Bible Study Guides – What Is Health Reform?

September 2, 2012 – September 8, 2012

Key text

“Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!” Ecclesiastes 10:17.

Study Help: Medical Ministry, 259–284.


“Every law governing the human machinery is to be considered just as truly divine in origin, in character, and in importance as the word of God.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 17.


  • How far does our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being depend on our obedience to the principles of health reform? Deuteronomy 5:33; 6:5; 30:16, 19.

Note: “True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.

  • What is often associated with the removal of something bad (evil) in the system without proper replacement? II Peter 2:22. How is it possible to successfully separate from those things that are not good for us? Deuteronomy 11:22–28.

Note: “When flesh food is discarded, its place should be supplied with a variety of grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits that will be both nourishing and appetizing. This is especially necessary in the case of those who are weak or who are taxed with continuous labor. In some countries where poverty abounds, flesh is the cheapest food. Under these circumstances the change will be made with greater difficulty; but it can be effected. We should, however, consider the situation of the people and the power of lifelong habit, and should be careful not to urge even right ideas unduly. None should be urged to make the change abruptly. The place of meat should be supplied with wholesome foods that are inexpensive. In this matter very much depends on the cook.” The Ministry of Healing, 316, 317.


  • Where was our first parents’ home? Genesis 2:8.

Note: “The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That home, beautified by the hand of God Himself, was not a gorgeous palace. Men, in their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edifices and glory in the works of their own hands; but God placed Adam in a garden. This was his dwelling.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 49.

  • Why were Adam and Eve placed in such lovely, natural surroundings, and what were they to realize about it? Genesis 2:9; 1:29. What change took place after the Fall? Genesis 3:18, 19; Psalm 104:13–15.

Note: “Nature’s abundant supply of fruits, nuts, and grains is ample, and year by year the products of all lands are more generally distributed to all, by the increased facilities for transportation. As a result many articles of food which a few years ago were regarded as expensive luxuries are now within the reach of all as foods for everyday use. This is especially the case with dried and canned fruits.” The Ministry of Healing, 297.

“God is working in behalf of His people. He does not desire them to be without resources. He is bringing them back to the diet originally given to man. Their diet is to consist of the foods made from the materials He has provided.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 125.

“Spend less time over the cookstove, preparing food to tempt the appetite, and thus wearing out the strength given you of God to be used for a better purpose. A plain, nourishing diet will not require so great an amount of labor. We should devote more time to humble, earnest prayer to God for wisdom to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The health of the mind is dependent upon the health of the body. As Christian parents, we are bound to train our children in reference to the laws of life. We should instruct them, by precept and example, that we do not live to eat, but that we eat to live. We should encourage in our children a love for nobleness of mind and a pure, virtuous character. In order to strengthen in them the moral perceptions, the love of spiritual things, we must regulate the manner of our living, dispense with animal food, and use grains, vegetables, and fruits as articles of diet.” A Solemn Appeal, 66.


  • As sinful creatures, agaist what tendency do we have to be continually on guard? Deuteronomy 5:32; Proverbs 4:27. How is this same tendency seen in regard to principles of health reform?

Note: “Careful attention should be given to the proper use of nut foods. Some kinds of nuts are not so wholesome as others. Do not reduce the bill of fare to a few articles composed largely of nut foods. These foods should not be used too freely. If they were used more sparingly by some, the results would be more satisfactory. As combined in large proportions with other articles in some of the recipes given, they make the food so rich that the system cannot properly assimilate it.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 364.

“Let us make intelligent advancement in simplifying our diet. In the providence of God, every country produces articles of food containing the nourishment necessary for the upbuilding of the system. These may be made into healthful, appetizing dishes.” Ibid., 94.

“There are many now under the shadow of death who have prepared to do a work for the Master, but who have not felt that a sacred obligation rested upon them to observe the laws of health. The laws of the physical system are indeed the laws of God, but this fact seems to have been forgotten. Some have limited themselves to a diet that cannot sustain them in health. They have not provided nourishing food to take the place of injurious articles; and they have not considered that tact and ingenuity must be exercised in preparing food in the most healthful manner. The system must be properly nourished in order to perform its work. It is contrary to health reform, after cutting off the great variety of unwholesome dishes, to go to the opposite extreme, reducing the quantity and quality of the food to a low standard. Instead of health reform this is health deform.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 373, 374.

  • What problem do those who are living in the Laodicea period face? Revelation 3:14, 15. What should we do about this?

Note: “Let all examine their own practices to see if they are not indulging in that which is a positive injury to them. Let them dispense with every unhealthful gratification in eating and drinking.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 371.


  • What basic principle of the Christian life applies also in regard to changes in dietary habits? Matthew 7:13, 14; Luke 13:23, 24; Philippians 2:12.

Note: “Only when we are intelligent in regard to the principles of health reform, can we be fully aroused to see the evils resulting from an improper diet. Those who, after seeing their mistakes, have courage to change their habits will find that the reformatory process requires a struggle and much perseverance. But when correct tastes are formed, they will realize that the use of food which they have formerly regarded as harmless was slowly but surely laying the foundation for dyspepsia and other diseases.” Medical Ministry, 273.

