#3: Does James 5 Promise Healing?

James 5 seems to promise healing to all who ask in faith. However, it must be combined with the rest of Scripture to be fully understood. This short devotion explains. #Healing #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

This is the third in a series about physical healing. It answers the question:

Does James 5 promise healing for everyone?

Word of Faith teachers claim that James 5:13-18 promises earthly healing.

“Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.” (verses 14-15)

If this were the only passage on healing, I would definitely be a word of faith believer. It is perhaps the most powerful defense they have for believing that everyone will be healed. 

But it's not the only Scripture about healing. If we want an accurate understanding of healing, we must study all Scriptures about sickness and healing.

Single verses/passages must be combined with all of Scripture:

We could read Matthew 7:7: “ask and it will be given to you” and assume that God will give us anything we ask for whether health, wealth, pleasure…anything. 

But Matthew 7:7 isn't the only passage about prayer requests. When we combine it with all of Scripture, we learn that we must ask unselfishly (James 4:2-3), according to God's will (1 John 5:14-15), and we must be living a godly life to understand His will (1 John 3:21-22). See Understanding Prayer in Context.

James 5 seems to promise healing to all who ask in faith. However, it must be combined with the rest of Scripture to be fully understood. This short devotion explains. #Healing #BibleLoveNotes #BibleIn the same way, we must combine James 5:13-18 with other passages about healing. 

And let's start by looking at the spiritual gift of healing: 

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 lists healing as one of many spiritual gifts.

Hebrews 2:3-4: "This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."

If everyone was promised healing, why would healing be a gift given to different people as God determines? We must at least admit that this leaves us with some unanswered questions (Deuteronomy 29:29). None of the spiritual gifts in the 1 Corinthians 12 list is promised for all people at all times.

Then we have Galatians 4:13-15, where Paul talks about being sick when he preached to the Galatians. Paul does not link this with a lack of faith, but simply states it as a fact.

In Philippians 2:25-30, Paul talks about Epaphroditus (a faithful servant of God) being so sick that he almost died. If Paul had been an adherent of word of faith teachings, he would have explained that Epaphroditus finally overcame his lack of faith. However, Paul says it was strictly God's mercy that healed him.

Again, in 2 Timothy 4:20 Paul explains that he left a faithful Christian worker and companion sick in the city of Miletus. No mention is made of his lack of faith. 

It is no accident that these passages were included by God's Spirit in Scripture. They prove that not everyone with faith is healed. And it's significant that the greatest teaching Apostle of all time recorded these passages. Paul would not have missed these opportunities to teach word of faith doctrine, if it were true.

James 5:13-18 assures us that there are times when we should pray for the sick and they will be healed. But it isn't a promise for all people and all times. Just as Matthew 7:7 doesn't promised that we'll receive everything we ask for, James 5:13-18 does not assure us we'll always be healed. 

But I've saved the most convincing passages against word of faith beliefs for Part 4: Why Many Faithful People are not Healed.


  1. I Tim 5:23.....paul instructs timothy to drink wine for his often infirmities.....pretty sure paul knew about healing so why does he tell tim to luve with his illness?

    1. Thanks for pointing out that Scripture which also confirms the truth in this devotion that not all Christians are healed here on earth.

      I'm sure Paul and Timothy had both prayed about Timothy's health, but they accepted God's will in not healing him.

      God can and does heal, but He doesn't promise it on earth. And if someone believes that every Christians healed has more faith than Paul and Timothy, they are crazy!