Blessed to be a Blessing

Healing in the Bible: Theological Insight for Christian Ministry – Fredrick J. Gasier.

Healing in the Bible by Fredrick J. Gasier is a conversation between the healing stories of the Bible and our modern world. Gasier approaches the healing texts with a different method than most scholars. He does away with the typical methodologies of critical exegesis and thematic study to use a case study approach Imageof what he calls “a hermeneutic of appreciation”[1]. The case study method attempts to consider each text individually and how it contributes to the overall theme of healing in the Bible. Gasier’s thesis is presented on page 5, “The goal of this book is to explore the ways in which the Bible amplifies the claims and promises of both Testaments – “I am the Lord, your healer” (Ex. 15:26); “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people” (Mt. 4:23) – and then to think about all of this in our own cultural perspective.”[2] Healing in the Bible is more of a conversation with scripture than a conversation about scripture.

Gaiser’s strength is in his method of developing his thesis. Considering each text by itself makes his work very approachable and understandable. In general, his reflections tying the ancient healing texts to the modern world are refreshing. Discussing the texts and miracles without a fight over worldviews or apologetics puts more focus on the text and allows for appreciative reflection regardless of one’s view of the text or miracle. There is something for everyone in this approach. However, his strength is also his weakness. The case study approach makes his book feel like he does not ultimately get anywhere, like meandering around scripture with nothing to prove. It is hard to understand exactly what one is to take away from the book as a whole. Some readers will be turned off by the amount of speculation and opinion Gaiser includes in the chapters, specifically in chapter 11 where he draws too heavily on what he calls Israel’s “radical monotheism”[3]. Overall, Healing in the Bible is insightful and well-developed. 

[1] Fredrick J. Gaiser, Healing in the Bible: Theological Insight for Christian Ministry, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010, 4.

[2] Ibid, 5.

[3] Ibid,148.


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