Home > Acts, Bible Study, S. Lewis Johnson > The Gift of (Supernatural) Healing Along With Medical Help (Acts 28)

The Gift of (Supernatural) Healing Along With Medical Help (Acts 28)


From S. Lewis Johnson’s “Life of Paul” series, an interesting observation regarding the events on Malta in Acts 28:

Verses 8 and 9 describe two sets of healing.  In the first case, Paul laid his hands on Publius’ father and healed him – an apostolic sign, miraculous healing.  The next sentence describes how “the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.”  Dr. Johnson here notes that the Greek words used for healing differ: the first word simply means “to heal” with no particular connotations, thus something supernatural.  But the word in verse 9 is different: therapeuo, from which comes our English words therapy and therapeutic:  healing through the use of medicine.  We also consider who was there:  Paul the apostle, and also Luke the physician.

As S. Lewis Johnson notes, we cannot be absolutely certain, but this text gives at least a “strong possibility” of an instance where the “gift of healing” was used alongside ordinary means of medical help.  Even during the apostolic age, and with the apostle Paul present (though later in his ministry), God still used the natural means of healing as He continues to use the ordinary means of accomplishing His purposes.

There are people who have, unfortunately, thought that the Scriptures taught that they must depend only on supernatural means for healing.  But there seems to be evidence here, not only that the apostles did perform supernatural acts of healing, but that it was perfectly harmonious for medical attention to be given, when available, and when it might be useful.  In fact Paul wrote to Timothy, you know, and said, “Take a little wine for your often infirmity’s sake.”

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  1. Pauline
    November 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    How interesting is that !

    • November 28, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Yes, just a little detail in the text, but I thought it interesting. I had always thought the text was describing Paul miraculously healing all those people.

  2. November 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Good observation. I just preached on Luke 6 and was surprised to see Luke use the verb therapeuo I believe 19 times (quoting from memory) in the Gospel of Luke alone, more than the other Gospels.

    • November 28, 2013 at 9:47 am

      Yes, SLJ often mentioned the author (Luke), and this is an interesting point in Luke’s writings and the use of the word therapeuo.

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