Sickness and disease are among the results of sin that entered the human race when Adam sinned (Gen 3:16-19). Jesus’ healing of disease was one evidence that the kingdom of God had come and that Jesus had power over all the evil effects of sin (Matt 4:23; 8:17; 9:35; 12:28). The age to come will see the complete removal of all sickness and disease (Rev 21:4; 22:2). At times God may use sickness to punish people for their sins (Num 12:1-10; 2 Kings 5:25-27; Ps 38:3-6; John 5:13-14; Acts 12:23). Other times he may use sickness to make them more reliant on his power and grace (2 Cor 12:7-10). In most cases, however, it is not possible to say why people suffer from sickness, disability or disease (John 9:1-3). The book of Job shows that no one should judge another with the accusation that the sufferer’s experience is because of personal sin (Job 42:7; see JOB; SUFFERING).
Among the diseases and disabilities that the Bible mentions are leprosy (2 Kings 7:3,8; Luke 17:12; see LEPROSY), epilepsy (Matt 4:24), dysentery (Acts 28:8), nervous disorders (1 Sam 16:14-23; Dan 4:33), deafness (Lev 19:14; Mark 7:32), dumbness (Mark 7:37; 9:25), blindness (2 Sam 5:8; Mark 10:46; John 9:1), paralysis (John 5:4; Acts 9:33), bone deformities (Luke 5:18; 6:6; 13:11), boils (1 Sam 5:6; Isa 38:21), dropsy (Luke 14:2) and various fevers (Mark 1:30; John 4:52; Acts 28:8). (Concerning the connection between demon possession and certain diseases see UNCLEAN SPIRITS.) The Israelite laws governing cleansing, foods and diseases provided a standard of hygiene that helped protect people from many harmful diseases (see UNCLEANNESS). Nevertheless, some sickness was inevitable. At a time when the knowledge and facilities of modern medicine were not available, physicians and common people alike used whatever skills they had (Gen 50:2; Jer 8:22; Mark 5:26) and whatever treatments were available to them (2 Kings 20:7; Jer 46:11; Luke 10:34; 1 Tim 5:23). Many of the non-Israelite physicians were actually sorcerers (2 Chron 16:12; see MAGIC).