Being in health means different things to different people. Let’s look at it from God’s perspective.
My business name is 3Jn2 Wellness. The 3Jn2 part refers to the Bible verse 3 John 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
God’s will for His beloved children is that they prosper and be in health. My purpose is to help people be in health by living in harmony with God’s ways. (We’ll look at God’s ways later in this article.)
The English word prosper in 3 John 2 is the Greek word euodoō, which means to have a prosperous, successful journey. The English Standard Version translates this verse, “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”
Being in health and prospering are results of the soul prospering. Is your soul hating on your body? Is it ignoring the spirit? Learn how your soul prospers and health and prosperity (all things going well with you, which is wellness) will follow.
[Note the distinction between spirit and soul. See 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12. Your soul is the part of you that gives life and movement to your body and thoughts to your mind. The heart is the innermost part of the soul. The spirit is the gift from God when one becomes born again (see Acts 2:4). All humans and animals have soul life. Only those born again (Romans 10:9) have spirit life.]
In order to be in health, our souls must be prospering, doing well. So, let’s find out what the Bible means by “be in health.”
Be in Health
The first use of be in health is in Genesis 43:28 where it’s translated “in good health.” The Hebrew word is shalowm. Most of you are no doubt familiar with the Hebrew word shalom. It means not only peace (quiet, tranquility, contentment), but also completeness (in number), soundness (in body), welfare (health, prosperity), and friendship. It means to be whole (also called saved). I have heard it described as “nothing missing, nothing broken.”
Psalm 42:11 shows us where health comes from.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health [yĕshuw`ah, meaning something saved, i.e. (abstractly) deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity:—deliverance, health, help(-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare] of my countenance [paniym, refers to the self], and my God. (KJV)
Bullinger’s Companion Bible translates the last part as,
Who is the salvation of me, and my God.
The New International Version (NIV) of this verse is,
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
The psalmist is talking to himself when he addresses his soul. He asks and answers his own question (haven’t we all done that?). If you read the previous verses in Psalm 42, you will see that he became discouraged by looking at his own (negative) circumstances. He was trying to figure out what to do. Then, he had a light-bulb moment. He realized that his life is saved, made whole, complete, shalowm, not by himself but by God.
Health, wholeness, and salvation come from God. We can’t have healthy bodies if our souls (hearts and minds) are not looking to and trusting God.
Be not wise [skillful, shrewd, learned, prudent] in thine own eyes: fear [be in awe of, honor, respect, love] the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones [essence, substance, self, life]. (Proverbs 3:7-8 KJV)
Be not wise in thine own eyes: Revere the LORD, and shun and avoid evil. It shall be healing to thy body, and moistening to thy bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8 Bullinger)
Many people try to figure out life for themselves. They pride themselves on being intelligent, savvy, and wise. These verses tell us that is not the way to be. There are two things prescribed here for a healthy body:
- Revere, honor, trust, be in awe of, love God.
- Shun and avoid evil.
These are God’s ways for health. We can do all the other things like eating clean and avoiding toxins, but if we don’t do these two things, we won’t manifest a healthy body.
(By the way, navel refers to the umbilical cord, the method of getting sustenance in the womb, and marrow means moistening, as Bullinger translated it. It refers to a refreshing of the bones (your substance, your body).)
How the Soul Prospers
To summarize what we’ve discovered thus far, being in health is a result of a prosperous (nothing missing, nothing broken) soul. We can’t have healthy bodies if our souls (hearts and minds) are not looking to and trusting God.
At the end of this article, I’ll list more verses for your study in this area.
In addition to trusting and being in awe of God, we must shun and avoid evil. We must know what evil is if we are to avoid it. So, let’s look at evil.
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (1 John 5:19 NIV)
If the whole world is under the control of the evil one, how do we shun and avoid evil? It’s everywhere! It is true that God has given us the victory in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:57) and that we have overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:13). These are spiritual realities that must come into manifestation in our physical lives. Let’s look at some ways this is done.
Guarding the Heart
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23 KJV)
The word keep in Hebrew is natsar, which means to guard, watch, watch over, keep.
Diligence is mishmar, a place of confinement, prison, guard, jail, guard post, watch, observance. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldean Lexicon translates it, “above all the things which are to be guarded.”
The phrase for out of it are the issues is one Hebrew word, towtsa’ah, meaning outgoing, border, a going out, extremity, end, source, escape. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldean Lexicon translates it, “the fountain of life, of happiness.”
NLT: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
NIV: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
We are to guard what goes into our hearts. What goes into our hearts? Things we see, hear and think.
What You See
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: (Psalm 101:3a KJV)
The word wicked is bĕliya`al, which is translated Belial (the devil) 16 times. It means worthless, good for nothing, unprofitable. We are not to look at things that are worthless, good for nothing, or unprofitable.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:15-16 KJV)
Because the whole world is under the control of the evil one (the devil), we must take care what we allow ourselves to look at. Are you watching TV shows, movies, YouTube videos, video games, etc. that portray evil (violence, murder, rape, lying, scamming/conning others, adultery, pornography (or other sexually suggestive things), etc.)? Are you reading newspapers, magazines, books, websites filled with these things?
Proverbs 6 has a list of seven things that are an abomination to God. Do a word search on abomination to find out what God considers evil. We are not only to avoid doing these things, we are to avoid, shun, watching these things being done.
What You Hear
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear [Hear what?] shall more be given. (Mark 4:24 KJV)
Let’s look at the context.
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. [Hear what?] And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. (Mark 4:13-25 KJV)
The context is hearing the word of God.
