however, interested in what God the Holy Spirit says. He says in verse 8: “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Friends, if you take exception to that, if you disagree with that, then you are not arguing with me. You are contradicting the Holy Spirit! You are rebelling against the Holy Scriptures! You are treading on dangerous spiritual ground! You are on your way to ruining your Christian life and your local assembly! Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!

Considering what we read from the Bible, we can draw the following conclusions. If a Christian man is present in the room, the Spirit-filled woman will step aside and let him teach or pray. God the Holy Spirit will never, ever, EVER lead a woman to dominate a local church (or even a marriage). When we find female bishops and women pastors, we have actually found people who are, despite what they claim, contrary to Scripture. God’s Word says bishops are to be “the husbands of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6). Unless this verse is talking about a lesbian couple, then we can see that the office of a bishop is reserved for men. Scripture also says deacons are to be “the husbands of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:12). This office is also restricted to men. There may be female preachers and “deaconesses” in religion. However, in the Bible, there are only male bishops and only male deacons.

Friends, when we find a female Bible teacher who makes a conscious decision not to teach men, we know that the Holy Spirit leads her. Again, according to the verses presented in this study, the Spirit of God will never cause a woman to teach a Bible class with one man present, let alone many men. The same is true concerning group prayer. Her flesh will cause her to lead, but not God’s Spirit. Others’ flesh will encourage her to lead, but not God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit will never cause a Christian in the Dispensation of Grace to outright contradict or disobey a verse in the Pauline epistles.

Men who sit under women Bible teachers—quite frankly—are spiritual wimps. I know that is harsh, but I make no apologies in declaring it. Men are utterly negligent concerning their God-given role if they sit under women teachers and female preachers. They have miserably failed, not only other men, but also all the women in the assembly who could have benefited from a Spirit-filled man leading them. I would not doubt those men are ignorant of the Scriptures; hence, they feel women are “more qualified” to be in authority. I think it not an exaggeration to say that that woman is probably more skilled in the Scriptures than all those men combined. Still, a female teacher of men, or a female prayer leader of men, is not God’s design. Beloved, if we think we know better than the Creator, we are quite the fools! Those men had better get into the Bible, and have some “guts” to lead the group in prayer or study! If they do not, souls are in jeopardy of unspeakable damage and ruin!

At this point, I am quite sure that some of our readers are fuming. They are quite upset with me—nay, they are upset with the Bible. They have come across verses that challenge and threaten to abolish their theological system. They may have already read Scripture that condemns what they are doing in their own churches, schools, or Bible studies. Yet, they keep on their wayward course because it is better to “stay with tradition” than admit wrongdoing. We choose not to follow their route. The Word of God is right, and we uphold the King James Bible as the inerrant, infallible, inspired words of God. Let those divine words contradict whomever they will contradict. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). We serve God not men (Galatians 1:10)!

Friend, just so you not misunderstand, I will include some additional insight for clarification. A woman praying in and of itself is not wrong. Women praying is not sinful. The Bible does not disapprove of this. A woman leading a group of women in prayer is totally acceptable. That issue is not currently under discussion here in this study. What we were concerned with here is: Should a woman lead prayer in a mixed group (a crowd of women and men)? The Bible’s answer is that a woman should not be leading a “mixed” group of men and women with regards to prayer and teaching. It is God’s arrangement in creation that the man (or husband) should lead and the woman (or wife) should follow. My friend, there is no put-down of women. Please get that crystal-clear in your mind. The attack on women is when we ignore their God-given role and make them usurp the God-given authority of the man. We are encouraging them to do something God never designed them to do!

Now, with the record made clear by the Scripture, we all say, “Amen!”

Also see:
» Must Christian women wear head coverings?
» Should women serve in the ministry?
» Are Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 contradictory?

