Butchered Bible – 1 Peter 2:24-25

Butchered Bible – 1 Peter 2:24-25

Starting today, I’m positing a Thursday series on “Butchered Bible Verses” that will highlight one passage or verse each Thursday and demonstrate how it’s often misinterpreted and misapplied both inside and outside of the church.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking of this series and the need to address some verses that are often abused by the church and our culture.

As I begin this series, it’s essential to remember that the Bible is not man’s book.  The Bible is a book written by the Holy Spirit.  In fact, the writer to the Hebrews points that out as he quotes from Psalm 95 in Hebrews 3.  As he begins the quote, he says, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says.”  The point he was making was that the Psalmist didn’t come up with the words on his own.  He was moved upon by the Holy Spirit like a sailboat in the sea to write the words that are recorded.  As 2 Timothy 3:16 records, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”  The Bible is God’s book written down by the servants of God – all for the glory of God.

Butchered Text

1 Peter 2:24-25 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. [25] For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Explanation of how this text is misused

This text is often misinterpreted and abused in the church by those in the Charismatic movement.  Many people view this text as a promise that the suffering and death of Christ provides healing for every disease or sickness we experience in this life.  Those who hold to such interpretations of this text will use phrases such as:

  • Don’t claim that disease or sickness!
  • You just need to plead the blood of Jesus.

In his book, Rise and be Healed, Benny Hinn says the following on page 32:  “He promises to heal all – every one, any, any whatsoever, everything – all our diseases! That means not even a headache, sinus problem, not even a toothache – nothing! No sickness should come your way. God heals all your diseases.

Is that really a true promise that God has given us for this life?  Kenneth Copeland posted a prayer for healing on his website and one of the lines from that prayer misuses 1 Peter 2:24.  Notice what he said:

Father, I come boldly before Your throne to obtain grace to help in time of need. I have confidence in Your Word, and I take hold of Your promises to heal me. According to Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24, I resist sickness and disease. I speak with my mouth and believe in my heart that I am healed of all sickness and disease.

As you can clearly see, in his prayer, Kenneth Copeland used the verse 1 Peter 2:24 as a basis for physical healing from disease.

Explanation of this text

1 Peter 2:24-25 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. [25] For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

In the first two verses of chapter 1, we see that Peter is writing to the “elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” who were scattered due to persecution and trials.  His purpose was to encourage them in the faith.  His method of encouragement was to remind them of their spiritual healing – in order that they could endure the trials and problems of this life.  He wasn’t providing a “magic formula” for them to plead in order to escape the harshness of this fallen world.  In Made For His Pleasure, Alistair Begg writes on page 23: “Although our contemporary preoccupation is with the power to heal, we err by failing to understand the miracle of God’s grace in granting the power necessary for endurance and patience.”

When we come to chapter 2:24-25, Peter is doing what the Apostles were known for in the early church – using the OT as a means of pointing to Christ!  He quotes from Isaiah 53:4-6:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. [5] But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. [6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

As you may recall, when Philip was sent out into the desert region by the Holy Spirt he found an Ethiopian Eunuch on a chariot reading Isaiah 53.  The Bible tells us that he started at that very text and preached the good news of Jesus Christ to this man and he was saved.  So, we have ample evidence in Scripture that Isaiah 53 is a clear prophecy of the suffering death of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God.  However, what does it mean that He “bore our sins in his body on the tree” and “by his wounds” we are healed?  Does that mean that based on the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross we have a “legal” claim for healing from all disease and sickness?

This is where a good practice of expository reading, studying, and preaching are extremely beneficial.  Anyone can rip verses of Scripture out of their proper context.  It’s clear by a contextual reading of Isaiah and through a cross-reference of Isaiah 53 and Acts 8 that the intent of the original author and the Apostolic interpretation is for the healing of sins not diseases!  In Acts 8 – the Ethiopian Eunuch was healed of his sin not his physical diseases!

Furthermore, one of the sad realities of the Charismatic (Word-Faith) movement is that they teach people to claim their healing based on the blood of Jesus.  One day, even those teachers will get sick and die.  What a horrible death it would be to die pleading the blood of Jesus for healing only to discover that you had misinterpreted that verse all along!  In our death moments – we must have confidence that we have experienced a greater healing from a greater disease – namely the healing from sin through Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The next time you hear someone pleading the blood of Christ and quoting 1 Peter 2:24-25 as a means of healing from physical disease – point them to the greater healing and the proper use of that Scripture!  Context is king and is extremely helpful in a proper understanding of what the Bible is teaching us.  Consider the words of John MacArthur in his book, Charismatic Chaos:

Since no charismatic healer can come up with genuinely verifiable cases of instant healing involving organic disease; since no charismatic healer heals everyone who comes for healing and hundreds go away from their services as sick or crippled as when they came; since no charismatic healer raises the dead; since the Word of God needs no confirmation outside itself and is sufficient to show the way of salvation; since charismatic healings are based on a questionable theology of the atonement and salvation; since charismatic writers and teachers appear to disallow God His own purposes in allowing people to be sick; since charismatic healers seem to need their own special environment; since the evidence they bring forth to prove healings is often weak, unsupported, and over-exaggerated; since charismatics are not know for going into hospitals to heal though there are plenty of faithful people in hospitals; since most instances of healings by charismatics can be explained in ways other than God’s unquestioned supernatural intervention; since charismatics get sick and die like everyone else; since so much confusion and contradiction surrounds what is happening – let me ask the return question: How do you explain it? It certainly is not the biblical gift of healing. Healings are occurring today. But the biblical gift of healing is not present (265).

For the glory of King Jesus,

Pastor Josh Buice