Jesus Was Anointed, We Are Anointed And What That Means ; Anointing With Oil vs Anointing With Spirit


I write to all who sincerely love the Lord Jesus Christ and desire to understand what is revealed in the scriptures as well as how to avoid the errors that have developed in Christianity, both from within and without.

This website,, is concerned with finding out what really happened in original Christianity, and then comparing that to the various changes and movements that happened from then until now.

One of the things that happened is that the Roman Catholic Church in the early centuries after the apostles started to dominate the church to the exclusion of other sects and beliefs.  This church deviated from the gospel that Paul preached and made changes to a number of the things that the original Christians taught and practiced. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Scriptures only hold the seeds of our faith, that the true Christian faith had to be developed. Thus, we wind up with the deity of Christ, the Trinity, priests, popes, the mass, the sacraments, and more all of which were developed with references to Scripture, but it is acknowledged that these doctrines are not clearly stated in the letters of the Apostles, rather the Roman Church argues that it used seeds contained in those writings to develop them. They argue they have the power to do that because they argue that apostolic succession gives them the same power as the original apostles. This disagrees with scripture because the Roman Church presents itself as a hierarchy of bishops, and bishops, while having a valuable role in the body, cannot make themselves into other parts of the body (1 Cor 12:12ff). (See Apostolic Succession – Scriptural or Not? No, It’s Another Example of Tradition Voiding the Word of God for more.)  So many of these developments, not being soundly based in scripture are in reality a distorted gospel, and not the true gospel.

Finally, the Reformation started bringing about changes to get back to the pure, simple doctrine in the letters from the apostles which hold the word of God for our church. But, in the Reformation, there’s been no universal agreement on many issues. If you look at the Table of Contents page for this website you will see that churches, and consequently believers, disagree on apostolic succession, forms of baptism, biblical inerrancy, forms of church government, dietary laws, and even whether it’s okay to consume a little wine. And that’s just to name a few.

Still, I must reiterate that one thing that I found in the number of various churches that I’ve visited over the years is that they are full of people who are kind, sincere, and love Jesus. No, not everyone, we all know that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing everywhere. But my prayer is that we can reach people who are in these churches with the truth to set them free. If part of our life’s journey is to live an abundant life now and be rewarded eternally for what we do according to God’s word, then anything that we do that may appear to be godly but is, in fact, contrary to God’s word is a waste of time. So, my hope is to reach people with the truth about how the things of God in Scripture work, and help people live more abundantly now as well as help them reap more eternal rewards in the process.

One thing in particular that we will be looking at as a result of the current study is the practice and sacrament of anointing with oil. We have just talked in Textual Criticism; New Testament Verses That Are in Some Versions But Not Others; Anomalous Verses about how the “anointing with oil” verses, Mark 6:13 and James 5:14, are anomalies because other than the anomalous Mark 6:13 itself they talk about things that were never carried out.

This study is about oil. First, we will look at how oil is talked about in the scriptures and look at everyday uses. Then we will look at anointing with anointing oil. We will talk about how in the New Covenant, our anointing is by the holy spirit.

Oil in the Scriptures

The word oil is used hundreds of times in the Bible. We will see later in the article that there was clearly an anointing oil which was different than the oil that was used for cooking and lighting lamps and so forth.  In fact, olive oil was big business in Israel in the Bible.

Ephraim feeds on wind, and chases the east wind. He continually multiplies lies and desolation. They make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt. (Hos 12:1 WEB)

Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat for food to his household, and twenty cors of pure oil. Solomon gave this to Hiram year by year. (1Ki 5:11 WEB)

A cor is about a barrel in todays terms.  Different estimates include 45 gallons and 87 gallons to a cor.  These verses show that Israel traded oil with other nations.

Oil was used in lamps to produce light.

but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (Mat 25:4 WEB)

Oil was used in food preparation.

She said, “As Yahweh your God lives, I don’t have a cake, but a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jar. Behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go and do as you have said; but make me a little cake from it first, and bring it out to me, and afterward make some for you and for your son. (1Ki 17:12-13 WEB)

Oil was used medically as a salve.

From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it: wounds, welts, and open sores. They haven’t been closed, neither bandaged, neither soothed with oil. (Isa 1:6 WEB)

People applied oil to themselves after bathing.

Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his clothing; and he came into Yahweh’s house, and worshiped. Then he came to his own house; and when he requested, they set bread before him, and he ate. (2Sa 12:20 WEB)

Oil was a common commodity therefore in Israel. There is a difference between oil that’s used in a lamp or in food preparation from the anointing oil that’s used to dedicate priests, prophets, and kings. So, one point I want to make about the above verses is that they are evidence that just because oil is mentioned in verse it does not necessarily refer to anointing with anointing oil. The focus of this article is the meaning of being anointed along with the practice of anointing with anointing oil. Also, we will talk about what it means to be anointed.

We Are Anointed

All of this relates to us because the Scriptures say we are anointed;

Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; (2Co 1:21 WEB)

What does it mean to be anointed?

The verse above uses the word that means to rub (or anoint). The Greek word is chrio, which according to Strong’s Concordance just means to smear or rub with oil, and by implication, to consecrate to an office or religious service.  The Hebrew word is mashach, which means the same thing.  However, not all anointing with oil references refer to anointing with anointing oil.

The first use of this word, anoint, I found in the book of Genesis.

I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your birth.’” (Gen 31:13 WEB)

This is pretty straightforward. Jacob erected a column on or a pillar of stone in Bethel, and dedicated to the Lord.  The record of this event is actually recorded later in Genesis chapter 35.

God said to him, “Your name is Jacob. Your name shall not be Jacob any more, but your name will be Israel.” He named him Israel. God said to him, “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations will be from you, and kings will come out of your body. The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and to your offspring after you I will give the land.” God went up from him in the place where he spoke with him. Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he spoke with him, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it. Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him “Bethel”. (Gen 35:10-15 WEB)

So, this looks simple enough, right? Before there was a Law, people were dedicating things by pouring oil on them and naming them.

Anointing Oil in the Law

And, we will see that anointing was a practice in the Law. With the coming of the Law, we see that part of the liturgy, i.e., religious services, included people anointed with anointing oil working with things anointed in anointing oil. And the point of all that anointing was that these people and these things were dedicated to God service.

So, there’s a difference in Scripture between people anointing themselves after they bathe and people being anointed as part of their dedication to God service.

There is an anointing oil prescribed in Exodus.

Moreover Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Also take fine spices: of liquid myrrh, five hundred shekels; and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, even two hundred and fifty; and of fragrant cane, two hundred and fifty; and of cassia five hundred, after the shekel of the sanctuary; and a hin of olive oil. You shall make it into a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer: it shall be a holy anointing oil. (Exo 30:22-25 WEB)

Furthermore, this anointing oil was special. In fact, it was against the law to make the anointing oil for common purposes. So, the distinction is emphasized here between everyday oil and anointing oil.  Anointing oil was not applied after bathing to “anoint yourself”. You could get in big trouble for that.

You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on man’s flesh, and do not make any like it, according to its composition. It is holy. It shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on a stranger, he shall be cut off from his people.’” (Exo 30:31-33 WEB)

Moses anointed Aaron as a priest.

You shall take of the blood that is on the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron, and on his garments, and on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be made holy, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him. (Exo 29:21 WEB)

Do you see in the above verse that the oil used is referred to as “anointing oil”? That is the important distinction. Yahweh told Moses to not only do this to Aaron and his sons, but to their sons and their sons in perpetuity.

You shall put on Aaron the holy garments; and you shall anoint him, and sanctify him, that he may minister to me in the priest’s office. You shall bring his sons, and put coats on them. You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to me in the priest’s office. Their anointing shall be to them for an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” (Exo 40:13-15 WEB)

Prophets were anointed too. It is commonly taught that this was done with “anointing oil”, but that is not in the text and appears to be just an assumption as does the assumption that the “anointing with oil” mentioned in Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 was also done using “anointing oil”.

Yahweh said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. Anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel; and anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah to be prophet in your place. (1Ki 19:15-16 WEB)

Remember, anointing oil didn’t even exist until the law while things were being anointed for God’s purposes before that happened. So I am not going to assume that this anointing was done with “anointing oil”.

Anointed ones have God’s protection. They’re called to God’s service. And they are to be treated as God’s appointees.

