Question: Isaiah 53:5 says that by His stripes we are healed. I’ve heard many pastors state this is the biblical basis for God’s physical healing to us, while others say that this particular passages is referring to spiritual healing. I know, and scripture confirms, that God can heal us, but is the context of this verse physical or spiritual? Both are true but I believe using the verse in the correct context is dividing the word of truth.
Answer: I would agree with the “stripes” as being for both our salvation and our physical healing. The reason for this is because the context is clearly speaking of salvation through His death on the cross, but the verse is also used in the New Testament as fulfillment of the ministry of the Messiah in the area of physical healing. I would like to quote from the New Spirit Filled Life Bible; I would highly suggest this as a wonderful study Bible. There are many other good ones, but I would highly recommend this one. Here is what it has to say about the verse in question:
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
“Healing Prophesied Through Christ’s Atonement, DIVINE HEALING. Isaiah 53 clearly teaches that bodily healing is included in the atoning work of Christ, His suffering, and His cross. The Hebrew words for “griefs” and “sorrows” (v.4) specifically mean physical affliction. (diyinspired.com) This is verified in the fact that Matthew 8:17 says this Isaiah text is being exemplarily fulfilled in Jesus’ healing people of human sickness and other physical need.
Further, that the words “borne” and “carried” refer to Jesus’ atoning work on the cross is made clear by the fact that they are the same words used to describe Christ’s bearing our sins (see v. 11; also 1 Peter 2:24). These texts unequivocally link the grounds of provision for both our salvation and our healing to the atoning work of Calvary. Neither is automatically appropriated, however; for each provision-a soul’s eternal salvation or a person’s temporal, physical healing-must be received by faith. Christ’s work on the cross makes each possible; simple faith receives each as we choose.
Incidentally, a few contend that Isaiah’s prophecy about sickness was fulfilled completely by the one-day healings described by Matthew 8:17. A close look, however, will show that the word ‘fulfill’ often applies to an action that extends throughout the whole church age. (See Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:14-17)” (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)
“When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” (Matthew 8:16-17)
There are many other verses that speak of healing and the gifts to be used in the Church, but I hope this helps as far as healing being in “His stripes.” The stripes include both salvation and physical healing!
Gary T. Panell
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