Chapter 41
Laying on of Hands

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
(Hebrews 6:1-3 NIV)

This is one of the last chapters added to this book… I didn’t want to deal with this subject.  Scripture, in my opinion, is not very clear regarding the “laying on of hands.”  I wanted to keep this book limited to simple and clear subjects, subjects which I think I understand reasonably well.  However, the author of Hebrews lists this subject as one of “the elementary teachings about Christ” and part of our “foundation” (Hebrews 6:1-3).  We have already covered the other subjects listed in Hebrews 6:1-3.  If scripture calls laying on of hands elementary and foundational, so it is.

Here is the only New Testament instruction I am aware of regarding laying on of hands:

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.  (1Timothy 5:22)

Scripture gives us several good examples of laying on hands.  The practice is associated with healing, receiving a spiritual gift, commissioning people for service, or imparting some other grace from God.  Here are some scriptural examples:

“When you bring the Levites before the LORD, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the LORD.”  (Numbers 8:10-11)

And Moses did as the LORD commanded him.  He took Joshua and made him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation, and he laid his hands on him and commissioned him as the LORD directed through Moses.  (Numbers 27:22-23)

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him.  So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.  (Deuteronomy 34:9)

He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  (Mark 6:5 NIV)

When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.  (Luke 4:40 NIV)

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.  These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.  (Acts 6:5-6)

Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 8:17 NIV)

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  (1Timothy 4:14 NIV)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  (2Timothy 1:6 NIV)

For Further Reflection

Ask God for wisdom regarding the proper use of “laying on of hands.”

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