Question: "What does the Bible say about donating blood/blood donations?"

Answer: The Bible says nothing directly about donating blood or having a blood transfusion because such medical procedures were not possible in the days when the Bible was written. However, we can apply other principles from God’s Word about blood and life and draw wise conclusions about what God thinks about donating blood.

We learn, beginning in Genesis 9:4, that God considers blood a physical representation of life. He commanded Noah not to eat meat that still had the lifeblood in it. That prohibition was echoed again in Deuteronomy 12:23–24 when God gave the Law to Israel. In Genesis 9:5–6, God said, “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” In this passage, God set the stage for our understanding of the value of human life and blood, a truth that would one day be demonstrated when He gave His own life for us (Hebrews 10:22; 1 John 1:7).

Some religions, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, wrongly believe that the Bible prohibits blood transfusions, citing many of the above Scriptures as their supposed evidence. However, it is clear that these Scriptures are all in reference to eating blood, not donating it so that someone else can live. Those religions put unscriptural emphasis on the blood itself, rather than the spirit behind the prohibition against consuming blood. From “The Bible commands that we not ingest blood. So we should not accept whole blood or its primary components in any form, whether offered as food or as a transfusion.” That’s quite a jump, from “eating” to “transfusing,” and one not supported by Scripture. Contrary to the claims of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other such religions, there is nothing in the Bible that prohibits the practice of donating or receiving donated blood.

Donating blood is actually a picture of what Jesus did for us when He shed His blood so that we might live. When we give blood, we are offering a part of our lives to save the life of someone else. It is one way we obey the second greatest commandment, which is to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). If we are called to lay down our lives for others, we can surely give some of our blood to help save them.