by Moody Adams “The recent death of a Christian minister from West Virginia who believed that the Bible instructs the faithful to handle snakes and drink poison has put into question a doctrine many believe is unbiblical and dangerous but that its adherents . . . say they are compelled to obey,” reports Nicola Menzie of the Christian Post.
The passage they use as a basis for this misunderstood snake handling is Mark 16:17-18: “And these signs shall follow them that believe ; In my name shall they cast out devils they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
These signs have followed “them that believe.” The body of believers, not each individual believer. The Apostle Paul was biten by a snake and survived, according to Acts 28:2-4. The sick were brought to the disciples in Jerusalem and they “were ALL healed” (Acts 5:16).
Citing Acts 28:2-4, Laurie added that "Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake in the book of Acts and did not die, and that is because God still had a plan for him. However, to intentionally handle venomous snakes is to me 'testing' more then trusting the Lord. I do not recommend it for obvious reasons."
Between 80 and 100 sake handlers have died, proving they did not have ‘faith,’ or did not properly understand the Bible. In addition to the promise in Mark, there is Jesus' teaching after the Devil called on Him to jump off the temple to prove His faith, even quoting a scripture. “(Satan said) For it is written , He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up , lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said , Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God: (Luke 4:10-12). It is one thing to be saved from some avoidable disaster. But to deliberately inflict it upon yourself is tempting the Lord.