Is a Christian a “poor testimony” for taking medication?


by Shawn Brasseaux

I recently dealt with a sister in Christ suffering from depression. Her medical doctor had diagnosed her with a chemical imbalance and gave her a prescription for an antidepressant. She asked me if it would be a “poor testimony” for her, a Christian, to take this medicine. After all, she thought that when the Bible said “Be careful for nothing” (Philippians 4:6), God had prohibited her from taking that depression medication. She reasoned that she needed to fight her condition by herself, without medicine, and ask the Holy Spirit help her overcome that depression. Is this wise, or dangerous? Should a Christian take medication for depression or other illnesses? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

While I would certainly agree we should let the Holy Spirit use sound Bible doctrine to renew our minds, there are certain medical conditions that limit us, some more than others. For example, Christians suffering from mentally debilitating diseases—Alzheimer’s and dementia, for example—are very limited in their Christian experience. Please note that God does not miraculously cure their conditions, as they still have very poor mental health. Even though they are Christians, they are unable to think normally and clearly. They may not even remember anything about their testimony, the Bible, or God. It is not their fault. They live in a sin-cursed world like the rest of us. (I once ministered to a Christian lady who suffered from Alzheimer’s for several years. Nothing could do be done for her medically. Her quality of life and faculties diminished until the Lord took her home to heaven—that was her ultimate healing!)

According to the depressed woman’s medical doctor, who is also a Bible-believing Christian, her medication supplies her with serotonin, a natural substance diminished in her brain. Bible verses cannot help in her case. It is not a spiritual problem; it is a physical problem in her physical brain. She must appeal to God’s other provisions for help—namely, medical knowledge and medicine. (By the way, her doctor, while attending medical school decades back, said he did not like studying depression. He said it was so saddening to see people struggling with it, and yet he knew he would have to deal with such patients for the rest of his career. Again, depression is a very devastating condition, and even this medical professional admitted it.)

If we Christians have to take medication, there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. We all have our various frailties and sicknesses—cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, memory loss, birth defects, depression, loss of hearing, injuries due to accidents, and so on. These are our bodies wearing down. It is called age! With every passing day, there is a new concern. For those of us in our senior years, there a few more aches and groans as the days pass. But, we do not have to be miserable. Father God expects us to wear eyeglasses, hearing aids, do physical therapy, and take advantage of whatever medication is available. Sometimes surgery, although extreme, is the only viable choice. We must make the best decisions we can with what resources we have available. Again, there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Friend, take your medications and be grateful to God that His creation has provided their ingredients!

We need to consider 1 Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” Pastor Timothy had a number of “often infirmities.” His most troubling one, evidently, was related to his stomach. The water he was drinking was obviously polluted, which in turn caused him chronic sickness. Consequently, the Apostle Paul discouraged him from consuming additional water. Rather, Timothy was instructed to “use” (not “drink,” note!) “a little wine” for his stomach’s sakes and his other weaknesses. Medical knowledge and technology were very limited in the first century A.D.; the wine had some medicinal value and was all Timothy had available to him. (By the way, if it was a “poor testimony” for a Christian to resort to medical care, then we are forced to say that the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul encouraged Pastor Timothy to be a “poor testimony” as well. Would the Holy Spirit have endorsed sin in the life of a pastor of all Christians? Think about it. The “Christians-taking-medication-are-a-poor-testimony” argument makes no sense!)

No, it is not a sin for a Christian to visit a medical doctor and take medication. Again, Paul encouraged Timothy to resort to medication (1 Timothy 5:23). Furthermore, there was even a Christian doctor in the Bible—“Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). Pardon my sarcasm, friends, but Luke must have been the “poorest testimony” of all because he habitually dispensed medical advice and medication!!

On the contrary, it would be a sin for a Christian not to seek medical help. Friends, we should take care of our physical bodies as best as we can. Since we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, our bodies belong to God now. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). Sometimes medical science can help us—sometimes it cannot. No matter what we do, however, these physical bodies are still “perishing” (2 Corinthians 4:16). We should not be overly concerned, irrationally fixated on trying to salvage them and prolong their duration for decades more. Remember, moderation!

The good news is that we are not confined to these vile bodies forever!! One day, praise God, we will receive new glorified bodies like Jesus Christ’s glorious body. That is the event we call the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ. Philippians 3:20-21 says: “[20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Those resurrected bodies are described in 1 Corinthians 15:35-48.

