When we use the word “health” in the English language today, we think primarily of physical health, and how our body is functioning. If we want to communicate something besides physical health, we generally add another word as an adjective, such as “mental health” or “emotional health.” But the word “health” itself is mainly used in terms of physical health, and the domain of “health” in western culture today is the domain of a large medical system which is called “healthcare.” It is an extremely influential and powerful system in most countries, controlled by pharmaceutical companies and licensed physicians, and regulated by the government. Such a concept of “health” however, is a recent development in human history. So when we read ancient texts such as the Bible, and read the English word “health” which is used to translate words from the original languages of ancient cultures, it is very helpful to study how these words were understood in those languages and cultures. Otherwise we read our own cultural understanding of English words into ancient texts, and that can result in an inaccurate or incomplete understanding of the meaning of these texts.

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