A healing scripture is a short passage from the Bible that is used as a focus for devotion when praying for healing. The use of healing scriptures varies from person to person and from ministry to ministry. Some people treat the reading of healing scriptures as a request for spiritual healing, while others believe reciting these Bible verses or using them during prayer will lead to miraculous physical healing. Healing scriptures are normally meant to be read out loud or recited during prayer.
There is no single source for determining what is and what is not a healing scripture. A number of Christian prayer books suggest verses that can be used when a person prays for healing. While the books have some verses in common, they also all have some differences. Some suggested verses are simple affirmations of God's power, while others contain specific references to health.
Belief in healing scripture goes back to early Christianity. In the Middle Ages, verses from the Bible and prayers would be used along with herbal remedies and other treatments in an attempt to heal the injured or cure the sick. The Bible contains numerous examples of Jesus miraculously healing the sick, or of God removing illnesses from the afflicted, and people believed this power could be accessed through prayer. Even physicians of the day did not separate the power of prayer and the power of medicine.
Modern medicine has spawned debate about claims of healing through the power of scripture and prayer. The American Cancer Society has rejected claims that prayer can heal cancer or other diseases, and the American Medical Association does not consider prayer to be a form of medical treatment. There is, however, some evidence to suggest that people who pray recover more quickly from illnesses, possibly as a result of improvements in their state of mind. Despite claims that using healing scriptures has lead to miraculous cures for a range of diseases, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that healing scriptures have any measurable effect on health.
Not all people who use a healing scripture to pray for health believe it will bring about a miraculous physical cure. Many users of healing scripture regard them as useful in promoting spiritual or psychological healing, helping to deal with stress, worry and other issues. In this case, the healing scripture is perceived as metaphorically "healing" the person's life or soul.