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Snake Bites in the Church

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Today’s Christian churches are somehow living with different practices in their congregations. Ranging from speaking of tongues and seeing prophecies to drinking poisons and handling snakes in the church services. However, some members and even pastors are being bitten by snakes. Biblical interpretations of some passages are critical to this matter.

Mark 16:17, 18

The most popular verse being used to defend handling snakes in church services is the gospel of Mark chapter 16 verses 17 and 18 which is written as follows:

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” -New International Version

Interpreting this certain passage of the Holy Scripture is varied depending on whom you are going to listen to and what kind of Bible scholarship the person has. The difficulties of this issue, however, is the focus of our Christian life. Are we going to major on minors or are we just going to leave the minor practices untouched?

Point of View

Going back to the verse, being unharmed with snake bites is true to the disciples before as factual as driving out demons. But the hard part is, can we still apply this practice today? What would be the benefit for the body of Christ if we will do this anyway? The decision is up to you and your church leader.

On another point of view, Bible commentators would take this verse metaphorically. The snake there might be a symbol of the devil who wants to deceive the disciples but in the age of salvation, the curse of the serpent will be overcome. Others would also want to say that Jesus is not offering leeway to deal with snakes (Mark 16:18) to demonstrate one’s safety. The fact of the matter is that an intense and clever adversary including the powers of nature, won’t have the capacity to stop the accomplishment of the Christian mission.

A Way to Think

Jesus says, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many (Mark 24:4, 5).” We should be careful about how are we taking the word of God and applying them to our lives and to the churches that God loves. The debate on whether we need to handle snakes on churches and how to deal with the bites, on whether it will be miraculously healed or not, is still ongoing. This also depends on how you grow in grace and in the word of God.

Being faithful in serving and worshiping God is the most significant decision that we should make. Turning away from sins and strengthening our relationship with God and the church should be given more weight than others. Blessings to everyone! Thank you for reading.

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