We should take advantage of whatever quality medical care our part of the world offers. If medication and/or proper medical care are unavailable, and we must suffer pain because of sickness or injury, then God’s grace is more than enough to get us through it. Beloved, He will carry us along for the rest of our life. Our infirmity does not have to destroy us. Second Corinthians 12:9-10 was Paul’s own realization of this: “[9] And he [the Lord Jesus Christ] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Does this really matter? Yes, it is very important. We must settle this in our thinking because a failure to understand these Bible verses and dispensational changes has caused people in the “faith healing” community to risk, and sometimes lose, their lives. They deprive their church members of medical cures, allowing them to remain untreated and urging them rather to “have faith in God for healing.” Eventually, the infirm, who could have been easily cured, DIE at the hands of these silly religionists. Outrageous! Behold the stupidity proclaimed in the name of “Jesus Christ!” Ridiculous ad infinitum! Such is our lot—spiritual insanity—if we fail to use God’s Word, God’s way!

Since they do not understand the Bible dispensationally, people mindlessly grab physical healing verses from Israel’s program and try to stick them onto us. They do not understand Paul is their apostle (Romans 11:13). They do not understand that we live in the Dispensation of the Grace of God (Ephesians 3:2). We are separate and distinct from Israel’s earthly blessings and earthly kingdom hope. They turn a blind eye to the lack of physical healing in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, and instead gravitate toward verses such as James 5:14-15: “[14] Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: [15] And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”

They do not realize that Paul is God’s spokesman to them as Gentiles. We should not go to James 5:14-15 and try to find God’s Word to us—James 1:1 says James was written to “the twelve tribes scattered abroad.” James was writing to and about the nation Israel. We are the Church the Body of Christ, and only the Pauline epistles (Romans through Philemon) address the Church the Body of Christ. The temporary physical healing miracles associated with Christ’s earthly ministry, the early Acts period, and Hebrews through Revelation, are currently suspended. God is doing something different today. (Even the “faith healers” are forced to recognize this when they themselves grow sick, old, and eventually die like the rest of us!)

NOTE: Friends and readers, remember this ministry’s financial needs throughout 2017. Let me stress to you that this ministry has grown significantly, so we do need faithful (monthly) funding to continue serving you this year. Whatever you can give is greatly appreciated! You can donate electronically (and securely) to us by visiting Contact me at if you want to give by personal check via “snail mail.” Also, please remember our 60 Bible Q&A booklets for sale at 🙂

Also see:
» What about modern-day “faith healing?”
» Is there healing in the Atonement?
» Should we pray for sick people?

Does God “call” people to the ministry?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Once, I watched a pastor uncharitably rebuke his congregation before an internet audience (of which I was a part). The man declared that just as God had ordained Paul, God had ordained him. Another pastor got up to the same pulpit and said, “God has called ___ into the ministry. He has not called you! If you do not agree with what is going on in this church, you can leave right now!” (Understandably, this led to a church split.) How I grieved inside to hear such uncouth language… especially from a “grace pulpit!”

Does God really “call” people to the ministry? Is He mysteriously and directly selecting people to become pastors and deacons? Or, is that denominational superstition? Let us consult the Bible for the answers!

Paul’s epistles of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are the foundational books for local church order. However the local grace church is to function in the Dispensation of Grace, we find the structure and details in those four Bible books. First Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1 list the qualifications for church elders (bishops and deacons). Not one time in either chapter is God “calling” any man. Rather, we read, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1). There is nothing about the Holy Spirit imparting to him some spiritual gift. There is nothing about God “calling” him to the ministry. There is nothing about God forcing him to enter the ministry. It is a choice the man makes based on the Word of God working in him. Entering the ministry is a personal decision; the truth is, God has not “called” anyone into the Christian ministry in nearly 2,000 years.

We read in Acts chapter 13:1-4: “[1] Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. [2] As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. [3] And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. [4] So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.” God certainly called Saul of Tarsus and made him Paul the apostle of the Gentiles; however, God has not directly ordained anyone as Paul’s replacement. To say otherwise is to lay the foundation for a cult, and bring the local church one step closer to becoming a dictatorship.

Regrettably, there is an abuse of power today in a lot of local assemblies. People have been (or are being) bullied into following one particular pastor or Bible teacher. These leaders are never to be questioned because they are supposedly “ordained of God.” It is touted, “The Bible says in 1 Chronicles 16:22 ‘touch not the Lord’s anointed.’ It is a sin to remove me from power!” Actually, if a church leader is doing something wrong in doctrine or action, it is not anti-God to remove him from authority in the local assembly. It is not as if God has supernaturally appointed him and to throw him out means disobeying God. Unfortunately, it must be said. Some local churches would be 1,000 times better off if they would get rid of their wayward pastor! The man has caused the assembly to err in doctrine. He does not teach the Word of God rightly divided. If he does teach the Word of God rightly divided, he does so in a very unloving, contentious manner. He forces verses to say what he wants them to say. The Bible is clear to have nothing to do with false teachers—that includes preachers!