What are you hearing? Are you listening to talk radio that causes you to become riled up, angry, jingoistic, emotionally disturbed, or produces hatred for others? Are you listening to music that degrades women, promotes violence, adultery, lying, cheating? Do you listen to your friends or co-workers talk about these things? What about people who are talking about disrespecting God and others, or being self-sufficient instead of being God-sufficient (2 Corinthians 3:5)? We are to avoid, shun, evil. We don’t listen to it.
What You Think
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV)
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)
If what you’re seeing, hearing, and thinking is causing you to be angry, fearful, or confused, none of which are from God, you must see, hear, and think something else instead.
Be careful [anxious, worried] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:6-9 KJV)
Look at verse 7: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Keep is phroureō, meaning to guard, protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from fleeing. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says, “by watching and guarding to preserve one for the attainment of something.”
What to Think About
What should we be thinking in order to avoid evil?
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)
Think – logizomai = to consider, take account, weigh on, meditate on a thing with a view to obtaining it. We don’t think any ole thought that pops into our minds. We make a conscious decision about what we will think about.
We are to fill our thoughts with things that are:
- True – alēthēs = true, truly, truth
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17 KJV)
Think about God and His word.
2. Honest – semnos = august (respected and impressive), venerable (accorded a great deal of respect, especially because of age, wisdom, or character), reverend (worthy of reverence: revered)
[The children of Israel are speaking to Moses] Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it. [Now Moses is speaking] And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:27-29 KJV)
The word for “fear me” means to stand in awe of, be awed. If you are afraid of something, you are admitting that it is greater than you and worthy to be held above you. So anything we fear other than God, we are saying it is greater than God in our life.
Think about God and His word.
3. Just – dikaios = righteous
What is righteousness? It is to be fully accepted by God. Who is righteous?
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. (John 17:25 JKV)
But ye denied the Holy One and the Just [just means righteous], and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; (Acts 3:14 KJV)
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19 KJV)
Think about God’s righteousness, Jesus Christ’s righteousness, your righteousness (your acceptance by God).
4. Pure – hagnos = pure from every fault, immaculate
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2 KJV)
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:4 KJV)
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17 KJV)
Think about God and His word. Think about who He has made you in Christ.
5. Lovely – prosphilēs = acceptable, pleasing – only usage in Bible
[We, God’s children are] To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Eph. 1:6 KJV)
Accepted – charitoō = to pursue with grace, compass with favor; to honor with blessings
Who is the beloved? Matthew 3:17 says, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Think about who you are in Christ. Think about how God has accepted you in Christ.
6. Good report – euphēmos = things spoken in a kindly spirit, with good will toward others – only usage in Bible. This is all about the things we speak about and how we say them. Let’s look at what it is not, that is, what not to speak:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:1,2 KJV)
This is the same phrase used regarding what we hear, now being used of what we say and what we think in judgment.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29 KJV)
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:4 KJV)
Filthiness – aischrotēs = obscenity, filthiness, baseness, dishonor. Only usage in Bible.
Foolish talking – mōrologia – only usage in Bible. To learn about what a fool speaks of, see Proverbs. Foolishness is the opposite of wisdom.
Jesting – eutrapelia – only usage in Bible. Means ready at repartee (sarcasm); witticism in a vulgar sense. Crude or coarse joking.
Convenient – anēkō = fitting
These are the only usages of these words in the Bible, so they should arrest our attention and stand out to us.
Do and speak the opposite of these things.
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:13 KJV)
Here is one verse on what to speak:
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:15 KJV)
I used to be very sarcastic. Then, I learned that it is a defense mechanism to protect oneself. The thought is that I’ll say something sharp and biting to you before you can say it to me. This is not loving or kind.
Think about and speak things that are kind, loving, encouraging, and nonjudgmental.
7. Virtue – aretē = any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (2 Pet. 1:3 KJV)
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (2 Pet. 1:5 KJV)
Think about things that are morally excellent and pure.
8. Praise – epainos = approbation (approval or praise), commendation, praise
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Ephesians 1:12 KVJ)
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1: 14 KJV)
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:11 KJV)
It is God who gets our praise.
So what do we think about? The Word of God; God Himself; Jesus Christ; things that are righteous (Christ in you); things that are without fault (you in Christ); the fact that you are pleasing to God in Christ and are therefore honored with blessings; things that are spoken in a kindly spirit, with good will toward others; things that are morally excellent; things that bring praise to God.
Thinking about anything other than God and His word is completely useless and unprofitable. Yes, you have to think about what to buy at the grocery store (ask God!) and which gas station to stop at (ask God!). Do you see a pattern here?
These are the things we are to think about, to ponder, to give logical consideration to. Perhaps they should also be the things we allow ourselves to see and hear.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:9 KJV)
Actions (what you do) follow thoughts (what you have seen and heard). What we see and hear become our thoughts. Our thoughts become our heart beliefs. We guard our hearts by not worrying but making our requests to God with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6).
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:6-13 KJV)
Being in health is two-fold. As with most things in life, there is a spiritual component and a physical component. According to scripture, being in health a result of a prosperous (nothing missing, nothing broken) soul (and is based on the promise in 1 Peter 2:24 that we were healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ).
When our souls are prospering because we love and trust God and we avoid/shun evil, we are walking in harmony with God’s ways, which are much higher than our ways. God promises us such abundance, but we must take hold of it.
My prayer for you is that you be in health and prosper, even as your soul prospers.
Here are more verses you can study about the soul prospering.
1 Peter 2:11
Psalm 42:11; Psalm 43:5
Learn more in my new book, Be in Health: Bible-Based Health Restoration: Living in Harmony with God’s Ways Regarding Health. Available now.