what does the bible say?

Will God protect us if we handle deadly snakes or drink poison?

Mark 16:18 states: “They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  This is a promise of protection to those God has called to preach the Gospel (verse 15).  

An example of this occurred when the Apostle Paul was bitten by a deadly poisonous snake while gathering firewood after being shipwrecked in the cold and rain (Acts 28:3-6).  Paul was unexpectedly bitten by accident and God miraculously protected him according to His promise.

On the other hand deliberately handling poisonous snakes or drinking deadly poisonous liquids expecting God’s protection is contrary to Christ’s teachings. We see this in principle in Matthew 4:5-7: “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.  For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”  Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”  In this example we see that Satan tried to persuade Jesus to throw Himself down from a pinnacle because He had a promise of protection.  However, Jesus Christ rebuked Satan because he had twisted and misapplied the Scripture.

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