Romans 16:17-18: “[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” And, 1 Timothy 6:3-6: “[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. [6] But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

We expect 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon to mention spiritual gifts. After all, those four epistles highlight how the local church is to function—especially who is to lead them and how they are to behave. We would expect those four epistles to emphasize men who had the gift of tongues, and/or the gift of prophecy, and/or the gift of apostleship, and/or the gift of healing, and/or the gift of wisdom or the gift of knowledge, and so on. Yet, 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1 do not even briefly mention such gifts. Bishops and deacons were not required to have them. Why? Those chapters are written in light of the Acts transitional period passing away. Once the Acts period ended, there would be no more need for (temporary) spiritual gifts. What was needed was men who knew the completed Bible, who let the completed Bible work in them, who then chose to become bishops and/or deacons. That is the teaching of 1 Timothy 3:1.

The Bible talks about the spiritual gifts ceasing. Contrary to what you may have heard all your life in church, there are no spiritual gifts operating today. Spiritual gifts vanished when the Bible was completed in the first century A.D. You can learn more information by seeing our study on 1 Corinthians 13:10 (linked below). For now, we simply quote it and its context: “[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [13] And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Also see:
» What is the “that which is perfect is come” in 1 Corinthians 13:10?
» Could you explain Paul’s “Acts” ministry?
» What is the difference between a minister, a pastor, and an evangelist?

What is “peeping” and “muttering?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Charismatics today tell us that their “speaking in tongues” (glossolalia) is a sure sign that the God of the Bible is working in their midst. Is that so? Friends, let us look in the Bible for answers!

The Corinthians were the Charismatics of the Bible. They had their own “tongue-speaking” experiences. Like today, some were quite strange! These Christians were abusing spiritual gifts; therefore, Paul had to rebuke them, correct them. He wrote three chapters to them about spiritual gifts. Please refer to 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. The professing church, had it remained faithful to believing and applying these passages, would have never gotten involved in the Charismatic Movement at all!

First Corinthians 12:1-2 begins: “[1] Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. [2] Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.” You can see the Corinthians’ pagan, tongue-talking background hinted at when Paul mentioned “dumb [as in mute] idols.” They believed their heathen idols could talk and teach them doctrine. You can take a concordance and find Israel’s Old Testament making constant references to idols that do not and cannot talk. Israel had to be told time and time again that those idols were unable to speak.

Psalm 115:1-8 is one instance: “[1] Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. [2] Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? [3] But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. [4] Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. [5] They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: [6] They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: [7] They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. [8] They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”

In the Old Testament economy, in heathen religion, wizards that “peeped and muttered” (chirped, incoherent speech, babbled) were seducing Israel into false religion. Isaiah 8:19-20 says: “[19] And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? [20] To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

The false religious system that had corrupted Israel centuries earlier, the false religious system that had deceived the Gentiles in the Old Testament, the Corinthians had come out of that system when Paul preached to them in Acts chapter 18. Then, after Paul had left Corinth, false teachers slipped in and the Corinthians returned to their heathen religion (including those pagan, tongue-talking experiences). You can see why they abused God’s gift of tongues in chapter 14. Paul had to write to them to warn to quit associating with vain religion. They were not to go back to what God had saved them from! In 1 Corinthians 12:2, Paul told the Corinthians that idols could not talk.

Just as Satan used counterfeit miracles and experiences and “tongues” to mislead Israel, he was misleading the Corinthians. Satan wants to mislead us today with those same activities. Paul warned the Corinthians to not engage in such behavior. Even today, various non-Christian religions have their own mysterious “ecstatic languages.” Are we going to say that God the Holy Spirit is moving them to “speak in tongues?” Then, speaking in tongues alone does not guarantee the Spirit of God is working in individuals.

Also see:
» Should I speak in tongues?
» What a modern-day “faith healing?”
» Did Paul quote verses out of context in 2 Corinthians 6:14 –7:1?

