Weighing In: What Does the Bible Say about Health and Fitness?
Good health is something we tend to take for granted until we get sick—it is then that we start reflecting upon our diet, routines and daily habits. While God created our bodies to be resilient, we are fragile in the sense that we are like machines. When we ingest things in excess, expose ourselves to toxins and do not exercise our “machine,” the body begins to function improperly. The Bible is like our “owner’s manual,” telling us what we need to do to keep ourselves in optimal condition.
The Bible has provided detailed health instruction back to the time of Moses. The laws given by God to Moses outline parameters and guidelines to follow regarding public health issues pertaining to water and food contamination, sewage disposal, infectious diseases and health education. These issues were addressed in the Mosaic health laws. “These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you.” These instructions were given to keep people during this time from eating potentially contaminated food.
Following the path to wellness, there are many things we need to remember such as eating the right foods, getting enough exercise and managing stress factors, but the first step to achieving physical and spiritual health starts with the heart, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity … This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:1-2, 8). Obedience to God’s commandments and other laws promote health. When we obey them, we operate in accordance with His instructions. As our Creator, He knows what’s best for us: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
The Bible is clear about how God views our bodies, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.” (1 Corinthian 6:19). Following God’s Holy Scriptures in all that we do keeps us well physically, mentally and spiritually.