Is it acceptable to receive blood transfusions?

Questions & Answers December 23, 2016

Q: The Scripture prohibits the people of God from eating blood. Is blood transfusion the same as eating of blood? — Samuel, from Ghana

A: No, they are not the same. The Bible forbids eating blood, but not transfusion of blood (see Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 3:17, Leviticus 17:14, Deuteronomy 12:23, and Acts 15:29).

Dr. Elias Brasil de Souza, director of the Biblical Research Institute, explains it this way:

“When blood is consumed as food, it is taken into the stomach where it is digested and then is passed through the intestines into the blood vessels where the blood then carries it to the body for nourishment. This use of blood as food is clearly forbidden in the Scriptures. …

“Blood transfusion is a different matter because the blood goes into one’s circulation intravenously. Transfusions are used for various medical conditions to replace lost components of the blood. Early transfusions used whole blood, but modern medical practice commonly uses only components of the blood, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, clotting factors, and platelets. There is nothing in the Bible against this use of the blood.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates hundreds of hospitals and medical clinics around the world, and provides blood transfusions to patients when needed. Thousands of Adventists are regular blood donors, giving a pint of their own blood to save someone else in need. In addition, Seventh-day Adventists are encouraged to utilize the best medical care available to them, including accepting blood transfusions when recommended by their health care provider.