James 5:14

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by following-Him, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. following-Him

    following-Him
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    "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord".

    How often is this teaching still practiced today?

    Should one ask for another prayer and anointing if after a period of time there is no improvement in one's condition?

    Blessings

    following-Him
     
  2. Amy.G

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    We do this at our church. The pastor anoints the person with oil while he prays for them. The congregation (those who want to) come forward and lay hands on the person and on each other, since not all our hands will fit on the person.

    You can ask for prayer and anointing anytime you want to. There's no limit.
     
  3. Deacon

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    I’d suggest that even when it happens it’s probably not as described in the NT.

    1. The sick person initiates the call (I wonder what cellular service was available then?)

    2. Elders (plural not singular)

    Other mentions of an anointing with oil:
    Mark 6:13
    Luke 10:34

    The elders were to:

    1. Pray over a sick person.

    AND

    2. Anoint them with oil – in the name of the Lord.

    "The prayer offered in faith will restore…"

    The power was in the faithful prayer.

    One wonders if oil was used as a simple type of medication.

    Rob
     
  4. gb93433

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    There are both practical reasons and spiritual reasons for that practice. Oil helps to warm the body. It also helps to keep the skin moist and flexible during sickness because the skin can get dry and hurt. Having elders present tends to send a strong message of encouragement.
     
  5. annsni

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    Last time we did this in the church building was....2 weeks ago. We regularly do this when someone has a need for it. I had it done for me when we were done with the doctors trying to help my fertility and we went forward for annointing with oil and prayer for another child. I was pregnant 4 weeks later.
     
  6. Benjamin

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    This gift, first commissioned by Christ to the apostles,…

    Mark 6:12-13
    (12) And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
    (13) And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

    …seems we should know at the least this gift to have remained in the church long after the other miraculous gifts were withdrawn, this is seen as James directs the elders to administer it. Today, it mostly seems to be lost and I’m afraid this probably due, in large part to unbelief. Some would say that “the sick” only refers to sinning and repentance, but looking at context and the mentioning of Job and what he had to endure, patience, and tender mercy, I think it (the sick) goes a bit deeper than just repenting of sins and is calling upon us to pray in faith and assuring us that through faith we will avail much. (maybe not exactly want we wanted, but the blessing is still there)


    James 5:11-16
    (11) Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
    (12) But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
    (13) Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
    (14) Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
    (15) And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
    (16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

    Personally, yes, I think one should call upon his brethren for prayer and anointing in times of trouble; not that we personally have the power to make these things happen but in that we do have a promise concerning this gift given in the Word of truth regarding taking this action as in what I have bolded above.
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    I have never seen a church that does not practice this. Although the anointing with oil is useless.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    Why in the world would you claim (as one who allegedly "believes the Bible") that "anointing with oil is useless"?

    God uses material objects (water in baptism, the unleavened bread and wine/juice in communion, oil in prayers for healing, the bronze serpent in the wilderness for healing from the judgement of the snake bites) as symbols to help people experience the real presence of God in the moment. Surely, God can heal without the oil (I've seen such things), but that doesn't mean we should just toss out a biblical pattern. Should we forego the elements of communion (the bread and the wine/juice) just because we know that the bread and the wine are not literally the body and blood of Christ? Should we forego baptism since we know that the water does not save?

    The bread, the wine, the water, the oil, and the serpent are/were all useful for human beings who generally experience the elements of the material world more tangibly than the elements of the fuller spiritual world.
     
  9. Zenas

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    Calling all Greek scholars. What is the word that translates "elders" in 5:14? Is it the same word used in 1 Timothy 5:17 and Titus 1:5?
     
  10. Baptist Believer

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    Fairly often in my experience.

    Perhaps.

    Note that the "faith" mentioned in the passage is not the faith of the person who wants to receive healing (although they are certainly exercising faith by asking for prayer for healing), but the faith of the elders who have come to minister to and intercede for the person in prayer.

    Sometimes God has purposes for sickness, suffering and death that we don't/won't understand this side of our ultimate transformation. Other times, it is not yet the timing of God for healing. And at other times, I imagine that the elders of the church may not be praying in faith.

    In my limited experience, elders often don't spend enough time seeking God to get in sync with the leading of the Spirit, therefore, they restrict God's power being exercised through them. And I'm as guilty of that as anyone.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    We are talking about healing here not symbols of actual events. Baptism represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the bread and the wine represents the body and blood of Christ.

    In the case of healing the oil represents nothing. The church often was the source of healing as doctors were not always available. As many sources indicate oil was used for both sanitary purposes and as medicine. What is practiced often today is more mystical that biblical.
     
  12. annsni

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  13. preachinjesus

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    Every church that I have served in has done this from time to time. I clearly remember one time where a staff member was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. The outlook was bleak. During a Deacons meeting we gathered around him, annointed him with oil, and laid hands on him. We then called the church to pray for him over the next week.

    He recovered and has been able to add tremendously to the Kingdom of God.

    The practice, and parts, are not moot. They are active and important. Suggesting that we don't need to use oil is like saying we can have clown communion, waterless baptism, and coke with crackers for communion.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    Examine the Greek word here used and translated as elder. The actual Greek word also refers to the elderly. A slightly different word compared to when officers of the church are intended.

