The Bible doesn’t talk about THAT, does it?

Quick post here.  I got a message from a friend who had a question about something that the bible CLEARLY doesn’t talk about: whether or not Christians can use anabolic steroids.  Obviously, steroids weren’t around in the 1st century and Jesus never addressed the topic directly in the scriptures (much like he didn’t directly address time travel, or playing violent video games, or how much time someone spends on Facebook, etc.).  My friend messaged several people, and the general consensus was that the Bible doesn’t address the issue (directly) so all a person has left is opinions on the matter.

I’ve gotta admit, that whole line of reasoning makes me curious as to whether or not people have really thought about it much, if at all.  If the Bible doesn’t address the problems of life and God has left us at the mercy of public opinion, what good is he?  Why worship a God who is silent about all the stuff that faces me in my life?  What a useless God!

Okay.  Back on topic.  The Bible doesn’t directly address a lot of things, but God hasn’t left us grasping at straws with all the issues of life.  Can a Christian take anabolic steroids?

What would your answer be?

Here’s mine (tossed out off the top of my head, mind you):

I’d say that the Bible definitely talks about anabolic steroid use, but not directly since steroids didn’t exist back then. Still, the Bible indirectly talks about steroids in that it gives several general principles that would apply to the question of steroid use:

***General Principle #1 = Christians should obey they law***

If steroids are illegal to possess or use, then the case is basically closed. Romans 13:1-7 talks about the duty of the Christian to follow the law of the land (in as much as the law of the land doesn’t command a Christian to sin), and if Canada says that steroid usage is illegal, then there’s not much debate there. If steroid USE is not illegal but purchasing/trafficking them is, then there’s still not much debate as it is illegal to produce the steroids that it’s legal to posses (if you follow?). Either way, if steroids production, purchase or possession is against the law, it’s something that the Christian needs to steer clear of.

***General Principle #2 = Christians should be controlled by the spirit***

The Bible talks in Ephesians 5:15-21 talks about how the normative pattern for the life of a believer should be one of living a life controlled by the spirit, not controlled by alcohol (or other substances that alter the mind). Many people make the objection that ALL substances alter the mind so “if you’re consistent, you shouldn’t drink coke or coffee”, but the mind-altering part isn’t the problem. The problem is sin, and when someone uses a mind altering substance to commit sin (or even if sin is a predictable side effect), that substance becomes something that they should stay away from.

***General Principle #3 = Christians should flee sin in thought and action***

Jumping off the last point, if someone uses heroine or cocaine in order to bludgeon their conscience and commit sexual immorality, the usage of the heroine/cocaine isn’t NECESSARILY sinful (and principle #2 still applies), but the sexual immorality most certainly is…and the stealing stuff to get the money for the cocaine…and the lying to family to cover up the cocaine habit…etc.

Not only that, but the willful entertaining of sinful desires is equally sinful to the acting out of those sinful desires…it’s just that the fantasizing about sin and the committing of sin are 2 separate sins (Matt. 5:27-28 talk about the fantasizing of sin as being a sin in and of itself). All that being said, by the time someone ends up having sex while laced on cocaine, there’s probably a whole yellow-brick road of sin leading up to that point.

Things get tricky from here on out, but mature believers need to understand mature issues in a mature way.

If a guy uses steroids WITHOUT fantasizing about sin, pursuing sin, or actually committing sin, then he can use steroids (if they’re not illegal – see point 1).

If a person can take steroids without a sinful motivation working towards a sinful outcome, then taking steroids then boils down to a matter of conscience…

…but I’d suggest that the ENTIRE body building culture is built upon the pursuit of sexual sin.

I know LOTS of guys who take steroids because they want girls to notice and then sleep with them (sinful motivation towards a sinful outcome).

I know LOTS of guys who take steroids because they want girls to lust after them (sinful motivation towards a sinful outcome).

I know LOTS of guys who take steroids because they want to win a bodybuilding contest…and in the process hope to have one of the previous 2 points occur (sinful motivation towards a sinful outcome).

I know SEVERAL guys who take steroids because it makes them feel unstoppable and they tend to be more confident in fist fights (again, sinful motivation towards a sinful outcome)

None of those reasons should ever be part of the thinking of a believer, and I’d suggest that basically sums up all the motivations that people I know have ever had for taking steroids (assuming of course that they claim something else and they’re simply lying to themselves).

