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Sabbath School Lessons on Health & Healing
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: Celebrating Spiritual and Physical Fitness *
Introduction: Is there a difference between good ideas and Godly
ideas? Is everything that makes common sense required by God? For
example, is it a sin to drive without wearing a seat belt? If you
say, "yes," is it a sin to buy an old car when new cars have
numerous safety systems? If you say, "yes," is it a sin to buy a
small car because large cars are demonstrably safer in an accident?
If you say, "yes," then is it a sin to buy any car other than a
Mercedes Benz S-Class - which is probably the safest large car in
the world? What about our decisions on activities that do not cost
us Mercedes money? These behaviors have an impact on death:
1)tobacco; diet/exercise; alcohol; microbial agents; toxic agents;
firearms; sexual behavior; motor vehicles; illicit use of drugs. Are
decisions in each of these areas a matter of righteousness and sin?
Let's plunge into the Bible and see what God suggests!
- Bird Health
- Read Isaiah 40:30-31. Exercise is high on our list of
decisions which have a clear impact on health. What kind
of exercise is involved in these verses? (Flying,
- No one ever told me I should fly for exercise. Are
we talking about physical exercise in this text? (We
know we cannot fly like an eagle, so the references
to soaring, walking and running must be spiritual
(or at least psychological) rather than physical.)
- Let's assume that I am wrong, and we are talking
about physical health. What does the text say gives
us this physical health? Is it spending each morning
in the gym? (No. "Hope in the Lord," gives these
- What does "hope in the Lord" mean? (Trusting
- Read Luke 12:22-26. In this second bird comparison, what
is the connection between worry about our physical well-being and length of life? (None. Ravens do not plant
food, reap food or store food - yet they eat.)
- Is this an instruction to be lazy? (I doubt it. The
two bird comparisons have the same point: trust God.
Perhaps we should reorder the list of things that
prolong the quality and quantity of life and put
"trust God" at the head of the list.)
- Mind and Body
- Read Job 14:5, Psalms 55:23, and Exodus 20:12. As you
consider the statement in Job, do you think that his
unhappy statement is about specific persons or a general
statement about the human life-span?
- If you take all three texts together, what is the
primary key to long-life? (Our life-span is in God's
hands. It appears to be more a spiritual matter than
a physical matter. This reinforces our original
conclusion about trusting God.)
- Read Matthew 15:15-20. How does Jesus compare our body
with our mind? (What we think and say is much more
important that what we eat.)
- Read Matthew 15:12-14. What did Jesus call those who
placed their emphasis on eating? ("Blind guides!")
- Context is very important. Read Matthew 15:1-2 to
see what triggered these remarks by Jesus. What does
the context teach us about Jesus' remarks. (Jesus'
statements are very broad, but what caused them was
a hygiene dispute, rather than a dispute over diet.)
- After the texts we have read, we might conclude that our
physical health is of no spiritual importance. Is that
true? What does 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 suggest?(Our body
is where the Holy Spirit lives. Therefore we need to keep
our body in good order.)
- Does the text tell us how to do this? (No. It is not
clear what we are to do to preserve our body.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-13. In the introduction, we
discussed the difference between good ideas and what is
required for righteousness. What does Paul say about diet
here? (He makes that same distinction. Something may be
"permissible" (meaning, "not sin"), but not a good idea
- What is the ultimate end of food and diet? (God will
- Read 1 Corinthians 6:13-20. We now see what Paul means
by taking care of our "temple" and not destroying it.
Does Paul's instruction have anything to do with diet and
fitness? (No. Paul tells us that sexual immorality is
inconsistent with the Holy Spirit living in our "temple."
Christians often refer to their "temple" with regard to
diet, smoking or fitness, but Paul specifically says he
is not writing about food.)
- Supernatural Intervention
- There is much scientific evidence that diet and exercise
increase the quality and quantity of life. In Exodus
22:31, Leviticus 11 and Leviticus 17:13-15 God gives
advice on diet. Has what we have discussed so far given
us reason to ignore that advice?
- Read Genesis 6:7-8. If you could choose to be Noah or
someone who had a great diet and worked out every
morning, which would you choose? (Your life expectancy
would be much longer if you chose to be Noah.)
- You know the story of the destruction of Sodom. Read
Genesis 19:12-13. What would be your life expectancy if
you were not related to Lot? (Short.)
- Read 1 Chronicles 10:13. Why did Saul die? (Because of
unfaithfulness to God.
- We have read three texts (and there are many more)
that record that God supernaturally intervenes to
take the life of some humans. What does this teach
us about physical and spiritual fitness? (We have to
keep the spiritual and physical in proper
perspective. God cares about what we eat. He cares a
lot more about our spiritual fitness.)
- How do we become spiritually fit?
- Spiritual Diet and Fitness
- Read John 6:51 and John 6:53-58. What is the miracle diet
for eternal life?
- Is this actual food? (Jesus says it is "real food"
and "real drink" but I think He means the principles
are real, not that we are cannibals.)
- Read Leviticus 17:11-12. How do you think Jesus'
listeners reacted to His statements? (The Jewish
leaders would have thought He was advocating
something that was prohibited by God!)
- I need some practical help here. What does it
really mean to eat Jesus' flesh and drink His
blood? (Think again about Leviticus. Life is in
the blood. By accepting Jesus' blood (death on
the cross) we look to Him for salvation. We
look to Jesus for guidance and protection (the
trust we discussed earlier). We must eat and
drink to live. Jesus teaches us that we should
be as constant in seeking Him as we are in
seeking food and water.)
- Read 1 John 5:12 and John 5:24-25. If you want to live a
long and healthy life, what is the formula? (We "cross
over" from our life here on earth to eternal life when we
accept Jesus as our Savior!)
- Friend, a healthy diet and exercise are very good ideas
which will likely increase the quality and extend the
quality of your life. I am a vegetarian and I walk the
beach in the morning. When I lived closer to the
university, I used to ride my bike to work for exercise.
I take the stairs instead of the elevator. However,
these good ideas for physical fitness pale in comparison
with the importance of spiritual fitness which frees us
from worry, and allows us (right now) to cross over to
eternal life. Will you commit right now, to eternal life
- Next week: The Water of Life.
* Copr. 2010, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.