Is John 20:29 applicable to us today?


by Shawn Brasseaux

‘Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’ In John 20:29, who is Jesus referring to when He used the word ‘they?’ Is He referring *only* to Jews saved *after* Calvary and *before* Paul’s ministry? Or, is this a transdispensational verse including believers like us today in this the Age of Grace?”

Yes, John 20:29 would be a “transdispensational verse.” That is, it could apply to people of any time and in any dispensation.

What Jesus was saying in “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed,” is actually that it is better to believe God’s Word without having tangible, literal facts to validate it. The Word is true, no matter our situations or circumstances. For sake of our readers unfamiliar with the story of “doubting Thomas,” it is better we “get the flow” of the passage before we comment on verse 29.

Let us read John chapter 20, beginning at verse 19: “[19] Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. [20] And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. [21] Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. [22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: [23] Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

Now, we go into the immediate context of the verse in question: “[24] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. [26] And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. [27] Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [28] And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. [29] Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Doubting Thomas refused to believe Jesus had resurrected until he could touch Him, until he could see and put his finger into the scars of Christ. Thomas disbelieved God’s Word. People doubting God’s Word without seeing validation, is true of any dispensation. That is why we commented on the fact that verse 29 is “transdispensational.” As Jesus Himself said, Israel was particularly guilty of “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe(John 4:48). They always wanted to see miraculous events and yet they would often miss what those events meant (Bible doctrine being communicated in those miracles). Even today, the Charismatics go around saying, “We can see God working. Just look at this experience, look at that experience. A ‘healing,’ a ‘vision,’ a ‘tongues’ meeting, an ‘exorcism,’ an ‘angelic appearance,’…” on and on they go. They are just like doubting Thomas, or unbelieving Israel who always wanted “signs” (John 4:48; 1 Corinthians 1:22). They will not believe God the Holy Spirit is working unless they can “feel” Him in their flesh, until they “see” Him at work with their physical eyes, and so on. The “intellectuals” and “scientific” minds of our day echo that complaint. “Oh, if only you Christians could ‘prove’ God exists, then we would believe. If only we could ‘prove’ the Bible miracles to be true, then we would convert.” (No they would not. Look at how many “converted” in Christ’s earthly ministry with all those miracles!)

Saddest of all, like the Jews of New Testament times, the Charismatics, the “intellectuals,” the “scientists” of our day, they also miss why God the Spirit did those miracles in Israel’s midst. It was to demonstrate the powers of His earthly kingdom, (Hebrews 2:3-5), to confirm the Gospel of the Kingdom being preached—that kingdom will have no sickness or disease (Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 35:4-6) and no evil spirits (Zechariah 13:2; Revelation 20:2). Please see our related studies linked at the end of this article.

“Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” is the same as, “Happy are you if just believe God’s Word, despite, regardless of, what you see with your physical eyes and touch with your physical hands.” Remember, 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, and not by sight.” (This is how I also know John 20:29 to be a “transdispensational verse.”) We do not see our glorified bodies literally here today. But, we know they are coming because the previous verses (God’s Word) tell us they are coming one day at the Resurrection/Rapture. You can also see 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, especially verse 18, also talking about our glorified bodies: “[16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith allows us to see with our spiritual eyes what we cannot see with our physical eyes. It is better to go by the written Word that lasts forever (Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:23-25), than by our current (visible) circumstances because our circumstances will (and do) change. We cannot see Heaven with our physical eyes now, but we know we will go there one day and receive glorified bodies there because the written Word says so (2 Corinthians 5:1-8). Unlike the intellectuals, the Charismatics, et cetera, we walk by faith, not sight. Faith, according to Romans 10:17, is believing the verse (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Also see:
» Is prophecy being fulfilled in the Dispensation of Grace?
» What about modern-day “faith healing?”
» What is “that which is perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10?

Should we pray for sick people?


by Shawn Brasseaux

It is one of the first questions every grace believer asks once he or she comes to understand the dispensational changes connected with the Apostle Paul’s ministry. That was one of my first questions, actually. We will take this opportunity to study the Scriptures and let them speak to us in this regard. While our denominational biases will most definitely interfere with the clarity of the verses, we trust that the Holy Spirit will teach us and that we will listen to His words. Brethren beloved, prepare for a major revolution in your prayer life!

