Does the Bible forbid blood transfusions?


I saw that you addressed the subject of blood and therefore I want to ask about blood transfusion. Is it permitted by the Bible or should we refuse it? Thank you.

The Bible does not tell us directly about blood transfusion practice because it is a very young one. Attempts have been made ​​since the seventeenth century, but the first successful blood transfusion was performed in 1818 by physician James Blundell.

I assume that you asked this question because there is a heresy of Jehovah’s Witnesses, that prohibit their community members to receive blood transfusion saying that it is forbidden by God in the Bible. It is not true. This is not written in the Bible. Here’s what the Bible says.

God forbade to eat blood

In the book of Genesis, after Noah, his sons and their wives descended from the Mount Ararat, after the flood, God said to them:

“Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from everyman,from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, forin the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:3-6)(NASB)

Then God said the same thing in the book of Leviticus:

It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood. (Leviticus 3:17)(NASB)

Then again, the book of Leviticus says:

You are not to eat any blood, either of bird or animal, in any of your dwellings. (Leviticus 7:26)(NASB)

Following the book of Leviticus, God explains why He put the ban on the use of blood, namely, because blood must make atonement for their souls, for it is blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.

‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’ So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with itslife. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for thelife of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.’ (Leviticus 17:10-14)(NASB)

That law had to always remember people of Israel about the value of blood which is life and so to make them appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which was made by His blood shed on the cross at Calvary, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life, true life.

Apostles prohibited eating blood, but not blood transfusion

The book of Acts tells us the following about the first apostolic council in Jerusalem:

After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘AFTER THESE THINGS I will return, AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN, AND I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL RESTORE IT, SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,’ SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO. Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. (Acts 15:13-20)(NASB)

Blood transfusion is different from eating blood

In all the texts mentioned in the Scriptures animal blood is prohibited to be eaten. Blood transfusion is totally different and it is performed to save lives of the loved people. We have no biblical reason to stop someone from giving or receiving blood transfusion. On the contrary, when we know that one’s life is in danger, we shall rush to give blood if we can and save lives. So help us God.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru