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Side-by-Side: Healer’s Path vs. Hippocratic Oath

Our Healer’s Path Oath is based on a physician’s oath by Hippocrates, The Hippocratic Oath, as modified for a ministry setting.  In developing our Oath, we looked closely at every section of the original Oath.  Since this Oath was originally in Greek, we also took a look back at the Greek.  The analysis below shows the similarities and differences, as well as the reasoning for changes, where made:

I swear, with Jesus the Great Physician as my witness, to use my power and judgment to bring the following oath and written covenant to fulfillment: I swear by   the god Apollo the Physician and by Asclepius and by Health (Hygieia) and   Panacea, and witnessed by all the gods and goddesses, to use my power and judgment to bring the following oath and written covenant to fulfillment: Ancient: Όμνυμι Απόλλωνα ιητρόν καί Ασκληπιόν και Υγείαν και Πανάκειαν   και θεούς πάντας τε και πάσας, ίστορας ποιεύμενος, επιτελέα ποιήσειν κατά   δύναμιν και κρίσιν εμήν όρκον τόνδε και ξυγγραφήν τήνδε.Modern: Ορκίζομαι στο θεό Απόλλωνα τον   ιατρό και στο θεό Ασκληπιό και στην Υγεία και στην Πανάκεια και επικαλούμενος   τη μαρτυρία όλων των θεών ότι θα εκτελέσω κατά τη δύναμη και την κρίση μου   τον όρκο αυτόν και τη συμφωνία αυτή. Jesus   states, “for, where   two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of.” (Matthew   18:20)  The witness is Jesus the Great   Physician, rather than the gods and goddesses of the pantheon.  Following James 5:12, we do not swear “by   heaven or by earth or by anything else.”
To consider dear to me, as parents, those who have mentored me in my journey, and to hold all humanity in kinship, as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, daughters and sons. To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him  [alt: and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine]; Ancient:   Ηγήσεσθαι μέν τον διδάξαντά με την τέχνην ταύτην ίσα γενέτησιν εμοίσι, και   βίου κοινώνεσθαι, και χρεών χρηϊζοντι μετάδοσιν ποιήσεσθαι , και γένος το εξ   ωυτέου αδελφοίς ίσον επικρινέειν άρρεσι, και διδάξειν την τέχνην ταύτην , ήν   χρηϊζωσι μανθάνειν, άνευ μισθού και ξυγγραφής, παραγγελίης τε και ακροήσιος   και της λοιπής απάσης μαθήσιος μετάδοσιν ποιήσεσθαι υιοίσι τε εμοίσι, και   τοίσι του εμέ διδάξαντος, και μαθηταίσι συγγεγραμμένοισι τε και   ωρκισμένοιςνόμω ιητρικώ, άλλω δε ουδενί.Modern: Να   θεωρώ τον διδάσκαλό μου της ιατρικής τέχνης ίσο με τους γονείς μου και την   κοινωνό του βίου μου. Και όταν χρειάζεται χρήματα να μοιράζομαι μαζί του τα   δικά μου. Να θεωρώ την οικογένειά του αδέλφια μου και να τους διδάσκω αυτήν   την τέχνη αν θέλουν να την μάθουν χωρίς δίδακτρα ή άλλη συμφωνία. Να μεταδίδω   τους κανόνες ηθικής, την προφορική διδασκαλία και όλες τις άλλες ιατρικές   γνώσεις στους γιους μου, στους γιους του δασκάλου μου και στους   εγγεγραμμένους μαθητές που πήραν τον ιατρικό όρκο, αλλά σε κανέναν άλλο. Not   male-centricOmitted   sharing money with teachersAdded   regard for humanity
I will impart a knowledge of this art to such students as desire to follow this path. To look   upon his children as my own brothers in male lineage, to teach them this art   – if they desire to learn it, without fee and covenant; and that by my   teaching, I will impart a knowledge of this art to my own sons, and to my   teacher’s sons, and to disciples bound by an indenture and oath according to   the medical laws, and no others. Not   male-centric. Not just   children of one’s teachers. Similar restriction   of teaching to one’s students; those who live by the oath (the point is to be nonharming – not teaching those who might   misuse the art).
And I will use my art to the benefit of all creation[1]the forgotten[2] and the forgetful[3], the sick[4] and the strong[5],   the fettered[6] and the free[7]–in accordance with my ability and my judgment, and keep from them what is to their harm or injustice. And I will use [alt: prescribe] regimens for the benefit of the ill [alt: my patients] in accordance with my ability and my judgment, and never do harm //   keep from harm. [alt: never do harm to anyone] Ancient: Διαιτήμασι τε χρήσομαι επ’ ωφελείη καμνόντων κατά δύναμιν και κρίσην εμήν, επί δηλήσει δε και αδικίη είρξειν.Modern: Θα   χρησιμοποιώ τη θεραπεία για να βοηθήσω τους ασθενείς κατά τη δύναμη και την κρίση μου, αλλά ποτέ για να βλάψω ή να αδικήσω. The crux of the Oath
 n/a And I will not give a drug that is deadly to anyone if asked [for it], nor will I make   such a suggestion. And likewise, I will not give a woman a destructive   pessary. Ancient: Ου δώσω δε ουδέ φάρμακον ουδενί αιτηθείς θανάσιμον, ουδέ υφηγήσομαι ξυμβουλίην τοιήνδε’ ομοίως δε ουδέ γυναικί πεσσόν φθόριον δώσω.Modern:   Ούτε θα δίνω θανατηφόρο φάρμακο σε κάποιον που θα μου το ζητήσει, ούτε θα του κάνω μια τέτοια υπόδειξη. Deleted a reference that applies to medical doctors.
And in a pure and holy way I will guard my life and art. And in a pure and holy way I will guard my life and art. Literally, “I will keep pure and immaculate my life and my art.” Ancient: Αγνώς δε και οσίως διατηρήσω βίον τον εμόν και τέχνην την εμήν.Modern: Θα   διατηρώ αγνή και άσπιλη και τη ζωή και την τέχνη μου. Same
n/a I will not cut (perform surgery) even for those suffering from ‘stones’ but will leave this to practitioners, specialists in this art. Ancient: Ου τεμέω δε ουδέ μην λιθιώντας, εκχωρήσω δε εργάτησιν ανδράσι πρήξιος τήσδε. Modern: Δεν θα χρησιμοποιώ νυστέρι ούτε σε αυτούς που πάσχουν από λιθίαση, αλλά θα   παραχωρώ την εργασία αυτή στους ειδικούς της τέχνης. Deleted a reference to medical doctors not performing surgery. However, ministers should refer to–or work with–others when outside their realm of expertise.
Into as many houses as I may enter, I will go for the benefit of those within, staying far from all harmful activity, whether through my sexual or social conduct, my speech, work, action or inaction. Into those homes I go (alt: as many houses as I enter) I will go to help the sick (or, “for the benefit of the ill”) and will stay far from any willfully harmful   activity (alt: intentional injustice, mischief), especially from seduction   (alt: sex) with men and women, free and slave. Ancient: εών πάσης αδικίης εκουσίης και φθορίης τής τε άλλης και αφροδισίων έργων επί τε γυναικείων σωμάτων και ανδρώων , ελευθέρων τε και δούλων.Modern: Σε   όσα σπίτια πηγαίνω, θα μπαίνω για να βοηθήσω τους ασθενείς και θα απέχω από οποιαδήποτε εσκεμμένη βλάβη και φθορά, και ιδίως από γενετήσιες πράξεις με   άνδρες και γυναίκες, ελεύθερους ή και δούλους. Same idea
I will stand as a Holy Witness to those I meet and those to whom I minister, and as such will hold in sacred confidence all that I come to know, in my work and in my daily life, as far as the law of   justice permits, as written by God and man. I shall remain silent about whatever I may see or hear in my work, or even outside the bounds of my work in the life around me—the things that should not ever be repeated aloud—holding such things to be sacred  and not to be divulged. [8] Ancient:¨Α   δ’ άν έν θεραπείη ή ίδω ή ακούσω, ή και άνευ θεραπείης κατά βίον ανθρώπων, ά μή χρή ποτέ εκλαλέεσθαι έξω, σιγήσομαι, άρρητα ηγεύμενος είναι τα τοιαύτα.Modern:   Και όσα τυχόν βλέπω ή ακούω κατά τη διάρκεια της θεραπείας ή και πέρα από τις επαγγελματικές μου ασχολίες στην καθημερινή μου ζωή, αυτά που δεν πρέπει να   μαθευτούν παραέξω δεν θα τα κοινοποιώ, θεωρώντας τα θέματα αυτά μυστικά. Same   language
