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Affliction vs infirmities

Submitted: 4/3/2005
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Question: What is the difference between afflictions and infirmities, and how does one tell them apart? Which catagory do health problems(failing health)come under?

Answer: Afflictions are any kind of stressful situations, especially when they are the result of living righteously. Infirmities are situations where a person does not have the power to change them. The word 'infirmity' simply means weakness or without power.

From a biblical standpoint, failing health is usually called sickness. For example, in James 5:13 the writer asks, 'Is anyone among you suffering (afflicted)? Let him pray.' When we are going through stressful situations that we cannot change by our own power, we ought to pray. But in James 5:14 he asks, 'Is anyone among you sick?' He then instructs those who are sick to call for the elders of the church and ask them to pray. Clearly James saw a difference between sickness and affliction. Both could be called infirmities since they both involve human weakness and the loss of strength.

Please see our booklet called 'Healing Hands' in the Apostolic Free Library.