I can almost hear the dear brother’s perplexing statement from years ago as if he just spoke it, “But if God is not healing bodies today, then we have nothing left to pray for when it comes to sick people!” This concept has surely crossed the mind of every Bible student who understands right division. We know full well that the abounding physical healing miracles present in the Four Gospels (Jesus’ earthly ministry) and the book of Acts, gradually diminished in Paul’s ministry. As the latter half of the book of Acts records, Paul was temporarily endowed with the supernatural ability to perform miracles. He raised at least one man from the dead (Acts 20:7-12), he took healing handkerchiefs from his body and distributed them to sick people (Acts 19:11-12), he survived a deadly snakebite and healed many ill people on the island of Melita (Acts 28:1-10), he healed a lame man who could not walk (Acts 14:8-12), and so on. These are all Luke’s accounts of Paul’s ministry. When we come to Paul’s epistles, however, a very strange reality is manifested:

  • During the book of Acts, writing in Romans, Paul writes how we believers groan and travail in pain with all of creation that is subject to suffering, sickness, and death (Romans 8:18-25).
  • Also during the book of Acts, writing in 2 Corinthians, we seeing Paul explain how he glories (finds value) in his infirmities, et cetera. We will examine this passage shortly.
  • In Galatians, also written during Acts, Paul writes about some kind of physical infirmity that afflicts him, perhaps ophthalmic (eye-related) in nature (Galatians 4:13-15).
  • After the Acts period, in 1 Timothy, we see how Paul does not offer to heal sick Timothy but instead encourages medicinal use (1 Timothy 5:23).
  • After the Acts period, in 2 Timothy (his very last epistle), Paul says that he just left a Christian brother sick, unable to heal him (2 Timothy 4:20).

(So, why did Paul perform healing miracles in the first place? Why did those miracles of Paul’s ministry cease? See our study titled, “Could you please explain Paul’s ‘Acts’ ministry?”)


If you listen to the average prayer meeting or attend church services where prayer requests are made, 90 to 95 percent of them will involve sick or dying individuals. Dear friends, we most definitely should pray for sick people, for that is the caring and respectful action to take. But, here is where it is most important. We need to be sure that we pray in accordance with what God is doing today in the Dispensation of His Grace. What is God’s attitude toward sickness/difficulties/troubles? That is the view we need to adopt, and then we need to pray in light of that divine viewpoint.

Firstly, prayer is simply repeating to God the doctrine that He has taught us in His Holy Word, the Bible. Lamentations 2:19 describes prayer as “pouring out thine heart like water before the face of the LORD.” Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” No matter what the dispensation, prayer is always the believer talking to God in light of His Word to that believer. That is why dispensational Bible study is ever so important. We need to know what God told us so that we can know what to tell Him! God speaks to us through His written Word and we speak His written Word back to Him through prayer.

When the Bible says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), it is teaching us to notice and differentiate between the various distinctions in God’s Word. There are assorted instructions given through the Bible timeline. These instructions are given to different people at different times. Not everything in the Bible is to or about us. What we need to understand is that Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13). He is God’s spokesman to us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:1-4). Paul speaks on behalf of the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. What does Jesus Christ have to tell us? We find it in the Pauline epistles, the Bible books of Romans through Philemon. “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37).

We need to see how Paul’s epistles address sickness/suffering/hardship. That will enable us not only to pray for sick and suffering people, but it will also allow us to cope with our own illnesses/problems as well. It will revolutionize the way we have been taught to think about them in religious circles. Our prayer lives need to be completely revamped, that they match the doctrines of God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ. This is the key to avoiding deception concerning prayer!

As 2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” The Bible says that our outward man is perishing. Our physical bodies are growing older and weaker, closer to dying, actually. Nevertheless, our inward man is renewed day by day. This is our spiritual body, our soul and our spirit. God’s indwelling Holy Spirit interacts with our spirit, giving us spiritual light through the divine words that we read. We then take that doctrine and believe it in our heart (soul), allowing the Holy Spirit to take us and conform our lifestyle to match that Word of God.

It is oh so sad, oh so sad, oh so sad to say it, but most true believers have allowed superstition to deceive them, especially concerning prayer. I used to be one such believer! Let me give you some common superstitious prayers. “O Lord, guide the surgeon’s hands, that the operation be a success.” “God, let her come out of this coma. Let her make a full recovery.” “May you quickly heal this person of this disease, this illness, this infirmity, et cetera.”

I say this gently, but the above is not the right way to pray for sick people. It will only lead to disappointment. Friend, precious reader, God never promised us these things. We should not expect these things and we should not pray for these things! There is no verse in Paul’s epistles that promises us good health. There is no verse in Paul’s epistles that promises us successful surgeries and full recoveries. We should not ask God for something He never gave us. Many believers die of some type of medical problem. Some Christians spend their whole lives suffering complications from botched surgeries. There may be no cure for their condition. They may take medication for the rest of their lives. Does God not love them? Beloved, we cannot make God do something He is not doing. God is God, and rather than trying to force Him to do something, we need to recognize what He is doing and go pray for that!

By now, I have probably gotten your attention, my friend. Perhaps you have become a little angry with me, a little resistant at this point. That is okay. I still love you. Please continue reading. Precious reader, these truths will set you free from religious bondage. Please let them. We need to see how the Apostle Paul prayed. If anyone knew what God was doing today in the Dispensation of Grace, it would be the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, would it not?


If the sick person has a testimony of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, soul salvation is not the issue. You need not pray for that. However God’s Spirit worked through Paul to pray for Christians, and that is what we need to pray for Christians. We do not have to make it complicated. In Romans through Philemon, we find four primary Pauline prayer models (Ephesians chapter 1, Ephesians chapter 3, Philippians chapter 1, and Colossians chapter 1). Do you want to know what to pray for concerning other Christians? Try these four passages. (Please see our study linked at the end, “What is the ‘Pauline’ way to pray?”)

As we briefly saw earlier, 2 Corinthians talks about our “inward man is renewed day by day.” What exactly does this mean? In chapter 3, Paul prayed that the believers in Ephesus would be “strengthened with all might by [God’s] Spirit in the inner man.” Paul wanted the spiritual eyes of these believers to be enlightened (1:18). He wanted him to understand exactly what the Holy Spirit was doing today. As God desired, Paul wanted these Christians to “come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). What is the Holy Spirit doing today concerning difficulties, sicknesses, et cetera?

We read in Romans 5:1-5: [1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

It is in our troubles and trying times that we can come to better appreciate God’s love for us. Difficulties are not something to flee; grace teaches us to find value in suffering. The weaker we are, the stronger we are in Jesus Christ. This is what Paul finally learned when he prayed for deliverance from his troubles. Read 2 Corinthians chapter 12: “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

What we should for concerning sick Christians is that these understand these simple truths, that they rely more heavily by faith on God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ. That they have the peace of God, that no matter what happens, God’s grace is more than enough to get them through it. They have a chance to grow spiritually, as Romans chapter 5 says. In fact, no matter what happens, God guarantees them a new glorified body, a resurrected body, one that will never age or decay (Romans 8:23-25; 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5). This is the hope that sustains us!!! Let us be thankful no matter what we are experiencing in life. The life to come is much better, and this temporary life is nothing compared to it!


The main dilemma ill lost people find themselves in is not that they are physically sick. Their primary problem is that they are spiritually sick and going to a devil’s hell forever! They need way more than a miracle healing of this temporary body. What they need is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved from their sins (Romans 4:1-5). They need to rely exclusively on His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). There is something far worse than a stroke, a heart attack, pneumonia, broken limbs, brain damage—it is a place that burns with fire and brimstone forever and ever and ever, and all sinners go there forever and ever and ever! If you know a sick lost person, my dear Christian friend, you need to pray for that person’s soul salvation. In fact, if you pray fervently and long enough about it, you will find yourself by that sick person’s bedside giving him or her the Gospel of Grace! (Do not believe me? Try it and see!)

You will find that sick people are less resistant to the Gospel than they are when they are well. The longer the illness, the graver the sickness, the more desperate they become for solace, and when they realize the terror of death creeping up on them, they will grab at anything religious or spiritual. A rosary, a hymnal, a prayer book, a medallion, religious music, candles, anything. That is why you have to be there with the Gospel of Grace—you have to be there, saint, to give them something they need, something they truly, truly, truly, truly, TRULY need!!!

Also see:
» What about “hindered prayer” and “unanswered prayer?”
» What is the “Pauline” way to pray?
» What about healing miracles in the Dispensation of Grace?