Why ‘sorcery’ was the fastest-growing search term on Bible Gateway in 2021

by Msnbctv news staff

(RNS) — The subjects folks seek for every year on Bible Gateway are all the time attention-grabbing, in response to Jonathan Petersen, content material supervisor of the web site.

However this 12 months’s will be the “most intriguing,” Petersen wrote on the positioning.

Searches for the phrases “sorcery” and “sorceries” noticed the most important spike, growing 193% during the last 12 months on Bible Gateway, which permits customers to learn and search the textual content of a number of translations of the Bible.

And that doesn’t seem like as a result of witchcraft is more and more turning into mainstream, even fashionable.

Relatively, Petersen wrote, curiosity over what the Bible has to say about sorcery is said to heightened curiosity within the Greek phrase “pharmakeia.” He pointed to its definition within the Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testomony: “employment of medication for any function; sorcery, magic, enchantment.”

“Pharmakeia” seems in Galatians 5:19-21: “The acts of the flesh are apparent: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, matches of rage, egocentric ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did earlier than, that those that stay like this is not going to inherit the dominion of God.”

The phrase additionally seems in Revelation 18:23, which reads partly, “By your magic spell all of the nations have been led astray.”

RELATED: The gospel of Sherri Tenpenny: COVID-19 misinformation meets Christian nationalism

Extra lately, it has appeared in debates over COVID-19 prevention measures, notably opposition by some charismatic and evangelical Christians to vaccines in opposition to the illness attributable to the novel coronavirus.

Maybe most prominently, Sherri Tenpenny — an osteopathic physician and longtime anti-vaccine activist who seems on the Heart for Countering Digital Hate’s “Disinformation Dozen” listing — used the time period this previous 12 months throughout her Instagram Bible examine “Joyful Hour with Dr. T.”

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny in a March 25, 2021, Instagram Stay video. Screengrab

In a March 25 video, Tenpenny took goal at pastors, clergymen and rabbis who closed their homes of worship in the course of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and later opened them as vaccination facilities, “pleasing the pharmakeia, the sorcerers, little doubt,” she mentioned. In an April 8 video, she once more talked about church leaders opening their sanctuaries to “sorcerers” to manage COVID-19 vaccines, which she believes are “experimental genetic modification instruments” that may “completely mark” recipients.

“What about Jesus therapeutic the sick along with his fingers and with prayer? Our Lord would have by no means turned to the pharmakeia, the sorcerers, overlooking his father’s outcomes,” Tenpenny mentioned.

Christian singer and former “American Idol” contestant Danny Gokey additionally referenced “pharmakeia” in a sequence of tweets earlier this week linking COVID-19 vaccines to the “mark of the beast” talked about within the biblical e-book of Revelation.

“Revelations additionally emphasizes how the entire world can be deceived by Pharmakeia,” Gokey tweeted.

The phrase has come up in weblog posts, podcasts and on Amazon, the place it has appeared on T-shirts (alongside search phrases “vax Mandate Tyrants lockdowns”) and self-published books relationship again to 2018 claiming to unmask a spirit of pharmakeia controlling the pharmaceutical trade worldwide.

RELATED: Protests, pandemics and politics: The highest 2020 searches for Bible passages on-line

It’s commonplace for folks to look the Bible on-line to see what it has to say about main occasions in information and popular culture, in response to Petersen of Bible Gateway.

“It appears subjects that dominate the information media and social posts trigger folks to surprise what the Bible may need to say about them, in order that they search key phrases and phrases on Bible Gateway to see what they’ll discover,” he instructed Faith Information Service in an e mail.

For instance, Petersen mentioned, searches for Luke 10:18 — “He replied, ‘I noticed Devil fall like lightning from heaven.’” — jumped this 12 months when the verse appeared on Lil Nas X’s “Devil Footwear.”

Final 12 months, Bible Gateway noticed a spike in searches for phrases corresponding to racism, justice, equality and oppression after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the protests that adopted. The location additionally famous a surge in searches for what the Bible has to say about such subjects as illness, pestilence and plague across the emergence of COVID-19 lockdowns and for politics-related phrases within the lead-up to the presidential election.

Its most-read verses have remained the identical for years: “For God so liked the world that he gave his solely Son, so that everybody who believes in him could not perish however could have everlasting life” (John 3:16) and “For absolutely I do know the plans I’ve for you, says the Lord, plans in your welfare and never for hurt, to present you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Its high two most-searched phrases have additionally remained unchanged: “love” and “peace.”

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