Scripture – The Bible and Disabilities

Hand placed on open Bible
Photo by United Methodist Communications

The Bible refers to our wholeness and our humanness in Old and New Testament scripture. We are made in God’s image. Jesus includes all people in His stories and ministries, including those with disabilities. In Corinthians, Paul recognizes diversity and unity in the body of Christ (UM Discipleship Ministries).

When using these Bible verses during your disability awareness worship, church activities and study groups, the discussion might include references to the culture and language of the day compared to today. Consider how archaic language can be hurtful to people who have disabilities. Also, consider that miracles of healing don’t always mean “cure.” Unless noted, all are the New Revised Standard version of the Bible.

Bible Readings – God’s Image, Disabilites & Inclusion

Old Testament

  • Genesis 1: 26 – 27 Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath is the first Biblical reference of all humankind being created in God’s image.
    “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness,’ . . . “So God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them, male and female, he created them.”
  • Exodus 4: 10 -17 Moses’ Miraculous Power includes reference to Mose’ disability, his leadership and God’s response.
    “But Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past, nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ Then the Lord said to him….”
  • Leviticus 19:14 Ritual and Moral Holiness does not use people first language, but there is a clear message to not exclude people with disabilities.
    “You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”
  • 2 Samuel 9 David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth, a person with disabilities is referenced in this chapter.
    “David asked, ‘is there anyone still left in the house of Saul to whom I may show kindness?'”
  • Psalm 139:14  Thanksgiving and Praise, of David
    “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. wonderful are your works that I know very well.”

New Testament

  • Matthew 15: 29 – 31 Jesus Cures Many People when people bring others to Him for healing and they Praise God.
    “Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute [sic] and many others…”
  • Luke 5:18 and Mark 2: 1 – 12 Jesus Heals a Paralytic demonstrate the power of friends’ faith.
    “And look at this! Some people came in, carrying a paralyzed man in a chair. They wanted to bring him to Jesus, but they were not able to find a way in because of the crowd. So they went up onto the roof and let him and his chair down through it!”
  • Luke 14: 12 -24 Humility and Hospitality shows Jesus teachings on being inclusive of all guests.
    “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind [sic] and you will be blessed. . .”
  • John 9: 2 -5 A Man Born Blind Receives Sight includes Jesus’ response to sin and disabilities.
    “His disciples asked, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was made blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.'”
  • Romans 12: 1 – 8 The New Life in Christ is a transformational passage about everyone receiving God’s gifts.
    “. . .For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many are one body in Christ and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us; prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20 Glorify God in Body and Spirit reminds us to praise and honor God.
    “Or do you not know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you which you have from God and that you are not your own? For ou were bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body.”
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 14 – 27 One Body with Many Members is an allegory of all parts of the body of Christ are of one Spirit.
    “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. . .”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7b-9 Paul’s Visions and Revelations reports God’s response to Paul’s appeals to be rid of his disability.
    “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
  • James 1: 2 – 4 and 22-27 Faith and Wisdom and Hearing and Doing the Word are James instructions and blessings, which can be applied to people with and without disabiities.
    “…ask in faith . . . but those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty and persevere, being not bearers who forget but doers who act-they will be blessed in their doing . . .”