Aug. 27, 2020

What Does James 5:14 Mean? Part 2

What Does James 5:14 Mean? Part 2

James 5:14-15 (NIV): Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.


Yesterday, we began digging deeper into James 5:14 and learned that when we are too ill to go to church to receive prayer, that we are to take personal responsibility and call for the church elders to come to us and pray. 

In today's 2-minute teaching:

  • The history of using oils in the ancient days
  • What the oil used in James 5:14 symbolized
  • What does it mean for the elders to say "in the name of the Lord" 



The Jew’s tradition of swearing an oath in God's Name (James 5:12)


Praying and praising at all times (James 5:13)


The history of healing in the Early Church (an intro to James 5:14-15)


Calling upon the Elders to pray for you when you're sick. (James 5:14)


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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.

This week we’ve been digging deeper and understanding more of prayer and healing in the early church.

In particular, the past two days we’ve looked at James 5:13-14. So, picking up where we left off yesterday, James 5:14 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.”

So, why oil? You might have been in a church service where you’ve seen the elders put oil on someone’s forehead? Or maybe an area of their body where someone needs healing? And this is all completely biblical. 

Oil was widely known to be the best of all medicines. In fact, is was common to mix both wine and oil, usually olive oil, and put it on wounds. We see this in Luke 10:34 in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The NET Bible says that the ancient practice of pouring olive oil on wounds eased pain and provided cleansing for the wounds.

Now, in this verse here in James 5:14, using oil probably symbolized the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the person. So, the oil itself didn’t necessarily have healing properties. It was simply a tangible way to symbolize the Holy Spirit bringing his healing power upon the person. 

And notice that as the elders applied the oil, they did it in the name of the Lord. The words James uses here give the idea of someone having full authority to stand in the place of the person being named. In other words, a Christian praying in the name of Jesus is acting in the authority that Jesus has given us as his ambassadors here on earth. However, it’s important to remember that God alone is performing the miracle. We simply have the honor of being the vessels or the instruments that God uses to perform the healing. 

Now, why is James getting so specific in these verses? It was not uncommon for sick people to call upon sorcerers or pagan magic for healing. So, James is probably urging his listeners to go to God for healing, and not using worldly, possibly even evil, magic. 

All right. So we’ve covered a lot in the last several days about healing in the early church. And we still have another verse to dig deeper into to complete this teaching from James. So be sure to continue tuning in or you’ll only have half the story here. Alright? So, I pray blessings over you today as you enjoy your weekend. Be sure to share this podcast with those God lays on your heart and subscribe so you don’t miss the remainder of this powerful teaching from James. I’m Julie Carruth. And I’ll see you again tomorrow!