The Matter of Blood Transfusions


    Introduction:  Along with the advancement of medical technology, there are often questions about ethics and biblical principles. Some religionists, such as Jehovah Witnesses, believe and teach that blood transfusions are a sin. What should be the stance of the Christian regarding blood transfusions?

I. The Bible's teaching about blood.

  A. The Mosaic Code prohibited the eating of blood: "And whosoever man there be of the house of Israel…that eateth any manner of blood; I will set my face against that soul…" (Lev. 17: 10).

  B. One reason for the blood prohibition is "for the life of the flesh is in the blood" (vs. 11). Instruction was given to "pour out the blood" of animals before they were eaten (vs. 13).

  B. Some maintain that abstinence from blood was simply and only an ordinance that was part of the abrogated Law of Moses (Col. 2: 14). However, blood abstinence actually pre-dates the Law of Moses (Gen. 9: 4).

II. When we come to the New Testament (the law under which we presently live, Jas. 1: 25, Gal. 6: 2), we also find the avoidance of blood being taught.

  A. The Jewish Christians would have an understanding as to why blood was not to be consumed. However, many of the pagan Gentiles would not have such knowledge. Thus, there was a special effort put forth to teach those among the Gentiles who were turning to Christ (Acts 15: 29).

  B. They (we) were to "abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled."

III. The matter of blood transfusions.

  A. As seen, the scriptures forbid eating and drinking blood.

  B. Some of the scriptures forbidding blood are in the context of idolatry, not the intravenously giving of blood to save a human life (cp. Jn. 15: 13).

  C. No doubt, blood is also forbidden because of the potential contamination and germ transference, especially in view of some of the ancient cooking methods.

     Conclusion:  Even though the Bible does not necessarily forbid modern blood transfusions, care should be taken to avoid unnecessary risks and exposures.  (To read more, click on "The Matter of Blood Eating.")