“Don’t touch my anointed ones! Do my prophets no harm!” (Psa 105:15 WEB)

Things to be used in liturgy were anointed with “anointing oil”.

Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and sanctified them. He sprinkled it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its vessels, and the basin and its base, to sanctify them. He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him. (Lev 8:10-12 WEB)

“This is the thing that you shall do to them to make them holy, to minister to me in the priest’s office: take one young bull and two rams without defect, unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil: you shall make them of fine wheat flour. (Exo 29:1-2 WEB)

You shall use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the testimony, (Exo 30:26 WEB)

“You shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is in it, and shall make it holy, and all its furniture: and it will be holy. (Exo 40:9 WEB)

Throughout the Old Testament, to be anointed is to be someone or something dedicated to God. The anointed person might be a king, a priest, or a prophet.  For example, Samuel anointed Saul to be King

“Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man out of the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He will save my people out of the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon my people, because their cry has come to me.” (1Sa 9:16 WEB)

As they were going down at the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” He went ahead, then Samuel said, “But stand still first, that I may cause you to hear God’s message. Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him, and said, “Hasn’t Yahweh anointed you to be prince over his inheritance? (1Sa 9:27-10:1 WEB)

Then he brought out the king’s son, and put the crown on him, and gave him the covenant; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, “Long live the king!” (2Ki 11:12 WEB)

Someone who was anointed was special and treated with special care

Yahweh will render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; because Yahweh delivered you into my hand today, and I wouldn’t stretch out my hand against Yahweh’s anointed. (1Sa 26:23 WEB)

How Sickness was Dealt with in the Old Testament.  Was Anointing Oil Involved?

There are numerous references to people being “unclean” in the Old Testament, and sickness was something that made people unclean.  For example, Leviticus chapters 13 and 14 are all about what to do with someone who is sick with leprosy. They never mention anointing with oil.

Rules about Anointing With Anointing Oil

Anointing was so important that part of the law was people were to have olive trees throughout their property so that there would be plenty of oil. But, again, while they may have rubbed some oil on themselves after they bathed, they were not to anoint themselves with anointing oil.

You will have olive trees throughout all your borders, but you won’t anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives will drop off. (Deu 28:40 WEB)

Our New Testament Anointing Is Not With Oil

With the coming of Jesus, there were still anointings. But the anointing was not by oil, it was by the spirit.

Jesus was anointed by Holy Spirit:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, (Luk 4:18 WEB)

How do we know that the anointing was by the spirit and not oil? Look at this next verse.

even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  (Act 10:38 WEB)

It clearly says that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. That’s really a figure speech meaning that he was anointed with a powerful Holy Spirit.

Because of Jesus we also are anointed by the Holy Spirit. There are a couple of places in the New Testament that tell us this.

Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God;  (2Co 1:21 WEB)

You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. (1Jn 2:20 WEB)

As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him. (1Jn 2:27 WEB)

Now, we have seen that there was a change from the Old Testament to the New in how people were anointed.  When we receive God’s spirit, we are anointed to God’s service. We become dedicated to God.

The Old Testament Foreshadows the New Testament

Some very important points that Paul makes are that, first, the things that were done in the Old Testament were for our learning. The second is that the things done in the Old Testament were shadows or types of things that were to come in the New Testament.  First, the Old Testament was for our learning.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Rom 15:4 KJV)

And, next,

And I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all to Moses were baptized in the cloud, and in the sea; and all the same spiritual food did eat, and all the same spiritual drink did drink, for they were drinking of a spiritual rock following them, and the rock was the Christ; but in the most of them God was not well pleased, for they were strewn in the wilderness, and those things became types of us, for our not passionately desiring evil things, as also these did desire. (1Co 10:1-6 YLT)

The above verses talk about how the things that happen in the Old Testament like the Israelites wandering under the cloud, and through the sea were our examples, our “types”. Notice it says, “They were drinking of a spiritual rock following them, and the rock was the Christ”. They were the less powerful version of us in the church. We are drinking of the spiritual rock after he has accomplished our redemption on the cross.  We actually get to have the spirit in us, we don’t have to follow it in a cloud in a pillar of fire. And when it talks about how all of our fathers passed to the sea and all following Moses were baptized in the cloud, we get to operate as the body of Christ working together under Christ’s leadership.