With God as my helper, may I be ever uplifted and upheld in rendering this oath fulfilled, preserving the finest traditions of my calling. Keeping this oath faithfully, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; Ancient: ¨Ορκον μεν ούν μοι τόνδε επιτελέα ποιέοντι, και μη ξυγχέοντι, είη επαύρασθαι και βίου και τέχνης δοξαζομένω παρά πάσιν ανθρώποις ες τον αεί χρόνον’ παραβαίνοντι δε και επιορκέοντι, τ’αναντία τουτέων.Modern: Αν τηρώ τον όρκο αυτό και δεν τον παραβώ, ας χαίρω πάντοτε υπολήψεως ανάμεσα στους ανθρώπους για τη ζωή και για την τέχνη μου. Αν όμως τον παραβώ και επιορκήσω, ας πάθω τα αντίθετα.  
  but if I deviate from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot. Eliminated self cursing.
May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling, and may I long experience the joy of a life spent using my gifts to heal and to uplift. Not in the original oath, however the following is found in a 1964 version of the oath: May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help. -n/a- Ministers’ Oath includes a modified ending based on the 1964 Hippocratic Oath.



[1] There are many dimensions to dis-ease, including psychosocial, physical, mental, environmental, and spiritual. There are many dimensions to well-being, evidenced in humankind by these fruits: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), as well as a sense of interconnection, resiliency and hope. The “sick” can also refer to a sick planet, as well as fallen powers and principalities.
[2] The forgotten (by mankind, never by God):  the abandoned, hungry, naked, thirsty, harborless / homeless, those in need, the poor, the captive, those unable to find work, those whose pain isn’t shown or recognized, the stranger. Ref: Psalm 27:10; Isaiah 49:15; Deut. 31:8; Matt. 25:36; Eph. 5:1-33.
[3] The forgetful: those in bounty and blessing but who don’t help, those whose hearts are cold or brittle; those content to benefit from unjust systems, or who are unjust, forgetting the Lord; those who live – or choose to remain – in ignorance, forgetting the greater truth. Ref:  Deut 8:18; John 8:12.
[4] The sick:  Those who are afflicted by dis-ease in its various aspects, including: physical state (illness, aging, body attributes), mental illness and unhealthy mental states (shy, resentful, obsessed, fearful, panicked, hateful, hostile, angry, unforgiving, alienation, greed, envy, pride self-loathing, power-madness, money-mad, tormented), spiritual state (rebellious against God, wandering or lost, ignorance, doubt), surroundings (unjust systems, prejudice, poverty, war, joblessness, violence, peril, loss). Ref: Book of Job; Proverbs 31:6-7; 2 Cor. 10:3-5.
[5] The strong: those who are faithful, free, healthy, living in blessing, wise, discerning, meek, have fruits of the spirit (just, merciful, fortunate); those with assets including social capital. Ref: Joshua 1:9; Philippians 4:13.
[6] The fettered: incarcerated, bound by worry or sin, weighted down (see ‘the afflicted’), still questioning and searching.  Ref: Matthew 25:36; Luke 6:37; Hebrews 13:3; Gal 6:1.
[7] The free:   unbound, released, un-oppressed, unafflicted, redeemed. Those who live in love,  knowing love conquers fear and sets us free.   Ref: Psalm 16:8; Psalm 23; Psalm 27:1. John 8:31-32; Acts 13:38-39; 1 Peter 2:16;2 Cor. 5:17.
[8] According to Miles, in The Hippocratic Oath and The Ethics of Medicine, the physician could be seen to disavow the voluntary and destructive injustice of speaking about others in a dishonoring way.