1 Peter – Chapter Two XLVII

by Ed Urzi

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25 ESV).

This portion of Scripture presents us with a statement that merits careful attention: “…by [His] stripes you were healed” (NKJV). This passage can be traced back to the Biblical book of Isaiah in speaking of God’s future Messiah. One source offers some additional background commentary regarding this reference to “stripes”…

“The word ‘stripes’ in the Greek presents a picture of our Lord’s lacerated back after the scourging He endured at the hands of the Roman soldier. The Romans used a scourge of cords or thongs to which latter were attached pieces of lead or brass, or small, sharp-pointed bones. Criminals condemned to crucifixion were ordinarily scourged before being executed. The victim was stripped to the waist and bound in a stooping position, with the hands behind the back, to a post or pillar. The suffering under the lash was intense.” (1)

So this passage highlights Jesus’ substitutionary atonement, the act by which He removed our sins through His sacrificial death. That brings us to the factors related to the word “healing” in this passage…

“In the New Testament, there are several instances in which Scripture seems to promise healing. One verse often cited is 1 Peter 2:24: Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. With this verse many claim healing from God based upon the suffering of Christ on the cross. In context, however, this verse refers to healing from sin, not disease. It does not promise immediate healing from disease.” (2)

Therefore, we should exercise caution before we associate this passage with physical healing. While God will heal His people of their maladies, that healing will ultimately take place at our resurrection, if not before. As we are told in the New Testament epistle of 1 Corinthians…

“…our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'” (1 Corinthians 15:50-55 NLT).

(1) Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament [1 Peter 2:24] Copyright © 1942-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

(2) Don Stewart, What about Verses That Seem to Promise Healing? Retrieved 02 December 2023 from https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_467.cfm