Word Studies


pharmakeia <5331>
farmakeia, pharmakeia
Pronunciation: far-mak-i'-ah
Origin: from 5332
PrtSpch: n f
In Greek: farmakeia 1
Count: 3
Definition: 1) the use or the administering of drugs
2) poisoning
3) sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and
fostered by it
4) metaph. the deceptions and seductions of idolatry from 5332; medication ("pharmacy"), i.e. (by extension) magic
(literally or figuratively):-sorcery, witchcraft.
see GREEK for 5332

pharmakeus <5332>
farmakeuv pharmakeus
Pronunciation: far-mak-yoos'
Origin: from pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion)
PrtSpch: n m
Count: 1
Definition: 1) one who prepares or uses magical remedies
2) sorcerer from pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion); a druggist
("pharmacist") or poisoner, i.e. (by extension) a magician:-sorcerer.

POS: Noun
HYPHEN: sor=cer=y
COUNT: 5 in 4 verses (in OT : 4 in 3 verses) (in NT : 1 in 1 verses)

Noun sorcery has 1 sense
* sorcery(n = noun.cognition) black art, black magic, necromancy - the belief in magical spells that harness occult forces or evil spirits to produce unnatural effects in the world; is a kind of magic, thaumaturgy
has particulars: witchcraft, witchery, bewitchment, enchantment, demonism, diabolism, satanism, obiism
Derived forms verb sorcerise1, verb sorcerize1, adjective sorcerous1

Noun pharma has 1 sense
* pharma(n = noun.group) drug company, pharmaceutical company - a company that makes and sells pharmaceuticals; is a kind of company.

The Biblical usage of the word φαρμακεία in the New Testament MUST carry with it the appeal to false gods, which is why it is always translated as "sorcery", and not "medicine" or "drugs".
Paul's prohibiton of φαρμακεία as described in Galatians 5:20, in the description of the lusts of the flesh, is a clear charge against "sorcery"- resting his charge in the First Commandment- "you shall have no other god's before Me".
Often many modern Christian theologians presuppose drug law reform efforts- legal pot specifically, under the umbrella of "φαρμακεία". But the accusation does not carry with it the True meaning of φαρμακεία as the Apostle used it,nor can that application of φαρμακεία stand against the refutations of Gnostic heresies of the early Church.
Completing Vine's definition of pharmakeia: 'in "sorcery", the use of drugs, whether simple or potent, was generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers, with the provision of various charms, amulets, etc...'
Many "diviners" and "wise men" and "magi" used psychoactive substances to appeal to false gods, in an effort to invoke communication. This is what the Bible speaks against. Christians are the servants of the One True God. We are to have no other gods before Him. The Bible uses the word pharmakeia as "sorcery" or "witchcraft", "the fruit of the deceptions and seductions of idolatry."
Suggesting that consuming medicine is sorcery is irrational, and is contrary to the principles set forward in the Word of God. If the Bible meant that medicine is sorcery, no doctor would be able to prescribe medication without the Wrath of God coming upon him, pharmacists would be condemned as "sorcerers", and no Christian would be able to take medication without staining their new life in Christ.
Origen said it well, "no one would act rationally in avoiding medicine because of it's heresies". The Bible does not tell us to refuse medicine, it tells us to refuse sorcery. We are free to use medicines in the purposes that God designed them to be used, and are to acknowledge Him concerning them.


Heb: a missing; rebellion; transgression; perversion; evil in disposition; impiety
GK: missing the mark; transgression; unrighteousness; impiety; lawlessness; depravity; evil desire

Sin is to be defined primarily in relation to God. It is disobedience, unbelief, ignorance, the positive assertion of usurped autonomy, and the wicked deviation from, or violation of, God's Righteous Will and Law. The breach of a right relationship with God carries with it the disruption of a right relationship with others and the disintegration of the self. But this is derivative, for it is because of sin against God that there is sin against others and oneself (Ps. 51:4) [MT 6]

A feature of the Biblical definition is that sin is not just a lack, a failure, or a deficiency. The ignorance that is sin involves not only the lack of True knowledge but also the substitution of falsehood. Sin is commission as well as omission. Yet this must not be pressed too far. Sin has no place in the positive will of God, nor does God allow the existence of another reality alongside and equal to His own creation. In the last analysis sin only has a negative or parasitic reality. It's positive reality is paradoxical and secondary, as is clearly illustrated by the manner of it's entry into human life.


Inwardness of the Moral Law
The Biblical narratives, too, show us the passage over from sin conceived of as the violation of external commands to sin conceived of as an unwillingness to keep the commandments in the depths of the inner life. The course of Biblical history is one long protest against conceiving of sin in an external fashion.


The war on cannabis, like all sin, misses the mark. "Just say no" is not the command of God. The claimed benefits of "just say no" are secondary and paradoxical to reality. There is an image of saving lives, but in reality, asceticism pays no mind to the lives it destroys. Paul writes that, although "touch not, taste not, handle not" all have an appearance of wisdom, they in the end result in fleshly indulgence (Col 2). We can see this play out in the war on cannabis.