What Does The Bible Say About Mediums? Historical Context and Spiritual Insights

A medium is someone who claims to have the ability to communicate with spirits of the deceased. Mediumship refers to the practice of purportedly mediating communication between spirits of the dead and living human beings. Mediums believe they can receive messages from the dead and pass them on to the living through various means, including séances, channeling, and automatic writing.

Some mediums also claim to have psychic abilities like clairvoyance and telepathy. The practice of mediumship has existed in many cultures throughout history, but remains controversial, with skepticism about whether mediums actually contact the spirits of the dead or simply read people’s minds and make guesses about the deceased.

Old Testament References

Medium in Bible

The Old Testament contains several passages that prohibit and condemn consulting mediums. According to Leviticus 19:31, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.” This establishes consulting mediums as spiritually unclean and prohibited. Similarly, Leviticus 20:6 states, “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.” This verse associates mediums with necromancy and spiritual prostitution, declaring God’s opposition and punishment for such practices.

In Deuteronomy 18:9-12, the prohibition is expanded: “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” This associates mediums with child sacrifice, divination, sorcery, omens, witchcraft, spells, and necromancy. All are considered detestable in God’s sight.

Saul and the Witch of Endor

The story of Saul consulting a medium is found in 1 Samuel 28 in the Old Testament. Saul was the first king of Israel but had fallen out of God’s favor for disobeying commandments. With the Philistines gathering for battle against Israel, Saul sought guidance from God but received no answer. Desperate, Saul disguised himself and visited the Witch of Endor, a medium who had spirit powers. He asked her to conjure up the spirit of the prophet Samuel to provide advice. The witch was surprised to see the real spirit of Samuel appear, who then chastised Saul for consulting a medium which was forbidden.

Samuel’s spirit told Saul his kingdom would be taken away and he and his sons would die in the upcoming battle for consulting a medium (1 Samuel 28 NET – The Witch of Endor – In those days the, n.d.). This story illustrates the biblical prohibition against mediums as well as Saul’s downfall.

New Testament References

The New Testament also condemns mediums and spiritism. Jesus frequently drove out evil spirits from people who were possessed (Matthew 8:16, Luke 4:33-35). He gave his disciples authority over unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1).

One account in Acts tells of Jesus driving out a spirit of divination from a slave girl who had earned money for her owners by fortune-telling:

Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:16-18)

This shows that spirits who communicate with mediums are deceitful and that Jesus has authority over them.

Church Teachings

Bible Say About Medium

The Catholic Church explicitly condemns all forms of divination and contact with spirits. According to the Catechism, “all forms of divination are to be rejected” including “conjuring up the dead.” Consulting mediums and engaging in séances is considered a “grave evil” that opens one up to demonic influence.

Mainstream Protestant denominations similarly discourage the use of mediums, regarding it as spiritually dangerous and incompatible with a Christ-centered faith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints advises members to avoid mediums and channeling, stating “the spirits contacted through these means often convey false doctrine or try to gather people into spiritual groups that deny Christ or promote immoral behavior.”

Overall, the consensus across most Christian traditions is that attempting to contact the dead or utilize psychic powers goes against Biblical teachings and should be avoided. Some limited exceptions may be made in certain denominations for receiving general spiritual guidance.

Potential Dangers

Consulting with mediums can potentially be dangerous for several reasons. The Bible warns against contacting the spirit world, as we do not know if the spirits we contact are from God or are deceiving demons (1 John 4:1). There is the danger of being deceived by evil spirits who may disguise themselves as helpful guides (2 Corinthians 11:14). Consulting with mediums also goes against God’s commandments (Leviticus 19:31, 20:6).

Additionally, opening oneself up to the spirit world can lead to demonic oppression or possession. Even if nothing supernatural occurs, some mediums may take advantage of vulnerable people by charging high fees or manipulating them.

Overall, the spiritual risks outweigh any potential benefits, so consulting mediums is generally considered unsafe from a Christian perspective.

Arguments in Favor

Some Christians argue that mediumship can be compatible with Christian beliefs under certain circumstances.

Here are some of the reasons given:

  • God gave some people mediumistic abilities as a gift, just like any other spiritual gift mentioned in the Bible (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Mediums feel they are using their God-given gifts to help people.

  • Mediums can provide closure, comfort and peace to grieving loved ones after a death. This can be seen as an act of Christian charity.

  • Some believe mediumship does not actually involve contacting the dead, but rather tapping into the “Akashic records” – a spiritual realm containing all knowledge. This does not contradict Biblical teachings.

  • Practicing mediums follow strict ethical guidelines to avoid exploitation. They aim to provide spiritual insights rather than predict the future.

Possible Exceptions

Bible About Mediums

There are a few cases where communicating with spirits may be allowed or seen as less problematic according to some Christian views:

  • Consulting spirits of deceased loved ones to say goodbye or gain closure. This is still controversial but some argue it may be allowed if not done regularly.

  • Using mediums to assist police investigations or help find missing persons. Some argue this may be permissible if it provides important information to help people.

  • Certain Christian denominations like Spiritualism may allow mediumship as part of their beliefs. However, most mainstream Christian churches still discourage or prohibit it.

Overall, communicating with spirits is generally viewed as dangerous and sinful in Christianity. But there may be some rare exceptions depending on the purpose and circumstances. Most Christians advise extreme caution with mediumship.

Alternate Views

Many other religions have different perspectives on mediums compared to Christianity. Here are some examples:

In Hinduism, mediums are often consulted to communicate with the spirits of the deceased. There is a long tradition of spiritism and calling upon ancestors in Hindu culture.

Buddhism generally does not believe in enduring spirits or souls. The Buddha discouraged his followers from consulting mediums or oracles for advice. However, some Buddhist traditions incorporate mediums and communication with spirits.

Consulting mediums is mentioned in Buddhist scriptures, but often with skepticism or warnings about deception. For example, the Brahmajāla Sutta lists “interpreting the calls of birds and animals” as a wrong livelihood for monks.

So while mediums have a place in some Eastern religions, often they are viewed with caution compared to the strictly forbidden status in Christianity. The perspectives differ based on beliefs about the afterlife and the soul.


The Bible’s perspective on mediums is complex, with passages seeming to contradict one another across the Old and New Testaments.

However, some key principles emerge:

  • Consulting with mediums and spirits is consistently forbidden and seen as rebelling against God. The famous example of Saul and the witch of Endor illustrates the Biblical prohibition against necromancy.

  • The New Testament maintains the Old Testament view that spirits and magic arts are forbidden and opposed to godly living. The book of Acts shows the early church rejecting spiritism and magic.

  • Nevertheless, Jesus does show compassion to suffering individuals who approach him for healing, without condemning them for past occult involvement. His power overcomes evil spirits.

  • The church today maintains that consulting mediums is dangerous and separates people from God’s will. However, the possibility of God working through imperfect means exists. The key is focusing on Christ rather than spirits.

In summary, the Bible takes a cautious view towards mediums, warning of spiritual dangers but also showing God’s mercy to those previously involved in occult arts. Discernment is needed, but the central lesson is to rely on God rather than necromancy or magic. More grace and wisdom is needed in ministering to those influenced by mediums.

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Daniel Powell

In my twenties, I began to approach the Bible with fresh eyes. I was no longer content to simply accept what I was told. I wanted to dive deeper, to question, and to understand. My faith demanded it.

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