    Anointing with oil probably follows a Jewish custom of a drop of oil on the forehead of the individual as a symbol of healing. According to Jewish history, this was done as early as Genesis (forget the vrse just now) and continued to this day in Orthodox synagogues. Because oils had both actual healing qualities and was used as a symbol of God's presence, it was used to differentiate from the pagan use of oils and such.

    It seem strange that this message of James moves so speedily from redemption, to physical healing and back to redemptive princples in the next few verses.

    Is verse 14 in reference to illnesses connected with sin, as opposed to natural physical ailment? I'll let you decide.

    I think there is a place for laying on of hands and praying over an individual, at his request. The anointing of oil is irrelevant, except to maybe help the individual to concentrate on the fact that it is God who does the healing at his choice. Pray without ceasing, remembering the Paul asked the Lord three times to heal him,,three times,,he didn't quit. Finally, he accepted his state and got on with the Lord's work. We don't know if he continued to pray about it, but there is no mention either way.

    In my lifetime, I cannot recall ever anointing anyone with oil, but praying many times, with the laying on of hands, by the deacons, over real sicknesses and not every trivial sniffle and cough.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. abcgrad94

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    Once when my youngest brother had a burst eardrum, and we didn't know if he would be deaf for the rest of his life, my parents called the pastors and deacons of the church. They came to our home, prayed over my brother, and he was healed completely. I do not remember whether or not they used oil to annoint him, or if they just prayed, but God heard those prayers!

    I've also seen the annointing and prayer done in church, when someone would ask, and the pastor would place a dot of oil on their forehead and the leaders would pray for the person.
     
  16. Zenas

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    Jim, annsni found the word, presbyteros, in her Blue Letter Bible. Knowing that, I compared James 5:14 with 1 Timothy 5:17 and Titus 1:5 in a Greek N.T. and they look the same. So how is it different?
     
  17. Jim1999

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    In James 5:14 we have either presbuteros or presbus (elderly or senior)It depends on the manuscript being translated and context. It can also refer to the Hebrew sanhedrist (a senior member of the Sanhedrist council, or the Christian Presbyter, elder, old person.

    It is not so concrete in Greek, and it greatly depends on context rather than the word itself. The easiest thing to do is to learn Greek. It is much harder to translate fully the language of the day (Koine as opposed to classical Greek). Context, context, context!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. Zenas

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    I doubt that. It seems a lot easier to just ask someone like you. :thumbsup:
    Yes, yes, yes! And that is why it looks like James is speaking of a church officer rather than an elderly person.
     
  19. tinytim

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    I am against the use of the dot of oil on the forehead as most do it. I do not see that in this passage.

    To me this passage is speaking of oil as medicinal.
    First of all, in the OT, oil was used as a representation of the Holy Spirit. We need no representation of the Holy Spirit today.... for all believers have the Holy Spirit present.
    Why should we use a substitute (oil) for the real thing when we have the real thing.

    Second the word for "anoint' is alepho ... it means to smear on, or rub in...... and was in common use in the greek language as a word that described a mason smearing on plaster... When was the last time you saw a pastor smear the oil on the person? Instead they place a small dot of head on the forehead... (BTW, putting it on the forehead is NOWHERE mentioned in this passage)... What if the person had a back pain? Can anyone say "Ben Gay"? Which is petroleum (oil) based.

    Also if this was to be a religious service by the church, the word for anoint would have been the religious word "Christo" instead of the generic word "alepho"

    Further more, God says that without faith it is impossible to please God.
    So here is the scenario...

    A person has cancer.
    They ask for the elders to pray for them and anoint him with oil
    The elders offer to pray, but see this passage the way I do, and do not annoint with oil..
    If the person thinks to himself, "Well they didn't use oil, this will never work"... then the person's faith was in the oil and not in God.

    Either a person has faith in God alone, or they don't.. to have to use a substitute as an aid for God is paramount to using a physical representation of God.. and in which case the oil becomes an idol.

    What this passage says to me is this:

    Since oil was used for medicinal purposes, and still is.. look at BenGay, Icyhot, Antibiotic rubs, all are petroleum based.
    And since we have the Holy Spirit present in our life.. we don't need a physical representation of God.. .(2nd commandment anyone?)

    I believe this is to be applied in this way today... Use the best medical technique available to you... and pray.. realizing that God is the healer.. not the doctor or medicine that is used.

    I know I am in a minority... And this would Never be a hill I would die on... but it makes much more sense to me this way than calling for a preacher in a service to put a drop of oil on my head before he prays for me. Then everytime I have seen this done.. the preacher is quick to point out that it is not the oil that heals but God...
    If God is going to heal.. he doesn't need a drop of oil to do it.

    And if a person has faith in the oil.. his faith is misplaced...

    Just pray for the person and advise them to seek medical attention...
    That's how I apply it.
     
  20. Zenas

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    Well stated, Tinytim, you have made your case well. Having done so, how do you explain the anointing by the disciples in Mark 6:13. These men were imbued with the Holy Spirit direct from the Source. They had the power to heal at their finger tips. Yet they anointed their subjects with oil. Why?
     

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