By Charles H. Welch

Healing. This word is a translation of one of two Greek words in the N.T., therapeia and iaomai. The word therapeia originally meant service or attendance of any kind, and only in a secondary sense, the ministry of healing. In the term therapeutics the word has the more restricted meaning of the science of healing, with particular reference to the form, manner and time in which drugs should be administered. There are but four occurrences in the N.T. and these are equally distributed between the two meanings of the word.


Made ruler over his household.
Luke 9:11
Them that had need of healing.
Shall make ruler over his household.
Rev. 22:2
For the healing of the nations.

laomai and iasis. The former indicates that the action is complete, the latter that it is in progress. There is no agreement among authorities as to the origin of the word, but in the LXX it translates the Hebrew word rapha "to heal". Iaomai occurs twenty-eight times, and iasis three times in the N.T. The bulk of the occurrences of iaomai are in the gospels; it is found in but one of Paul's epistles, namely Hebrews, in 12:13. James uses it once (Jas. 5:16) and Peter once (1 Pet. 2:24). We give as a sample the occurrences of iaomai in the Acts:

A Peter. Acts 3:11 The healing of the lame man
Israel's salvation in type (see Acts 4:12)
                Acts 9:34 The healing of the man sick of the palsy
           B The Lord Himself.
                Acts 10:38
             Healing alt who were
             oppressed of the devil.

A Paul.   Acts 28:8 The healing of father of Publius
               Acts 28:27 The healing (spiritual) of Israel.

  • Iama is used three times in 1 Corinthians twelve for gifts of "healing" (1 Cor. 12:9,28,30).
  • Sozo is used of "saving the sick" (Jas. 5:15), "made whole" and "saved" (Acts 4:9 and 12), and "healed" (Acts 14:9), and a number of times in the gospels it is translated "heal" and "make whole". The bearing of all these passages on the subject of dispensational truth will be discussed presently.
  • Soteria, which is usually translated "salvation", is translated "health" in Acts 27:34. It is possible that the passage in Ephesians 5:23 which reads "He is the saviour of the body" should read "He is the healer" even as a man is said to "nourish and cherish" his body.
  • Diasozo, which is used generally for the idea of "escaping" or being "saved" by water, is rendered "made perfectly whole" (Matt. 14:36) and "heal" (Luke 7:3). The healing of sickness from the opening of the Saviour's public ministry to the end of the Acts of the Apostles was in the nature of a miracle. The diseases that were healed were many and various, few if any are not given a name, or are not recognizable by some symptoms that are mentioned. Before looking at the typical teaching that lies behind some of the cases of healing, let us make a list of those diseases which are specified in the N.T. records. The opening of Christ's ministry was accompanied by a great output of miraculous healing:

    "All manner of sickness (nosos, a disease of some standing) and all manner of disease (malakia, a weakness, softness) . . . all sick people (kakos, ill, related to kakos meaning evil) . . . torments (basanos), those possessed with devils (daimonizomai) and those that were lunatic (seleniazomai, from selene, the moon), and those that had the palsy (paralatikos), and He healed them" (Matt. 4:23,24).

Here is a summary of the scope and extent of the Saviour's healing ministry; we see that the whole land was moved from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and beyond Jordan, and every variety of sickness is represented. If in lesser things it is a maxim that holds good that

"We may fool some of the people ALL the time, and can fool ALL the people some of the time, but no one can fool ALL the people ALL the time"

then the truth and the magnitude of this initial record of the Saviour's public ministry is beyond criticism. There are seven occasions in the gospel of Matthew where the Evangelist pauses to speak of these miraculous healings in the mass. We have seen Matthew 4:23,24. Here are the other passages:

"When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils; and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed aH that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses" (Matt. 8:16,17).

"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people" (Matt. 9:35).

"And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick" (Matt. 14:14).

"And when the men of that place had knowledge of Him, they sent out into all that country round about; and brought unto Him all that were diseased: and besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole" (Matt. 14:35,36).

"And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet: and He healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel" (Matt. 15:30, 31).

"And great multitudes followed Him: and He healed them there" (Matt. 19:2).