  • At times, what is necessary in this struggle to overcome the appetite? Matthew 16:24; 17:21.

Note: “Persons who have indulged their appetite to eat freely of meat, highly seasoned gravies, and various kinds of rich cakes and preserves, cannot immediately relish a plain, wholesome, and nutritious diet. Their taste is so perverted they have no appetite for a wholesome diet of fruits, plain bread, and vegetables. They need not expect to relish at first food so different from that which they have been indulging themselves to eat. If they cannot at first enjoy plain food, they should fast until they can. That fast will prove to them of greater benefit than medicine, for the abused stomach will find that rest which it has long needed, and real hunger can be satisfied with a plain diet. It will take time for the taste to recover from the abuses which it has received, and to gain its natural tone. But perseverance in a self-denying course of eating and drinking will soon make plain, wholesome food palatable. …

“All who feel their need for His Spirit to educate and discipline self and to properly train their children, will deny self, and take up the cross and follow Jesus.

“For certain things fasting and prayer are recommended and appropriate. In the hand of God they are a means of cleansing the heart and promoting a receptive frame of mind. We obtain answers to our prayers because we humble our souls before God. If our appetites clamor for the flesh of dead animals, it is a necessity to fast and pray for the Lord to give His grace to deny fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” Medical Ministry, 282, 283.


  • When we consider the pitfalls and perseverance required in reforming our diet, how is it possible to achieve the right balance that leads to eternal life? Proverbs 2:6, 7; 4:7; James 1:5.

Note: “The Lord will teach many in all parts of the world to combine fruits, grains, and vegetables into foods that will sustain life and will not bring disease. Those who have never seen the recipes for making the health foods now on the market will work intelligently, experimenting with the food productions of the earth, and will be given light regarding the use of these productions. The Lord will show them what to do. He who gives skill and understanding to His people in one part of the world will give skill and understanding to His people in other parts of the world. It is His design that the food treasurers of each country shall be so prepared that they can be used in the countries for which they are suited. As God gave manna from heaven to sustain the children of Israel, so He will now give His people in different places skill and wisdom to use the productions of these countries in preparing foods to take the place of meat.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 124.

“The conscience must be aroused to the duty of practicing the principles of true reform. God requires that His people shall be temperate in all things. Unless they practice true temperance, they will not, they cannot, be susceptible to the sanctifying influence of the truth.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 451.

  • What kind of commitment is needed to maintain health? Philippians 4:13.

Note: “In our work more attention should be given to the temperance reform. Every duty that calls for reform involves repentance, faith, and obedience. It means the uplifting of the soul to a new and nobler life. Thus every true reform has its place in the work of the third angel’s message. Especially does the temperance reform demand our attention and support. At our camp meetings we should call attention to this work and make it a living issue. We should present to the people the principles of true temperance and call for signers to the temperance pledge. Careful attention should be given to those who are enslaved by evil habits. We must lead them to the cross of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 110.

  • What must we consider when struggling with lifestyle changes? Job 14:4; Romans 7:24, 25; I Corinthians 15:57.


1 How can we best describe the true principles of temperance?

2 What has God provided abundantly in nature to supply all our temporal needs?

3 Against what dangers do we need to be on guard, especially as we become zealous on the subject of health?

4 What are some steps we can successfully take in changing our diet and lifestyle in accordance with the plan God designed in the beginning?

5 What do we desperately need in order to fulfill God’s plan in diet as well as in other areas of our life?

Extra Reading

“The laws governing the physical nature are as truly divine in their origin and character as the law of the Ten Commandments. …

“A violation of these laws is a violation of the immutable law of God, and the penalty will surely follow.” Healthful Living, 21.

“To transgress His [God’s] law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one’s self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin.” Education, 100.

“There are many ways of practicing the healing art; but there is only one way that Heaven approves. God’s remedies are the simple agencies of nature, that will not tax or debilitate the system through their powerful properties. Pure air and water, cleanliness, a proper diet, purity of life, and a firm trust in God, are remedies for the want of which thousands are dying; yet these remedies are going out of date because their skillful use requires work that the people do not appreciate. Fresh air, exercise, pure water, and clean, sweet premises, are within the reach of all, with but little expense; but drugs are expensive, both in the outlay of means, and the effect produced upon the system.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 301.

“The Lord plainly told His people that every blessing would come to them if they would keep His commandments, and be a peculiar people. He warned them through Moses in the wilderness, specifying that health would be the reward of obedience.” Ibid., 375.

“The light that God has given and will continue to give on the food question is to be to His people today what the manna was to the children of Israel. The manna fell from heaven, and the people were told to gather it and prepare it to be eaten. So in the different countries of the world, light will be given to the Lord’s people, and health foods suited to these countries will be prepared.” Medical Ministry, 267.

© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.