Hebrews chapter 10 talks about it this way.

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Heb 10:1 KJV)

In the Old Testament things were only a shadow of what is available to us in the New Testament. And, by the same token, our life is still only a shadow of what our lives will be after Christ comes back and we are resurrected into our new bodies to live eternally with him.

You can look at it this way, the ability to have spirit came in stages. There’s the Old Testament stage where only a few had spirit on them, and most did not, so they really didn’t understand spiritual things. But the spirit that people had in the OT was powerful and measured. And it was placed on people, not in them.  There is the New Testament stage, where we get the spirit in us, and we can understand spiritual things. But we live in a glass that’s dimly lit. The spirit that people in the church age receive starts as a baby and has to be built up until it is mature. But we receive spirit in us. After Christ comes back, we will know even as we are known, and that’s when our complete redemption will happen. Our spirit will be fully developed.

Our Anointing Teaches Us Concerning All Things

We have seen from above that the things that happened in the Old Testament were just types, or examples, of what we experience in the New Testament. Throughout the Old Testament there was anointing with oil. With the exception of the two verses we’ll talk about in a bit, every place that talks about us being anointed in the New Covenant talks about us being anointed with spirit. Just like John the Baptist said that we would be baptized with spirit instead of water, we are anointed with spirit instead of oil. The following verses talk about how we are anointed with spirit instead of oil.

You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. (1Jn 2:20 WEB)

As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him. (1Jn 2:27 WEB)

Remember, anointing means to be consecrated for Yahweh’s purpose. We are anointed with the spirit and this anointing teaches us, that’s what the verse says above. “You don’t need for anyone to teach you”. “His anointing teaches you concerning all things”.

That is an amazing benefit of being anointed.

People, I didn’t write the book. You can see that I’m not making this up. I’m just reading what’s written. In other posts I have talked about some New Testament books not being considered genuinely of the apostles, but, First John is not one of those disputed books.

Now, other scriptures talk about how we need to put on Christ (Romans 13:14), and that we need to strive diligently to rightly divide the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).

We have to know that words are spiritual (John 6:63) and evaluate words, spiritual influences, as to whether they are of God or the adversary (1st John 4:1).

There are verses that talk about how easy it is to be deceived, and how we need to test what we read in here to see whether it’s of God. So, it isn’t just that we can just confess Jesus is Lord one day, and the next everything we need to know will be made clear to us in our heads.

In fact, in 1st Peter talks about how when we first believe we are just babies that can only receive “the milk of the word”.

Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that with it you may grow, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious: (1Pe 2:1-3 WEB)

“That you may grow” in the verse above means that we don’t just become believers and instantly get taught everything that’s available. So much in the church epistles is about learning to discern between truth and error.

And we have the great explanation of the purpose of the gift ministries of apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors and teachers, that is that we

“attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; (Eph 4:13-14).

Well, look at all the work involved in getting us, as a body, to the point where we are full-grown men and women, no longer tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error.

The important point to realize here is that yes, we are anointed with the Holy Spirit to be taught all things. But that only happens if we are in the middle of the body of Christ that is functioning with apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors and teachers that are raising us up and training us.  That only happens if we can avoid the trickery of men and the wiles of error.

Scripture warns us in place after place to not be deceived. That is part of the spirit leading us into all truth.  We mustn’t let ourselves be deceived and let ourselves believe every spirit (1 John 4:1), or worldly philosophy and human traditions (Colossians 2:8).  We mustn’t be deceived and think that the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God, and that means the sexually immoral, adulterers, homosexuals, greedy, thieves, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers aren’t going to be in the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  We mustn’t be deceived that people who don’t love the truth are going to be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:10 – 11). We mustn’t be deceived into thinking that we can sow the things of this world but reap the things of the kingdom of God (Galatians 6:7). We mustn’t be deceived into thinking that everything that looks spiritual is godly, rather, that there is a devil who has false apostles, false teachers, false prophets who look like angels of light (Matthew 24:24). So, just because someone talks about a Scripture doesn’t mean that their message is the truth. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). We mustn’t be deceived by empty words that sound good but don’t have the truth and the power of God’s word (Ephesians 5:6).  We mustn’t be deceived into thinking that our wisdom in this world will save us (1 Corinthians 3:18). We mustn’t be deceived into thinking that we can run around with ungodly people doing ungodly things and it won’t affect us (1 Corinthians 15:33). We have to heed the Savior’s constant warning to not be led astray (Matthew 24:4).

