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In the present-day world, a "physician" is generally defined as a medical practitioner, a doctor of medicine (in contrast to someone who holds a doctorate in some other academic field), who works for the benefit of physical health. "Physician" is used in the King James Version to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced raw-faw, which means to mend, or to stitch, and the Greek word, pronounced ee-at-ros, meaning to make whole, as in healthy.

Physicians are mentioned early in Bible History. The physicians of Egypt embalmed Jacob, who the LORD had renamed as Israel (see The Origin Of 'Israel').

"50:2 And Joseph [see The Israelite Patriarchs - Joseph; see also Why Did Jacob Adopt Ephraim And Manasseh?] commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. 50:3 And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days." (Genesis 50:2-3 KJV)

"They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick"

The debate as to whether God's people should seek help from physicians, as well as healing from the LORD, is also very ancient. Some use the example of King Asa of Judah (see Kings of Israel and Judah and The Division Of Israel) as a reason not to be treated by physicians.

The Holy Scriptures

"16:12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD [i.e. Christ! See Christ The Creator and 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'], but to the physicians.

16:13 And Asa slept [see The Sleep Of Death and Sleeping In The Desert Sands] with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign." (2 Chronicles 16:12-13 KJV)

People should seek the help of physicians however, as stated by the greatest Healer of all - Jesus Christ. Keep in mind also that Luke, the author of Luke and Acts, was a physician ("4:14 Luke, the beloved physician" Colossians 4:14 KJV) - so Christians seeking the help of physicians is hardly un-Christian or unfaithful.

"9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." (Matthew 9:12 KJV)

Ironically, it was Luke the physician who also recorded (Mark records the same incident) of how physicians have limits to what they can do to heal. It's then that miraculous healing takes over i.e. there's no need to do something miraculously that can be accomplished by a physician.

"8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 8:44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

8:45 And Jesus said, Who touched me?

When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

8:46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

8:47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 8:48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." (Luke 8:43-48 KJV)

But for miraculous healing to happen, there must be faith (see Faith and Healing).

"4:23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

4:24 And he said, Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 4:25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 4:26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 4:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian." (Luke 4:23-27 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did the Messiah ever heal people on the Sabbath? Why did those who opposed the Christ say that it was wrong? How did the Christ prove that it was right?
See Sabbath Healings

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