In a national sample of 2,100 African Americans followed up 12 years after the initial interview, there was a strong and significant association between every combination of religious and well-being variable. These results confirm similar findings in nearly 75 studies published between 1980 and 1998 on well-being and religion. 33
In a survey of 121 men and women followed in a 40-year longitudinal study, job and neighborhood, work and leisure, and home and family relationships were studied. As a result, wisdom, far more than either life environments or living conditions, explained most of these subjects views of life satisfaction. Wisdom was much more important than health or having financial security. 34
Individuals suffering from these (alcohol or drug abuse) problems are found to have a low level of religious involvement...spiritual re(engagement) appears to be correlated with recovery. The link between spiritual or religious involvement and lower risk is one of the more consistent (although seldom taught) findings of the addiction field. 35
3. What Does the Bible Say About Faith and Health?
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (III John 1:2 NIV)
The Bible views physical health in the broader context of a persons total well-being. Because the spiritual transcends the physical, we retain our God-given value apart from our physical state. Our spiritual life also allows us to triumph over physical suffering, handicap or defect.
And He said, If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His command- ments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer. (Exodus 15:25-27 NIV)
Many can and will realize better health simply by following Gods principles laid out in the Scriptures. God protected His people with a host of commandments designed to keep them safe from infectious diseases, heart disease, and other health problems. These God-given principles were so advanced that many would not be scientifically discovered until several millennia later.
While the Bible offers much in the way of practical protections for our health, true whole-person health requires a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. To discover how you can have such a relation- ship if you have not experienced it, read in the Bible Romans 3:23 (we all fall short of Gods standard), 6:23 (our sin leads to death), 5:8 (Christ died for us), 10:9 (confess and believe to be saved to eternal life), and 10:13 (all who call on His name will be saved).
Preventing disease Arteriosclerosis
Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, You shall not eat any fat from an ox, a sheep, or a goat. (Leviticus 7:23,
NAS) Fatty, cholesterol-rich plaques from such meats form in the walls of arteries and block the openings, leading to arteriosclerosis and heart attacks.
Bacterial and parasitic infections Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. (Deuteronomy 23:12-13, NIV) Dr. S.I. McMillen points out that simply following this biblical edict, written 3500 years before the
theory of infectious spread of disease, could have helped prevent devastations of typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and other epidemics.
Cancer in males
...every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised... (Gen-
esis 17:12, NIV) When a New York study showed that almost no Jewish men developed penile cancer, the hygienic benefits of circumcision were given credit for avoiding the cancer. The eighth day has also been scientifically proven to be the safest time to circumcise, since Vitamin K production by that time helps prevent excessive bleeding.