Blood Transfusions

Should blood be transferred from one person to another for medical treatment or life-saving purposes?

Let’s take a quick look at what the Bible says about blood. Post-Flood, God permitted people to eat meat, but forbade them from eating meat that still contained blood (Gen. 9:4). The blood was to be drained from the meat before consumption, because it contained the “life” of the animal, signifying respect for life in general as a gift of God.

This prohibition related specifically to drinking blood or consuming blood in a non-liquid, and not to injecting it into veins. There was no such thing as blood transfusion in biblical times, so the Bible does not directly speak to the issue. However, a re-working of the question could provide the foundation for an answer.

Because the Bible does not explicitly prohibit blood transfusions, could it mean that Christians should consider transfusions for prolonging life?

In its simplest sense, the Gospel can be summarized in three statements:

  1. Jesus died for our sins (John 3:16)
  2. Love God with all your heart (Matt. 22:37)
  3. Love your neighbor (Matt. 22:39)

A focus on the third statement could lead us to the answer.

There are many ways to demonstrate love, and one of them is to meet needs. The Bible says that if we recognize that someone has a need and we don’t help to fulfill it, then our faith is dead (James 2:26). This isn’t the only mandate. When Jesus sent His disciples out to minister to the community, He charged them to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8). While God still performs miracles, He has also given us knowledge and wisdom to use medical science to enhance and sustain life. Receiving blood is not prohibited, and considering our mandate to help others, giving blood can be a part of Christian responsibility.