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Answers to a Common Argument Against Divine Healing

by dougg@idt.net

There are a number of arguements that are commonly presented against divine healing. One of these arguements is the claim that Jesus did not heal everyone who came to him during his earthly ministry. Those who make this claim appeal to a couple of texts. The alleged problem texts are:

Mr 1:34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. (KJV)

Lu 7:21 And in that same hour he cured many of [their] infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many [that were] blind he gave sight. (KJV)

From this text it might appear that Jesus did not heal everyone that came to Him to be healed. Since there is no direct verse that says to demonstrate the point, indirect evidence like these verses are used. The Argument is based on the usage of the word many, which is interpreted to be restrictive to a limited number, ie, that Jesus only healed some of the sick, and not all that came to Him.

There are a number of counterarguements that refute this point.

Argument from the Use of the Word Many in the Scriptures

There are instances of the use of the same word (many) where it is clear that the context is not a restricted quantity, but all. This section will examine some of these.

Ro 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

In this verse the first word many, is used to refer to all of mankind (for all have sinned). This is an example of the use of the word many where the number referred to is all, not a part of a whole. The word many does not necessarily mean a subset of, but instead denotes a large quantity.

Mr 10:31 But many [that are] first shall be last; and the last first.

Many in this context is many of the whole (all mankind), not of the subset (those that are first/last). All that are first shall be last, not some of the first shall be last.

Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

In this context the many is restrictive from all of mankind, not from the ones who receive him, since all who receive him have the power to be sons of God, not some.

Lu 11:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

In this context the word many is a substitute for the word all.

Lu 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Were there any of the fathers servants that did not have enough bread to eat?

Argument from Other Similar Passages

There are other similar problem passages where there were many healed.

Mt 14: 35 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;
36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

In this context as many as (all) that touched the hem of his garment were healed. Healing required either direct access to Jesus or the spoken word of Jesus. Many in this context is a shorthand for all.

Analysis of the word many in the Greek

  4183 polus {pol-oos'}

  including the forms from the alternate pollos;
     TDNT - omitted,omitted; adj

  AV  - many (210)
      - much (73)
      - great (59)
      - misc (23) [365]
  1) many, much, large

It is clear that the word many is not necessarily a restrictive word (part of the total), but a description of the large number (many, much, great).

Apostles Heal Many

Mr 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed [them].

At first glance this text appears to be have similar problem. The disciples healed all except one who had an evil spirit. Jesus did not say that God wanted even that singular case to not be affected. He simply explained that that one could only come out by prayer and fasting. Even the disciples healed all, not just Jesus.

Matt 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Additional Point

Mark 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed [them].
6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

This is a primary example of why some people fail to receive healing, their unbelief.


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Last Updated 11-24-96

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