I’ve NEVER, EVER met a guy/girl who takes steroids because they searched the scriptures, prayed, and came to the conclusion that taking anabolic steroids would, in any way, help them bring glory to God or fulfill the great commission.

There are actually a few other principles that I could think of that would also apply to steroid usage, but those 3 should be enough to give you some biblical parameters to think about steroid usage.

And there you have it.

That’s my “off the cuff” take on the subject.  Now you can all point out where I was stretching or wrong and how I could have answered better!

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “The Armchair Roid Rager” Unger


10 thoughts on “The Bible doesn’t talk about THAT, does it?

  1. I know someone who in their youth was encouraged to take steriods for bodybuilding…by their coach, in high school. He finally became redeemed. In between, his build happened to lead to offers of working for a crime organization most of us have heard of…and the worst things that entails. Plus the girls. Did i mention the drugs? Years later, his bones began crumbling and disintegrating. Interestingly, he has the character attributes of a fine person and probably always did, they were just used in a different context earlier in his life. He did become a Believer. He refuses to stop working. Has a form of cancer where by all odds he should not still be here but he is and is still strong. When they were told to take steroids they didn’t know any thing yet about the effects. No, that’s not an excuse but it is amazing it was a school coach doling it out and recommending it. +++

  2. There is a medical use for steroids to reduce inlammation & pain. (non-anabolic variety. Scripture tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit so we should be careful about what goes into us! COLD IN saskatoon! Gerry Klassen PS Greg says ‘Hello’
    Always enjoy your writings! Keep up thr good work for our Lord Jesus Christ.
    What comments do you have about the History Channel’s miniseries on THE BIBLE?

    • Yeah Gerry, I would definitely agree that the medical usage of steroids is fully acceptable. That would be a God-glorifying usage of steroids, most definitely.

      As for THE BIBLE, all I can say is “uh, YIKES!?”

      Look who the advisers were on the project, and also who endorses it here –

      There’s not ONE person on either list that I would consider to be a credible evangelical voice. I mean, when your theological/biblical council of advisers includes people like Bobby Gruenewald (the guy who is behind the YouVersion smartphone app) or Tom Peterson (from Catholics Come Home), and when you’re getting endorsements from people like Tony Robbins (the kooky motivational speaker from the 90’s) or Joel Osteen (uh, not much else you can do to describe Joel Osteen but simply repeat “Joel Osteen”), you’re making a series for people who get their theology from Oprah and the National Inquirer.

      I’m sure it’s well filmed and is visually stunning, but the people I know who saw it simply got angry.

      That means “stay away” for me. I get honking mad listening to Kimberly Walker-Smith from Jesus Culture.

      • I wrote about the friend who in his youth his team was given steroids. I forgot to mention this led not only to involvement in a crime network yet also to severe drug addictions. He ended up at a Salvation Army and became a very changed person. He came back to God. Still, he isn’t well-founded on a lot of Scripture and I already mentioned the results of the steroids. He’s getting older now. His own doctor is amazed he refuses to stop heavy work a few days a week and is still alive because he has cancer and is bypassing all terms of time he had been ”given” by the doctors.

        This SAME person found out I was getting cortisone shots to the knees. He was almost weeping, crying ”don’t do it any longer” he said patients are not informed consistent use of cortisone stops the human body from making it’s very own supply. I said ”they told me every three months is safe” he said NO it’s NOT and to listen to someone who has been through it. He was begging me to commit to no more cortisone shots.

        I have to be honest here or what’s the point? Although my legs are damaged, I didn’t suffer the pain the doctors evidently ”saw” in the x-rays. I do have to use a wheelchair and walker due to weakness. Yet, each time I was told I ”needed a shot” I was a little bit…questioning.

        Then, I went to someone who specializes in my illnesses. He started poking me all over (this is a good way to weed out ”pretenders” of the illness) and I was making all sorts of sounds of pain. Especially at the hip area. He said I needed a steroid shot in each hip. I said why? He poked me again and again I yelped. He said ”you’re in so much pain, so many patients are like you, unaware of their true pain levels, you just get used to it except when other areas are hurting far more”.

