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Olivia Wilder
New Testament Literature & Interpretation
Professor Peeler
September, 22, 2014

Primary Source- Josephus, Flavius, and William Whiston. The New Complete Works of
Josephus. Rev. and Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999. Print.
Secondary Source- Alexander, T. Desmond. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Leicester,
England: Inter-Varsity ;, 2000. Print.
Few parts of modern American culture teach healing as a holistic practice. Americans are
taught words like cure, medicate, treatment, and therapy. While these terms and the practical
implications which accompany them are not bad, they tend to offer a very one-sided approach to
wellness and healing. Men and women living in the time of the New Testament would have
viewed healing as a restoring of both the spirit and the body. In order to fully understand the
miracles of healing presented in the scriptures, we must keep in mind that healing meant to
reestablish the whole self, not just the physical body.
The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology looks at the New Testament and says that
Yahweh is presented as the Healer, and Jesus as the agent through which the people are healed.
Jesus is able to lay His hands on the sick, or even purely proclaim them healed and they are.
Jesus need not ask the permission of God, or summon Him for help- Jesus simply uses His own

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authority and the sick are made well. The Gospels contain six accounts of exorcism and
seventeen accounts of healing, making this healing of the sick a central part of Jesus ministry.
This book also talks about a common view in New Testament times - that sickness and
sin have a causal link. Meaning that by performing certain acts of sinfulness, one runs the risk of
bringing sickness upon them. This view is brought into words by Jesus disciples in John 9, and
Jesus says that it was not the sinner, nor his parents, but so that the kingdom could be furthered.
Often Jesus will pronounce those that He has healed as also forgiven of their sins. Josephus also
mentions God inflicting sickness on people because of their actions. One could take from this
that Jesus healing and forgiving was one and the same.
This principle of sin causing sickness is one that I have refused for most of my lifeparticularly the idea that generational sin has the ability to cause illness in the persons of that
family. I have been told a few times in my life that I have an autoimmune disease because there
in unconfessed sin in my life that I must deal with in order to be healed. I dont know what to do
with this information. Because while I am indeed a sinful human living in a fallen world, I do
not believe I am living in sin or that God would hold me to that sin. I also do not have the proper
knowledge of theology to know how this works.
The principle of how faith works in regards to healing is something that appears
over and over again in the scriptures. Nearly every time that Jesus performs healing on someone
He mentions their faithat times He astonished at their faith. This combination of healing and
faith is something that is most interesting to me. Does it require a certain amount of faith in order

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to be healed: mind and body? Is one necessary for the other? Can Jesus perform a miracle in
someone who does not have faith?
Therefore, we can see that we must alter, or suspend our own view of healing and modern
medicine in order to understand how these things would be seen by people of New Testament
times. Faith has a definite relationship in healing of the mind and body- particularly in those with
great amounts of faith.
This research adventure was a great introduction for me into what the scriptures and a
few other scholars have to say about healing in the New Testament. I have many more questions
about the healing that Jesus performed, as well as the relationship of healing and faith. This
research will serve as a place from which to launch the rest of my exploration of this topic.
For me, this is quite a personal journey of research. It is difficult for me to separate
myself from the people in these stories of healing, I feel deeply connected in ways that I am
desperate for answers. I long to be healed, but I dont know if it is right for me to want that. Is
my faith strong enough for God to work in me? Should I pray for healing? I have a desire to
know how we should approach the longing to be healed in our day, and how we should come to
God with that desire.