We have to test everything and only hold fast to that which is good (1st Thessalonians 5:21). We need to renew our minds to the truth of God’s word with diligent study (Romans 12:1 – 2). And, with that, we need to listen to the leading of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) while putting off the desires of our flesh.

All of the above is part of being led into all truth

The “Anointing with Oil” in the New Testament as  Anomalies in Scripture

As we discussed in Textual Criticism; New Testament Verses That Are in Some Versions But Not Others; Anomalous Verses, there are clearly a couple of verses in the New Testament that talk about anointing with oil for healing purposes, something that is missing in all the things that we have just looked at. We are going to look at these verses just a little more in this article.

Here are the verses.

They cast out many demons, and anointed many with oil who were sick, and healed them. (Mar 6:13 WEB)

Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (Jas 5:14-15 WEB)

Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 are records that appear to be an anomaly.  What is an anomaly?  It’s something that appears out of place.  Matthew 28:19 is an anomaly that commands something that was never carried out in scripture. In Matthew 28:19 – Legitimate Verse that was not Carried Out by the Apostles or Scribal Forgery? we discuss how that verse has no manuscripts that omit the trinitarian formula yet it sets up a command that not only is never carried out in scripture but every place a name is called it’s not the trinity, it’s the name of Jesus Christ.

As stated in Textual Criticism; New Testament Verses That Are in Some Versions But Not Others; Anomalous Verses, while there are over 5000 New Testament manuscripts, it is still certainly within the realm of mathematical possibility that there might have crept a few changes to the original that wound up being permanent additions to the body of manuscripts at some point.  The large number of manuscripts increases the possibility that manuscripts without the scribal change will still exist, but it does not preclude that the possibility that a scribal change, especially if done early enough, will eventually be present in all remaining manuscripts at some time.

Textual Criticism is based on inductive logic, which means that it is looking at what probably is, not what conclusively is. That changes to 3 verses of about 8,000 New Testament verses wound up with permanent alterations affecting the meaning means that .04 percent of verses would fall into this category.  In other words, if no other such anomalies were found that would mean that having almost 5,800 manuscripts allowed for resolving the original 99.96% of the time.  That is extremely good.   There simply is nothing in scripture that says that Yahweh would protect the manuscript transmission process to enable 100% of the original documents to be ascertained at all times.  On the other hand, scripture says that the holy spirit, the comforter, would lead us into all truth.

Of all the variant readings most can be seen by comparing manuscripts.  In Mark 9:29 “and fasting” appears to be added.  Mark 16:9-20 is missing in some manuscripts.  The story of the woman caught in adultery is missing from many manuscripts.  There are more, you can read about them in Examples of Scribal Forgeries in the Bible.

Even though Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 appear to prescribe anointing with oil with prayer this direction does not appear to be carried out anywhere where we see believers ministering to one another as in the Book of Acts, or the epistles. On the other hand, just like Matthew 28:19, Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 became a significant part of Roman Catholic Liturgy and theology in the centuries after the apostles.  Thus, the anointing with oil clauses are suspect of being scribal insertions.

Parallel Records to Mark 6:6-13 Do not Corroborate Anointing with Oil

Mark Chapter 6 has parallel records in Luke Chapter 9 and Matthew Chapters 9 & 10.  The point of having two or three witnesses, in this case, three gospel records about the same event, is that they will corroborate what happened. But, as we shall see, neither Luke nor Matthew mention anything about the apostles healing people by anointing them with oil.  Here’s the record in Luke.

He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them out to preach God’s Kingdom and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey—neither staffs, nor wallet, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats each. Into whatever house you enter, stay there, and depart from there. As many as don’t receive you, when you depart from that city, shake off even the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” They departed, and went throughout the villages, preaching the Good News, and healing everywhere. (Luk 9:1-6 WEB)

Luke chapter 9 does not corroborate Mark chapter 6 regarding anointing with oil. Both chapters say that Jesus sent out the 12 and gave them power and authority over demons and the ability to cure diseases. Luke just says they healed everywhere.  There is no mention of anointing with oil in the healing ministry.