        Now, that statement is true. The fact remains whatever pain I had in my hips wasn’t significant enough to me, though. He never asked for permission just left the room came back and jabbed each hip. On the left hip I had a large dark bruise/lump for a very long time.

        I found no difference in my hip areas. We have to be very careful when it comes to doctors and I doubt I’ll be going back, despite he is considered ”one of the best in his field” — even the two meds he prescribed the pharmacist did not want me to take.

        The pharmacist has known me much longer than the stated doctor, so I said no and told the doctors office no and why. It’s important to speak out in a right way in my opinion. Thanks for a good topic.

        No, I’m not having any more cortisone shots (I didn’t even realize they were steroid shots) and no more ”steroid shots”. I’ll learn from someone elses’ pain and refrain and rely on Him.

      • Oh, regarding The History Channel production of “The Bible”…I agree with Mennoknight. I wish and pray Mennoknight could and would do at least verbal Sermons. I would like it a lot. I used to watch (seriously) the History Channel’s version of the Bible until I finally actually seriously studied the Bible with a reliable teacher. After that, my face probably turned white and I would even go into fits of anger at the deception in my opinion this channel continues to reflect in and about Christianity.

        It’s a real problem for me with the friend I mentioned. Technically he has reached the point of Salvation because he does truly believe Jesus The Christ is The Son of God. Yet, he kept coming up with debates derived from…you guessed it: shows from this certain channel. sigh…

        Great column always makes me think and feel. Thanks again, Mennoknight.

  3. Controlled Substance Laws In Canada:

    Schedule IV which pertains to Anabolic Steroids:

    Ya, I watched 5 minutes of THE BIBLE (probably written by Father Dougal) on history channel right up until the point where Jesus prays Luke 22:42 “Father take this cup from me, etc” and then goes back to I guess His “other” disciples who apparently DID NOT fall asleep? Gong! That’s right, they were all awake and ready to go. Must they all look like hippies? Why is Peter so petite, well dressed, and well spoken, I always took him as a big unkempt and direct fisherman? In sum, they should actually READ the Bible BEFORE they turn it into a TV series.

    • Hey Cam,

      Thanks for the linkage on the criminal code.

      I’d recommend looking up the multi-episode review of “The Bible” done on the “Fighting for the Faith” podcast. Chris Rosborough dismantles it quite effectively.

  4. Very appreciated points of vie on the main article, but I would had expected bible quotes backing up each of the mentioned principles. I think steroids fail on the “law obedience” point, strangely on my country it’s not allowed on written laws, but on a practical point of view there’s not much knowledge of so and neither law enforcment or authorities care much about it.

    Besides that, I think it’s always the same on steroid usage: knowledge, respect, discipline and professional guidance. All the problems on steroids come from abuse and misuse or wrong use. Also people mention vanity, it depends on the person an his or her purpose, just God knows our hearth and motivations. About taking care of the temple of the spirit I have to mention that steroids put some ammount of stress on the body but if you have propper knowledge or guidance you don’t really really harm it and needless to say, the stress human body suffers is lower than other human activities, choices and life styles do.

    At the end of the day, it’s just a matter of law obedience, and it was forbidden by law because of the health risks of people misusing and abusing, typical of our human nature of course. Me as a christian bodybuilding enthusiast it’s obvious to understand that sin is sin, disobedience is disobedience, but sometimes it’s difficult to choose from what God knows and we sometime feel or would like to do. I guess we all are sinners in need of God.

    Best whishes!

  5. I dont believe is a sin. It cant be. Obey the law? Do we really have to obey the law if we live in faith with Jesus. Some laws say a pastor has to mary a gay couple and can not discriminate. Is the pastor supposed to mary them because the law says so? Or are you a hipocrite to pick and choose which laws we fallow? Steroids as illegal in the US, but not everywhere. They are legal in DR and they dont even require priscription. Is a sin if I use it in DR? We cause more harm eating nasty junk food and fried food then we would on steroids. Just sayin… I workout, I eat organic and I thank God for.

    • Points 2 and 3 address exactly what you’re talking about.

      It looks like you commented after reading point 1.

      Also, you didn’t finish your sentence. What do you thank God for?

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