Pope Francis, in his recent interview, uses a very common metaphor for the church:

“I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds.... And you have to start from the ground up

I've heard this, and even preached this, but I'm realizing that I don't really know where its Biblical basis comes from. What is the biblical justification for understanding the church as a place where believers are supposed to be emotionally healed?

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    I'm glad people (or at least you) are asking questions about the Pope's new article, but I think Pope Francis using a simile to describe how he sees the Church today doesn't need a Biblical Justification. (i.e. you say in the question church is a hospital, but Pope Francis says, church as a hospital).
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 18:10

3 Answers 3


And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 2:16-17

Jesus' ministry was not limited to just the spiritual. He healed the sick, physical healing; he ministered to the brokenhearted, emotional healing; and he taught and preached, spiritual healing.

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Matthew 9:35

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.

Isaiah 61:1

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    I like where this is heading, but it seems to refer to the role an ministry of Jesus - not necessarily the function of his bride. (And again, not disputing that we should be - just looking for the basis) Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 14:43
  • Aren't there functions of the church were the people simply provide real estate for Christ himself to do something?
    – pterandon
    Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 15:53
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    1 John 2:6 - "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." We must follow in Jesus footsteps. He showed us how to complete the mission, and then gave us the mission to carry out. Matthew 28:19-20 tell us this mission, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." We must teach, preach, and heal as He did. Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 13:11

the church or a body of believers are saints who have been spiritually healed that gather together with the LORD in there midst to be built up and encouraged by the edification of Godly fellowship. so they with love can share this good news with sinners in hope that they too will stop rejecting the Lord Jesus and be healed.

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    – Steve
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 13:43
  • This doesn't really answer the question that was actually asked. It would be a good answer if the question were "what is the Church?", or "What is the Universal (as opposed to local) Church?", but those weren't the question. I agree with what you say here, but it's out of place on this question. When you get a chance, please do check out the links Steve suggested, which hopefully, clarify what I'm trying to say here. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:02

Despite the answers given by those above, there is no place in Scripture that references "THE CHURCH" like a hospital. However, I don't think that this discounts the metaphor of the Church being like a hospital. Ultimately, we are the place where the broken and sick gather, but it is still the Great Physician who does the healing, not the Church. The Groom is the Doctor, the Bride is to be the 'gurny' wheeling in the lost.

We see this idea taught throughout Christ's ministry and even among the apostles' teachings.

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    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 23:39

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