Rophe: A study of Medicine in the Bible

by Allan Cougle, MD

Old Testament and New Testament views of medicine and physicians were, in many ways, opposite. According to ancient interpretations of the Book of Deuteronomy, all misfortune, whether disease, calamity, etc., was a punishment from God for the commitment of some sin. If illness was produced by God, then healing could only come directly from God, without the intervention of physicians and, many times, only through the priest. Many ancient theologians felt that physicians acted against God’s will in trying to aid in healing. In fact, one writer in the Talmud says, in effect, that the best of physicians was destined to go to hell, and the medical profession was counted among the seven professions who would not share in heaven. In spite of a rather low assessment of doctors, the ancient Jews were a healthy lot in large part due to dietary and sanitation laws. Contrast this with New Testament teaching. Indeed, Luke was the beloved physician and the writer of one of the Gospels. Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” In this book, we explore biblical teachings about medicine in both Old and New Testaments. Also, we will study dietary and health laws that have bearing on today’s life and lifestyle.

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About the Author

by Allan Cougle, MD

The author attended junior high and high school while his father was stationed near Tokyo, Japan, which was where Allan became a Christian. After receiving a scholarship to Tulane University, he moved to New Orleans and then attended LSU Medical School. Subsequently, he completed a pediatric residency and practiced general pediatrics for seven years in New Orleans. Plagued by curiosity, he did a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Duke. After practicing private cardiology for four years, he was an assistant professor of pediatric cardiology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois, for six years before returning to the Gulf Coast where he started a highly successful private practice in Louisiana and Mississippi and then retired three years ago. He has been married to Judy for forty-five years. They have four sons—a doctor, a lawyer, and an Indian chief (actually, an associate professor at Florida State who are the Seminoles). A fourth son is a pastor. Allan and Judy have seven granddaughters (no grandsons—yet). Allan is very involved in his local church with a strong interest in worship and contemporary Christian music. He plays keyboards and has written several Christian songs.

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