You may be amazed to know that there is a firm biblical basis for the use of hypnosis.

It is described five times in the New Testament.




I. The hypnotic experience of Joseph:

The first of the synoptic gospels presents the classic description of an individual being hypnotized and while under hypnosis being given a post-hypnotic suggestion on which he immediately acts as soon as he awakens from his hypnotic trance. This account comes in the very first chapter of the first book of the New Testament. It is as if much of the New Testament is built upon this experience.

In the original Greek Bible, Matthew l:24, the Greek word, “hypnos” is used. It is interesting to note that in Greek there are three different words of which two are translated into English as “sleep”. They are “Katheudo” and “Koimaomai”. The other is either transliterated – the sound in Greek is “hypnos” – or is translated as “sleep.”

The account in Matthew reveals that a messenger from God went to visit Joseph after Joseph had discovered that Mary was to have a child. Joseph knew that he was not the father. The Greek word “aggelos” is either translated “angel” or “messenger”. It does not always convey the meaning of a heavenly, winged creature.

A messenger from God came to Joseph after Joseph had made it known that he would not follow through with his vow to marry Mary. The scripture indicates that all of this occurred in a dream. Joseph was told that it would be appropriate for him to follow through with his marriage plans because Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit.

In verse 24, The Greek text indicates that when Joseph came out of hypnosis, he acted on what had been suggested under hypnosis. He took Mary and they went home as husband and wife. He had received positive insight through a hypnotic experience upon which he immediately acted as soon as he regained full mental awareness. This is a classic example of post-hypnotic behavior which had been agreed upon under hypnosis.


II. The Mount of Transfiguration:

The experience of Jesus on the Mound of Transfiguration with Peter, James and John is recorded in all three of the synoptic gospels, but the one in Luke is most interesting – particularly since Luke is the only Gentile writer in the Bible and is also the only physician (Luke 9:28-33). There were no Jewish physicians. That function was fulfilled by the religious leaders or, in later years, gentile physicians were engaged. That is how Luke became involved in the Christian movement. He was enlisted by the Apostle Paul.

The biblical narrative in Matthew, Mark, and Luke is similar. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain or high hill. The three disciples became sleepy and then they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus and telling Him that he must go to Jerusalem and allow God’s will to prevail.

The significant difference in the three accounts is that Luke used the word “hypnosis” to describe the sleep of Peter, James, and John. Since Luke was a physician and hypnosis was a common experience of the first century it is logical to accept that a hypnotic induction occurred. Since there were only four people who went up on the mountain top and three of them underwent hypnosis, it is a logical conclusion to draw that Jesus was the hypnotist.

It was used as a positive force to enable the disciples to be able to accept that which would later develop in Jerusalem. It was the not only reinforced by the great teacher, Jesus, but by the most revered lawgiver and prophet, Moses and Elijah.


II: The Sleep of Lazarus:

The Gospel of John records the vivid account of the misunderstanding of the death of Lazarus (John ll: 1-44). Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was ill, yet Jesus did not immediately respond and Lazarus died. When Jesus was informed that Lazarus was dead, he declared that he would go and awaken him. The disciples misunderstood what Jesus was saying. They understood Jesus to say that he would awaken him from a hypnotic trance, but in reality Jesus had stated that he would bring him forth from the dead. The significant point to be made at this time is that hypnosis was understood and practiced during biblical times.


IV: Paul as a Hypnotist:

The author of Acts is the same as the writer of that gospel which bears his name: Luke. He was a great first-century writer who wrote from a physician’s point of view. There are more of his lines in the New Testament than anyone else other than from the Apostle Paul. In Acts 20:7-12, Luke Records an incident in the life of Paul, the evangelist.

In Troas, Paul has met with a number of believers who gathered for communion and worship. Paul is the preacher and he goes on and on. A young man sitting in an open window by the name of Eutychus finally drops off to sleep and falls out the window, to the street below. Luke describes this incident by saying that Paul hypnotized Eutychus and after a while Eutychus lost his balance and fell. Paul went down to see what had happened. Many thought Eutychus was dead, but Paul said, “No”. Paul awakened him out of hypnosis and together the group went back upstairs and spent the rest of the night enjoying food and conversation.

There is no question but that a dedicated mind is the greatest asset one can surrender to God, but what does the individual do that seems at a loss to explain an inability to follow through on personal choices and inner convictions? How can you help the individual who knows what to do and genuinely desires to follow through, but for some reason just does not?

Hypnosis can be a marvelous support. It is questionable if it is the ability to coerce or significantly override the moral character of another, but it can uniquely support with abundant encouragement that which one feels is proper and should be done.

I would never suggest that hypnosis be used for anything other than to enable an individual to become the good person one desires to be. Every post-hypnotic suggestion must be one of agreement with the individual and one with moral, healthy, and therapeutic values.

There are many ways in which hypnosis can have positive values. Three involve enhancement of the body in the areas of weight control, smoking, and drug abuse.

The Bible teaches that the body is the temple of God and should be respected as holy. Most people from a religious background will readily admit that they must assume full responsibility in providing the best of care for their bodies. It is interesting to note that the first recorded act of disobedience involved the breaking of a diet by Adam and Eve.