Introduction: Everyone wants to be healthy. At the same time, it is a
lot easier (and more enjoyable) to eat and drink whatever you want.
It is a pain (sometimes literally) to exercise. If wearing your
seatbelt is not a habit, then it is intrusive. We have more time to
ourselves (and maybe Bible study) if we cut back on sleep, or so it
seems. God spent a lot of time in the Old Testament giving what are
obviously “health” messages to His people through Moses. God spent a
lot of time in the New Testament seeming to downplay the importance
of what goes in our body as opposed to what goes out. (See Mark 7:18-23) Obviously, if we have clear minds and strong bodies we can better
serve God. But, is this a moral matter? Or, is it just a matter of
common sense? Are Christians who focus on avoiding certain foods
rather than avoiding certain evil thoughts playing into the hands of
Satan? Let’s dive into our lesson and see what the Bible has to say
about health and the Christian walk!

  1. Mind versus Body

    1. Read Romans 12:1. What comes to mind when you read the
      words “living sacrifice?” (First, Jesus’ sacrifice of His
      life on our behalf. Second, the sanctuary service with its

      1. What principle of Christian living comes to mind when
        we read these words? (The idea of self-sacrifice. The
        principle of unselfishness. Our life should be a
        tribute to God.)

      2. In the introduction, I mentioned that health diet and
        exercise can be a “pain.” Are they subjects that
        should be considered as part of our self-sacrificing
        (holy) lifestyle?

      3. The Bible has this theme that giving results in
        getting( Luke 6:38). Does “self-sacrifice” in what we
        eat, whether we exercise, how much we sleep, how much
        we weigh, end up giving us more in life?

    2. Read Romans 12:2. Although Paul writes about our “bodies,”
      what is he really talking about? (He is speaking first
      about our mind. We renew our minds with spiritual things
      and our bodies follow the path of our minds.)

    3. Read Romans 14:1-3. What is the subject matter which
      follows? (Disputable matters.)

      1. What is the relative importance of food in these

    4. Read Romans 14:5-8. What does this suggest about the
      importance of the debate over what we eat?

      1. What do you think was the “disputable” issue over
        diet? (The New Bible Commentary points to verse 6
        which refers to giving thanks to God while eating
        meat and suggests the issue is eating meat offered to
        idols. The “weak” Christian would be so concerned
        about eating meat offered to idols that he would
        refrain from eating any meat because he could not be
        sure of its origin.)

      2. This text, of course, is of great interest to those
        who think God commands a weekly day of worship. Do
        you understand from this text that God eliminated a
        special day for worship during the week? Did He
        eliminate the importance of one day of worship over
        another? (A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on
        the Old and New Testaments, like other commentaries,
        says “no” to those questions. It points out that
        Jesus announced He was “Lord of the Sabbath Day”
        ( Mark 2:28) and thus the Sabbath of the Decalogue
        could not have been part of the “disputable” issues.
        Rather, Romans 14 refers to the “vanquished Jewish
        festival days, which only ‘weakness’ could imagine to
        still be in force.”)

    5. Let’s continue with this line of argument. Read Romans
      14:13-17. What is Paul’s primary concern in these verses?
      (What you eat may create a spiritual problem for someone
      else. Be careful not to injure someone else because of
      your convictions on diet.)

    6. Read Romans 14:19-21. What relative ranking does Paul make
      between mind and body? Between diet and spiritual matters?
      (Diet comes second.)

  2. God’s Priority

    1. Read Mark 7:1-5. How important is cleanliness to health?

      1. What do you think was God’s purpose in the “washing”
        regulations given through Moses? (To help them to be

    2. Read Mark 7:6-8. What two competing claims does Jesus see?
      (The commands of God and the traditions of men.)

      1. Which bothered Jesus most – letting go the
        commandments of God or holding on to the traditions
        of man?

    3. Read Mark 7:14-15. When considering issues of diet, health
      and fitness, are these matters of common sense or matters
      of sin?

    4. Read Mark 7:17-23. Will food affect your spirituality?
      (Common sense tells you that a healthy body makes it
      easier to think clearly. But, Jesus is saying something
      very important about diet issues. He teaches that food
      goes into our stomach and then out of our body. Food, does
      not cause sin. On the other hand, the evil thoughts of our
      hearts form the basis for our evil actions. Thus, what is
      produced by our minds and our hands should be the main
      focus of spiritual health – and not diet, fitness, health
      and exercise.)

    5. Read Romans 14:22-23. Should we even be discussing these
      issues in our lesson? (Paul devotes a whole chapter to it.
      I think it is in the specifics of diet that God advises us
      not to create problems in the church by sharing
      controversial views with “weak” fellow church members.)

  3. Which Temple?

    1. Whenever issues of health, diet and fitness arise, someone
      shouts out “Your body is a temple.” Is this a correct
      statement of Scripture?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. Is this “temple” reference to
      our body or our local church? (If you are uncertain, read
      the entire chapter (1 Corinthians 3). The Wycliffe Bible
      Commentary says “the temple is the local church.” Quite
      clearly, the context shows that Paul is not speaking about
      health, diet and fitness, he is speaking about the
      spiritual progress of the local church.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. Is this “temple” reference to
      health, diet and fitness? (No. This is dealing with sexual
      sins. If you doubt this, read the context: 1 Corinthians

      1. Notice that Paul sets sexual sins apart and says that
        they are different. How are they different? (Read 1
        Corinthians 6:16-17. Paul refers to God’s original
        plan for marriage in which two become one. This
        spiritual/physical unity in marriage is unique. Thus,
        sexual sins are also unique and especially harmful.)

  4. Health and Healing

    1. Read Matthew 4:23-25. Why did Jesus take time to heal
      people when He could have spent the time warning them
      about the sin in their lives? (God wants us to have health
      and life.)

      1. What, if anything, does that teach us about our
        ministry? (If Jesus was concerned about health, so
        should we be concerned about it. If Jesus made health
        part of His ministry, we should make it a part of
        ours. Health, diet and fitness, in their proper
        place, should be a part of our witness.)

      2. Are there any other reasons why Jesus might have
        healed the people? (No doubt that helped to attract
        strangers to hear His message. People who might not
        otherwise have come, wanted to be healed or see

        1. Is there a lesson in that for us? (The health,
          diet and fitness message may be the way some are
          attracted to God’s spiritual message.)

    2. Read 1 Timothy 3:2-4. Are all of these requirements
      spiritual necessities for all believers?

      1. If you say, “no,” why does God set these requirements
        for the “overseer” of the church? (This is the
        picture of a temperate and holy person. God is not
        only interested in all aspects of our life, He
        believes that His followers will be attracted to
        those who are temperate. The “total package” is a
        witness to others.)

    3. Friend, what about you? Will you make diet, health and
      fitness part of your Christian walk? Will you understand
      its proper place in your life? Will you avoid getting
      into disputes with those who see things differently?

  5. Next week: The Bible and Happiness.