Comparing Tenet 20 of Watchtower to the Holy Bible…Are blood transfusions the same as eating flesh when it is alive or still has it’s blood?


Tenet 20 – Christians must neither give nor accept blood transfusions, even to save their lives or the lives of others. Jehovah’s Witnesses who violate this rule are subject to being disfellowshipped.

Watchtower holds this tenet because of the Old Testament verses:

But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Genesis 9:4

Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood. Leviticus 17:12

For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off. Leviticus 17:14

Two questions immediately come to mind. 1.) Is a blood transfusion the same as eating blood? and 2.) If it were deemed to be so, are we still bound by the Mosaic Law i.e., are we under the Old Covenant?


The New Testament doesn’t address Genesis 9:4 or Leviticus 17 :12-14 specifically, however, Jesus said:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

In  Galatians Paul addressed the keeping of the law:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NIV)

“You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” (Galatians 5:4, NIV)

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6, NIV)

See also, What Does the Bible Say About Eating and Drinking Blood?

Because blood transfusions were unheard of during Biblical days, the subject is not mentioned in the Bible. What is addressed, is love.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

Since the life is in the blood, the gift of blood for a transfusion becomes a very precious gift.


We are given freedom in Christ and are told to serve one another in love.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Galatians 5:13-14

Giving blood to someone who has lost blood is an act of love and since we are free, I see no reason that a person cannot give or receive blood by a transfusion.


About jlue

I am a grandmother of seven and I like to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family. I am not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country.
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