Matthew chapter 10 has a lot more information. In fact, it starts in verse one describing the power that the Lord gave to the new trainees, his apostles.

He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. (Mat 10:1 WEB)

As far as instructions go, Jesus said this:

Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, “Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. Don’t take any gold, silver, or brass in your money belts. Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food. Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on. As you enter into the household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn’t worthy, let your peace return to you. Whoever doesn’t receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Most certainly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. (Mat 10:5-15 WEB)

Up above, we see that Jesus told them, “Preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons”.  Jesus healed the sick by command, not anointing with oil. There is no mention of anointing with oil in the healing ministry here.  He gave them spiritual power to heal, not training on the use of oil as a medicine.

The rest of the chapter has more detailed instructions on how the apostles were to go out. Again, there is no mention of anointing with oil in the healing ministry.

Modern Literature About Mark 6:13 Anointing with Oil for Healing

Healing by anointing with oil is now part of Christian tradition even though the verses that talk about it are few. Here’s an example:

The practice of anointing with oil, described many times in the Bible, was a common custom in the Middle East. Medicinal anointings were used for medical reasons to treat and heal the sick[1]

The article includes references to talk about using oil on yourself.

Let your garments be always white, and don’t let your head lack oil. (Ecc 9:8 WEB)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. (Psa 23:5 WEB)

Do you see the statement “The practice of anointing with oil, described many times in the Bible, was a common custom.”  This instructor is teaching by inference that this healing by anointing with oil is in line with the spiritual training of the Lord, but that is not true.

Jesus is the Prime Example of Being Anointed with the Holy Spirit

Let’s get back to how we and our Lord  are anointed. Jesus Himself declared he was anointed with the Spirit. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus read this passage from Isaiah.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, (Luk 4:18 WEB)

In the next verses, Jesus declares that this passage is fulfilled in him. Luke recounts Jesus doing the following after reading this passage.

He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luk 4:20-21 WEB)

The word Christ or Messiah means “anointed one”. Up in Luke 4:18, we see that this anointing was not that he was rubbed with oil, but he was rubbed with the spirit of the Lord. As anointing refers to something being consecrated to a purpose, his purpose was stated as “to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed”.

Here we see an example where the anointing with anointing oil requirements of the law were fulfilled in Christ. Anointing has now become spiritual anointing. Christ was spiritually anointed, and so are we.


Oil was used for different purposes in the Bible. People used oil in food recipes. They used oil as a medicinal balm. They used oil after bathing to protect the skin. All of these purposes were part of everyday use for God’s people.

Since “anointing oil” wasn’t instituted until the Law, even anointing altars and other memorials before the Law must’ve been done with regular olive oil. This opens the door that when prophets anointed kings or even other prophets they were using regular oil.

There was a separate oil that was specifically called “anointing oil”. This oil was used in the Law to dedicate priests and other things related to worship like furniture and vessels used in the worship services described in the Law.

This special anointing oil was never to be used for any of the common purposes mentioned above. That included that it wasn’t to be used for healing. So that rules out that Jesus sent out his apostles to use anointing oil to heal people. Therefore the verses that talk about healing by anointing with oil would not be with “anointing oil”. Therefore Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 must be talking about the natural healing remedy of applying oil as for medicinal purposes.

It is certainly available with the abundance of texts to get to what was written in the original manuscripts in the vast majority of cases. Examples include variations such as the Johannine Comma and the “and fasting” verses as well as many others.  Many variations are documented in previous articles.

And, there are a few anomalies that appear to be things added to the text that were not in the originals. Matthew 28:19 is one.  Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 are anomalies because they appear out of place talking about practices inconsistent with the rest of scripture,  The practice of anointing with oil in these verses appears to apply medicinal treatment to situations where the healing spirit of God was to be manifested.

[1] The Role of Anointing Oil in the Bible, Mary Fairchild, Christianity Expert, General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center


Bibliography (other than cited references)

The New Bible Dictionary, Erdman’s, Grand Rapids, 1962

Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1994

Holy Anointing Oil, Wikipedia.   This article describes the oil used in dedicating kings, and prophets, and in verses Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 as holy anointing oil.


© copyright 2024 Mark W Smith, All rights reserved. Last Revised 2/18/2024

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