In addition to these collective healings there are a number of cases where the disease that was healed is specified. We give the order of their occurrence in the gospel of Matthew:

  • Leper cleansed. "Jesus put forth His hand and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. . . shew thyself to the priest" (Matt. 8:3-4).
  • Palsy healed. "Speak the word only . . . and his servant was healed in the selfsame hour" (Matt. 8:7-13).
  • Fever cured. "He touched her hand, and the fever left her" (Matt. 8: 15).
  • Dead. "My daughter is even now dead . . . the maid is not dead but sleepeth . . . He took her by the hand, and the maid arose" (Matt. 9:18-26).
  • Issue of blood. "An issue of blood twe1ve years . . . If I may but touch His garment . . . the woman was made whole from that hour" (Matt. 9:20-22).
  • Blind. "He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you, And their eyes were opened" (Matt. 9:27-30).
  • Dumb and possessed of a demon. "The devil was cast out, the dumb spake" (Matt. 9:32,33).
  • Withered hand. "It was restored whole, like as the other" (Matt. 12:13).
  • Lunatic. "Jesus rebuked the demon, and he departed out of him, and the child was cured from that very hour" (Matt. 17: 18).

This list can be augmented from the other gospels, and reaches its zenith in the raising of Lazarus from the dead after being buried for four days. Each one of the cures reported in the above list was a recognized disease, there was nothing vague about them, and in most instances were beyond the power of human skill. In addition we must inc1ude the command given to the twelve when they were sent out to preach the gospel of the kingdom.

"As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons" (Matt. 10:7,8).

These healings are interspersed with references to Israel (Matt. 8:10, 9:33, 10:6, 15:24 and 31).

Let us turn our attention to the references already given of iaomai, sozo and soteria in the Acts. The healing of the lame man by Peter is used by him to point the moral of his exhortation. This is made evident by observing that the word "whole" in Acts 4:10 is in the original sozo "to save", and the word "salvation" in verse 12, soteria, is preceded by the article "the". In effect Peter said: You have rejected Jesus of Nazareth, but I tell you that just as this lame man stands before you "healed" by the power of that rejected Saviour, so I would warn you that "The Healing", the great national "Salvation" can come through no other. So, when the moment had come for Israel to go out into that long spell of blindness, the quotation of Isaiah 6:9,10 given by the Apostle in Acts 28:27, ends with the words "I should HEAL them".

The healing ministry of the gospels and the Pentecostal period are called in Hebrews "the powers of the age to come", heralding as they did the near approach of the "kingdom of heaven". The "so great salvation", soteria, "healing" was confirmed "with signs and wonders and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost" (Heb. 2:3,4). Miraculous healing was one of the special gifts granted to the church in Pentecostal times, 1 Corinthians 12:28 placing "gifts of healings" together with the gift of apostles, mirac1es and tongues. It is of importance to observe that the promise made in Mark 16:17,18 was in unabated force at the close of the period of the Acts, Paul being bitten by a viper, but feeling no harm, and healing such a disease as dysentery (Acts 28:8) by a touch. After Acts twenty-eight there is no record that Paul healed anyone again. We are conscious that an argument built upon silence or omission is weak, but this silence is supplemented by one or two positive references, which all point in the one direction. Epaphroditus was a most valuable help to the Apostle. Any one of the names given to him by the Apostle would have been enough to warrant a mirac1e on his account-"brother, companion in labour, fellow-soldier, your messenger, and minister to my wants". This most useful and faithful fellow-servant had been sick, so sick that he had been "nigh unto death". Not only so but God had mercy on him, and Paul had been plunged into sorrow. Paul, though a prisoner, could have sent a handkerchief or an apron (Acts 19:12) or any other portion of his clothing, for these had been effective in dealing with disease and evil spirits. Yet apparently he could do nothing (Phil. 2:25-30).

Again, Timothy, loved as a son, and a faithful servant of the church, suffered not only a particular stomach trouble, but "often infirmities", yet no mirac1e of healing was performed for his relief-instead the Apostle sent a prescription (1 Tim. 5:23). It is not enough to claim that certain undiagnosable diseases have been "cured" while the sufferer was in a highly emotional condition which so of ten characterizes "healing campaigns" today. Such cases of "healing" should be sent to the local doctor for a certificate even as Christ sent the leper to the priest. My youngest sister and her husband worked for fifteen years among the lepers of India. Never, throughout that period did a "Pentecostalist" venture to demonstrate the reality of his claim to share in the commission of Matthew ten, and so far as we have knowledge no healing campaign has ever been organized by Pentecostalists among lepers. We ask "why?" and the answer is evident. Not only so, but the raising of the dead is also included in these gifts, but there is no accredited instance where such a power has been possessed or exercised. The gift of healing accompanied the gospel of the kingdom, and when the people of the kingdom, namely Israel, were set aside, the gifts went with them. See MIRACLE, PENTECOST, KINGDOM and ACTS for further notes. Individual faith is not in question, we speak here only of gifts, as possessed during the period covered by the Acts.

An Alphabetical Analysis

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