You’re wrong in your history. You are misleading others with false information. If you study cases of Hidrosis [sweating] you will find that there are cases of actual capillaries rupturing due to enormous stress and profuse sweating. The head especially the forehead is very vascular. —BQ

The passage in question is Luke 22:44, which reads “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” This occasion is Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. My point in the Revised Medical Account (1990) is that Luke describes Jesus' sweat as dropping off him like drops of blood, not that it was blood.

And you was wrong! Hemahydrosis. Look it up before you spread information that isn’t true. [The correct word is hematohydrosis.)

Yes, I’m familiar with hematohydrosis. In fact, for many years I taught that Jesus was sweating blood in the Garden. This seemed to make the account more powerful. This is also the position of C. Truman Davis, a medical doctor whose account has influenced many Christians. Luke’s description of Jesus’ sweat in Luke 23:5 contains a simile. Jesus’ sweat fell in the same way that blood from an bleeding wound drips to the ground.

It’s a simile just because you say it is? I would suggest the expanded Greek translation. The information you submitted is false and speculation.

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At this point I decided not to continue engaging. Besides his disrespect (with a hint of aggression?), the inquirer wasn’t really interested in learning. He had already made up his mind. Actually, those who insist on the "sweat of blood" are the ones speculating, since this is not explicit in the text.

In fact, I’ve read the Greek NT eight times through. But that isn’t relevant, since the question has nothing to do with the Greek. Rather, it has to do with figures of speech, and specifically the nature of a simile—a comparison, normally containing the word like or as. The passage hasn’t been mistranslated—just misunderstood. For an earlier post on this topic, see Q&A 0351.

And if this is right, I’m not misleading others—at least about Jesus. And I’m not a false teacher (whew!).


I'd like to add a few further comments. When we look at the early church, it's far from obvious that these faithful Christians dramatized the passion and crucifixion of Christ in their evangelism. Perhaps they didn't need to, as public executions were a far more common site than in the modern world. They certainly talked a lot about the resurrection. Yet today many are very attached to a gory narrative of Jesus' crucifixion. For example, although I truly appreciated Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, the graphic violence was extreme. I recall that most of those exiting the cinema (including me) were stunned. The shock effect was undeniable. 

A graphic medical account of the crucifixion may well be part of your evangelism, or a study series you share with outsiders. Yet if we aren't careful, sharing shocking accounts can be manipulative, leading to a high-pressure emotional decision in lieu of an understanding and more rooted faith.

These are my opinions. You may agree with me, or not—and that's fine with me. Christians don't always think identically. Sometimes differences are crucial, other times not so important. (Whether the Lord was sweating blood in the Garden is no big deal.) Which brings me to the point.

I remember my earlier years, my legalism, my sometimes black-and-white thinking about everything. I automatically assumed any interpretation of scripture that didn't match my own was wrong. (Or was I the one in the wrong? Someone has to be wrong—right?) The other guy was deliberately twisting the truth, or unwilling to be as committed a disciple as I was, or perhaps he just wasn't that bright. If they held to a belief I considered unscriptural, they were false teachers. If their church shared their error, it was a false church, surely led by false teachers. (Even if we agreed with their group on nearly everything! After all, you can't be saved if you're teaching anything unbiblical.)

Then why are passages like Rom 14-15 in the Bible? Did the apostles use brute force to enforce their beliefs? Why do we find so many scriptures urging patience, humility, and love? Did the opposing sides in the Acts 15 dispute malign one another? Does any of us really believe he or she has discovered all truth, or that our church has "arrived"? Do we all not have far to go?

I'm not trying to imply that truth doesn't matter, or that strong preaching, clear teaching, and biblical convictions are wrong. But how we treat one another when we differ speaks a lot about our character (Christlike or not), just as our unity speaks volumes to the watching world.