An article on health stated, “What are your views about health? How were they formed? Have they changed over the years? For centuries, staying healthy was a means to an end-to survive, earn a living, raise a family or accomplish a noble goal. Today the quest for health has become an end in itself-find the ideal diet or the ultimate exercise and create the perfect body! For many today, our health and our body have become our modern gods!
In pursuit of bodily perfection we search endlessly for the latest health secrets. We spend enormous amounts of money on adjustments, injections, prescriptions and procedures-even on personal trainers! We listen to gurus. We look for the special nutrient. We seek the magical cure! In the coming year, Americans will spend more than a trillion dollars on health care and billions on supplements and alternative medical treatments-yet Americans are hardly the healthiest people in the world.” 1 This week”s lesson gives us a good opportunity to evaluate what insight the Bible has to offer on this timely subject.
Questions for Discussion:
- The Bible is not a textbook about health or nutrition. It doesn”t directly talk about cardiovascular disease, how to loose weight, or even mention tobacco. Why then, as Christians, should we even suggest that the Bible might have some light to shine on the issue of health?
- As Adventists we like to talk about the importance of following some of the principles in the Bible that relate to the types of food we should eat. For example, we teach the distinction between clean and unclean meats mentioned in Leviticus 11 continues to be applicable to us today. At the same time, Leviticus has a number of other laws-some of them pertaining to food-that we do not follow. For example, three times the Torah forbids “boiling a young goat in its mother”s milk” (Exod 23:19, 34:26; Deut 14:21). Jews understand this to be a ban on cooking or eating any form of meat and milk together-meaning no cheeseburgers or pizza with meat on it. Why do we follow some laws and not others?
- The apostle Paul said, “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). Is a preoccupation with knowing and following Bible guidelines in regards to eating opposed to the gospel? How do we reconcile Paul”s statement with what the Bible says elsewhere about the importance of a healthy lifesytle?
- Peter”s vision in Acts 10 as been seen by some as a divine removal or cancellation of the distinction between clean an unclean animals for Christians. What aspects in the story raise questions about this viewpoint?
- There is much talk about healthful living in our world today? There are number of journals and forums related to health and wellness. Do Christians really have anything unique to say on this subject? In an age of specialization, should the church focus on spiritual issues like salvation, and leave issues of health to the experts on nutrient?
1 Douglas S. Winnail, Bible Principles of Health, Tomorrow”s World 3 (2001).