What the Bible Says About Pandemics


Don’t be shocked when you read this, but the word “pandemic” doesn’t appear in any translation of the Bible that I’ve researched.

However, I do think the Bible does tell how Christians can and should live in a pandemic.

Illness is not a foreign concept to God.

The condition of leprosy is referenced quite a few times in the Bible and refers in general to an infectious skin disease.

  • Leviticus 13 talks about how the priests were to deal with such diseases.
  • Numbers 12 talks about how Moses’ sister Miriam was struck with leprosy for opposing Moses.
  • 2 Kings 5 talks about how the Lord healed Naaman of leprosy through Elisha.
  • 2 Chronicles 26 talks about King Uzziah having leprosy in the middle of his forehead that God inflicted on him because of his great pride.

Of course, Jesus also healed many lepers, which is told three times in the gospels. The point is that the physical illnesses and frailties of human beings are known to God. After all, He created us.

The world is scared and is justified in its fear.

The world lies in the power of Satan (1 John 5:19). Therefore, there is no hope of salvation for his followers (Revelation 20:15). Jesus flat out states in the gospels that if you aren’t with Him, then you’re against Him (Matthew 12:30), which puts you on the other side.

If you knew you had no hope beyond the world that you see, wouldn’t you be afraid? No wonder the world is freaking out right now.

Christians should be cautious, but not fearful.

The Bible doesn’t tell us we should check our minds at the door. The book of Proverbs in particular says repeatedly that we are to seek wisdom and not to act like fools.

The Bible also tells us that we shouldn’t live in a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). We have hope in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ who gave up His life on the cross because He loves us.

If the reaction of the hopeless is to be afraid and given to outbursts, then the reaction of the hopeful should be to have courage and self-control.

The world needs to see the compassion and hope of the church.

Christians have a special opportunity to love others by showing concern for their health. I know this is controversial, but that means wearing a face mask in public.

This topic is so emotionally charged… fear and anger are supplanting self-control. You can’t say that you won’t wear a mask and love your neighbor at the same time. In fact, the Bible says you can’t claim to love God and hate your neighbor at the same time (1 John 4:20).

If you’re against wearing masks because they don’t keep you from getting sick, you’re correct that masks don’t protect you. They protect everyone else from you. If you love your neighbor, especially those with greater health risks, wear a mask.

We also have a special opportunity to share the hope we have in Christ. The overall silence of the church during the pandemic and the fact that many in the body are reacting with fear and anger (or worse, political diatribes) and not self-control makes this an uphill battle.

Above all else, this is a time where we should be quick to listen to others (James 1:19). Frustrations are real. Fears are real. People want to tear each other down and tear others apart. Christians can be an example to listen first, and in turn, we can share with those who are hurting and hopeless that we aren’t afraid of the pandemic because of our hope and faith in the saving work of Jesus.

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