• Virginia Brown

The Bible Is Pro-Life

If abortion is a sin, where in the Bible does it say so? An interesting text for this question is Gal 5:19–21. Paul writes, “[Now the works of the flesh are evident]: idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions. Let’s double click on “sorcery.” The Greek word here is φαρμακεία. This is a word from which our word “pharmacy” derives, and pharmacies are important because they distribute drugs. Remember that. Elsewhere in the NT (e.g., Rev 9:21; 18:23), φαρμακεία refers to practices of the occult like magic potions.

How, then, should we understand “sorcery” in Gal 5:20? One scholar explains that translating this word as “sorcery” accurately communicates its occult connotation, but “sorcery” misses the connotation of drug use [think: “pharmacy”]. A better understanding of the word emphasizes both connotations. As it turns out, in the ancient Greco-Roman world, women would poison themselves with black magic to induce abortion. “Sorcery,” then, references these occult drugs women used for abortion.

Further evidence of this idea comes from the Didache, the oldest Christian document we have outside of the NT. Didache 2:2, reads, “You shall not engage in sorcery [φαρμακεύω]; you shall not abort a child or commit infanticide.” Notice how the author connects “sorcery” with abortion. In other words, the Didache says to women: Don’t drink black magic drugs that lead to abortion.

God loves the unborn and hates abortion. Paul teaches that in Gal 5:20.

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