What should I do when I’m a blood banker and a Christian?

Ok…I consider myself a faith-filled Christian. I believe Jesus is the son of God sent to save us and whole bit. I just finished my associcates degree in laboratory science, and the fact that I went to back to school is a miracle. I can testify on why I love Jesus and how he saved me from a life of…

I very much appreciate both your question and your desire to refrain from deliberate disobedience to God. Thank you.

The short answer to your question about blood is found at Acts 15:28-29. Here we are commanded to ‘abstain’ from – among other things – blood. The Greek word is usually rendered in translations as ‘abstain’. The command in verse 28 literally reads: ‘to be abstaining from’ – apekhesthai from the Greek apekhomai. It carries the thought of continuous action – not just a one-time deal. The meaning in the original Greek is the same as in our English: to keep oneself from, to withhold oneself from. Having said that . . .

If we profess to be Christians, followers of Christ, then we should be Bible students and, as such, it is our responsibility to make conscientious choices within the context of the Bible’s command. But our conscience must first be Bible-trained. First and foremost, then, we must have an accurate understanding of God’s view of blood. Jehovah God elaborates respecting his view at Leviticus 17:11-12 and 14. In verse 11 God says “the life of the creature is in the blood and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves . . . it is the blood that makes atonement . . . that is why I have said to the Israelites, you must not eat the blood of any creature.” [New International Version] Here he outlined the only acceptable use for blood: This of course was pointing to the greater atonement that the shed blood of Christ would make. God is the Giver of life, blood is the symbol of life. Both must be respected; any use must be within the Lifegiver’s framework. Where in His framework is the allowance for the introduction of blood onto or into the body to sustain or extend life? Where in this framework can we find an exception for transfusions? We find none.

We return to the command at Acts 15:28-29: “abstain from . . .blood . . . and from sexual immorality.” Notice we are also commanded to abstain from fornication. The scripture is not focusing on whatever form the fornication takes (and there are many), nor is it focusing on the effect of the fornication. To illustrate: since we are commanded to abstain from fornication, do we reason within ourselves that although we must abstain from sexual intercourse (without benefit of marriage), it is perfectly acceptable to engage in oral sex? Would that be refraining from fornication? Of course not. The scriptural command is to abstain from it. And so it is with blood. Some may see a marked difference between “eating” blood and taking a transfusion as perhaps some see a difference between sexual intercourse and oral sex. Without marriage, however, both are forms of fornication. In connection with blood, its form of delivery and its effect are not addressed by the scripture. If I refuse to eat blood through my mouth, yet I take it into my veins, can I truthfully say that I am abstaining from blood?

It cannot be denied that those, such as yourself, who want to help extend lives are exhibiting a loving attitude and such sincerity and concern is highly commendable. At John 10:34, Christ said that scripture cannot be nullified. This would include Acts 15:19, 20, 28, 29 and Acts 21:25 which clearly command Christians to “abstain,” to “keep abstaining” and to “keep themselves” from blood. How can we be left with any other conclusion but that there is no way to accept a blood transfusion and at the same time, abstain from blood?

I cannot tell you what to do – no one can. You must make a decision based on a careful consideration of God’s word. For instance, if you were required to take blood for blood tests, that would be perfectly acceptable: such would neither disrespect nor misuse blood. But what is involved in working at a blood bank? Is it not for the specific purpose of providing transfusions? This illustrates how important it is to have a working knowledge of God’s principles and the ability to apply them to everyday scenarios – training our conscience at the same time.

I will say this: if you sincerely try to follow God’s commands, do you really think he will not take care of you? Put another way, sometimes we believe that certain things are blessings from God. But sometimes, we are surprised to find out that they are not. Is it reasonable to believe that God would command us to ‘abstain’ from blood and then ‘bless’ us with a job that requires us to do the very opposite?

I sincerely hope this assists you in understanding the principles involved here. Anything that violate God’s express commands or His principles are to be steadfastly avoided. May the God of all comfort bless the heartfelt effort you show.

Hannah J Paul

I’m a faith-filled Christian myself, and believe in the authority of the Bible. I’m sure the only mentions of eating or consuming blood like that was in the Old Testament, and when you’re reading the OT there are some things you have to keep in mind. First, God’s laws were part of the OT covenant, between God and his people. Now that Christ has come we are under a new covenant. Many things still apply, but we have to figure out which things don’t. Second, a lot of the things from the OT law that no longer apply are things that were cultural/societal in nature or health related, not moral; growing out the sides of our hair, not eating pork, not getting tattoos or piercings, etc. I’m pretty sure God has nothing against eating rare steak. The Jews were living surrounded by other nations that had pagan practises, and as God wanted the Jews to be separate from them, a lot of the laws were related to things the pagans were doing at the time.

I honestly think the law about consuming blood would have been related to cultural practise or health, and I’m sure there are scholars who have researched it already so I’d encourage you to look it up. I’m pretty sure you can confidently continue your job while being an obedient Christian. But make sure you pray about it and find out, because it’s important that you don’t do anything you believe is wrong.

Hold the phone.

The closest thing to a Biblical declaration that blood transfusions may be a problem is Lev 17:10, which warns against eating blood.

Even *if* you could interpet “eating blood” to include giving or receiving blood intraveniously for medical purposes, Leviticus is a set of ancient Hebrew holiness laws which also include elaborate instructions for exiling skin disease patients, prohibitions on eating shellfish, and rules against shaving or cutting hair.

I received blood once; it saved me. You’re doing a good thing. Keep it up.

The Jws are the only ones I know of that abstain from blood transfusions.

You are a Christian and you have a job working with blood. What should you do? Answer : Nothing.

Your blood banking days are over. Find a new job. I recommend spaceship captain!

What? Please explain your problem in simple words.

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