6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Are Christians promised physical healing through prayer and anointing?

Imagine one of these situations:

Your wife has been in a terrible car accident. There is internal organ damage. The doctors do not give much chance of survival. You are distraught with grief and concern for her well being.

Your ten year old daughter is diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. The doctors have told you that her prognosis is not good. If she survives, they are not sure about whether or not she will be able to lead a normal life.

These are the situations that shake our lives.

These are the situations that bring us all to prayer.

What would you do?

First, every Christian would petition the Lord for his healing and grace in the situation. We would ask everyone that we know to be praying and would be encouraged by the prayers of others. You would also seek every available medical option.

In your soul searching, you would also think about and look for any passages of Scripture that relate to your need. During times such as this, many Christians have turned to James 5 and wondered whether or not this passage is a promise for physical healing.

LIKE Herbert and Catherine Schaible. They are the couple from Philadelphia Sentenced to 3 ½ years in jail for failing to seek medical attention for 8-month-old son Brandon. Brandon died last year of treatable pneumonia because Herbert and Catherine believed that if they had enough faith that Brandon would be healed.

Brandon wasn’t their first child to die while mom and dad waited for healing. In 2009 their 2 year old son Kent died from failure to seek medical care. The Schaibles are third-generation members of an insular Pentecostal community, the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia.

“Experts say about a dozen U.S. children die in faith-healing cases each year.”

February 19, 2014 1:48:04 PM PST

article by MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - February 19, 2013 -- http://6abc.com/archive/9437462/

FAITH HEALERS quote James 5:15 as evidence that with enough faith, every illness will be healed.

Many Christian pastors and denominations that do not associate with the faith healing movement believe that James 5 provides a ritual to be performed with anointing oil when someone is sick.

So, as we come to this passage in James 5 it is important that we examine whether or not there is an established practice here for praying for the sick, and whether there is a promise that those who are sick will get better if they are prayed for and anointed with oil.

1. There are some practical reasons for a study such as this.

2. Everyone will face a health crisis

3. Everyone knows someone facing a health crisis

4. Most translations of James 5 seems to indicate that healing is promised to people who are “sick”

5. If James 5:15 is a promise for physical healing, then many of us lack faith.

The Schaibles pastor, Nelson Clark, blamed Kent's death on a "spiritual lack" in the parents' lives, and insisted they would never seek medical care, even if another child was dying http://6abc.com/archive/9437462/

Many Christians have felt devastated when they prayed in faith and their loved one got worse or died.

Finally, we can learn some valuable lessons in Bible interpretation by studying this passage. We can transfer these lessons to other Bible studies.

If James 5:15 is a Promise for Physical Healing....

NOTES taken from David James, “The Prayer of Faith for the Sick” taught at Word of Life Hermeneutics Conference, (Used by Permission)

a. Many / most are not physically healed when this is done

b. When someone isn’t healed is it always due to a lack of faith?

c. If so, whose faith is lacking - the one praying, the one needing prayer or both?

d. Characters in the Bible who were not healed

i. Timothy: Paul told him to take wine as medicine for ongoing stomach problems (1Tim 5:23)

ii. Trophimus: Paul left him sick in Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20)

iii. Epaphroditus: He nearly died from some illness (Phil 2:25-27)

iv. Paul: His physical problem was never healed (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

e. In what sense is the sick person “saved”?

f. What is the connection between sin and sickness?

g. Is “physical sickness” the only way to understand this passage?

Key Words in James 5:13-18

SUFFERING (James 5:13)

1. Found 4 times in NT

a. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:8–9, ESV)

b. “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.” (2 Timothy 4:5–6, ESV)

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