Laying on of Hands

"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the teaching of immersions, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment ...," Hebrews 6'1-3.


The teaching of ministering laying on hands is significant in the laying of a Believer's foundation in Christ. But it could be seen by an "ordinary" Believer as more applicable to those who lead. Not so! Coming after the Believer has received the understandings of repentance, faith and the immersions, it's like the symbol for life in Christ's New Covenant Kingdom of God.

Since the Day of Pentecost, laying on of hands has been ministered by Jesus' People. In the first place, Jesus is our example of course. In fact, one example of His is a great demonstration of the spiritual authority that Believers can have. Not only does He lay on hands to heal, but immediately before it He speaks and casts out a demon:

"Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.
But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, 'Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.'
And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God," Luke 13'10-13.

Through actions like this He became known for His unbounded ministry. Another example:

"And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live'," Mark 5'22-24.

And here's what Jesus did in the face of many who ridiculed Him:

"He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, 'Talitha, cumi,' which is translated, 'Little girl, I say to you, arise. Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement," Mark 5'40-42.

In this instance He took the girl by the hand and spoke to her at the same time. Also, He took her father and mother and separated Himself from those who mocked at the idea of someone being brought back from death. And in His own country, "He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief," Matthew 13'58.

Jesus did these things first so they stand as examples to His followers. They also show that laying on of hands can be varied and spontaneous as the Holy Spirit is likely to inspire.


“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved," John 3'16-17.

So the world is made up of unbelievers who are just as we were. But "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one," 1 John 5'19. "We know", means that these two understandings actually dwell in our hearts as they did in John's.

The Father loved His Son and sent His Son into the world that He loved. The Son loves His People and  He says:  "... as the Father has sent Me, I also send you," John 20'21.

Prior to that He had said:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father," John 14'12.

Also He said that "... these signs will follow those who believe:

'In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover'.

"And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs," Mark 16'15-18,20. (Note that casting out demons and laying hands on the sick are entirely separate.)


Signs accompanied the Lord's People soon after Pentecost, Peter and John being first in following the Lord's example with the lame man who lay on the ground at the temple gate asking for money:

"... fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, 'Look at us.' So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

Then Peter said, 'Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk'. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them - walking, leaping, and praising God," Acts 3'4-8.

Once again, laying on of hands is varied spontaneously by Peter on this occasion.

Then Paul on the island of Malta ...

"... it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed," Acts 28'8-9.

Here Paul felt to pray before laying his hands on the person indicating that, in some cases, praying may be needed in advance of laying on hands. Following this healing others requested prayer and were healed. 

It is very important indeed to remember not to lay hands on anyone who has demonic problems. Jesus never did. As in this instance:

"When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, Matthew 8'16.

No sprinkling of "holy" water, no waving of the Bible and certainly no laying on of hands. It is His word only, and Satan has to obey.

Paul made this point to Timothy, too. He knew there could be unintended consequences from laying hands on individuals unthinkingly, so he warned:

"Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure," 1 Timothy 5'22.


Saints who have received and experienced the first principles of the oracles of God, the elementary principles of Christ, are qualified to minister to Believers and unbelievers. However, congregational ministry usually falls to the Elders among them. For example:

"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the Elders, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in  the name of the Lord.

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven," James 5'14-15.


* "... when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them ... they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit," Acts 8'14-17.

* "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands," 2 Timothy 1'6.

* "Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership," 1 Timothy 4'14.

* "... whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them" Acts 6'6.

* "... certain prophets and teachers ... having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away," Acts 13'1-3.

* "And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied," Acts 19'6.

* "And Ananias ... laying his hands on him he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, ... has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit'," Acts 9'17. (Physical and spiritual ministry in one!)

* "For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift," Romans 1'11. (This would probably be done by laying on hands.)

It's good to remember that, although the Apostles were first to minister laying on of hands, congregational Elders were equal to them. Peter made the point when he wrote his letter to:

"The Elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow Elder," 1 Peter 5'1.


"I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting," 1 Timothy 2'8.

Hands that are laid on Believers, and unbelievers, should be holy. Believers, particularly Elders, should only be involved in activities acceptable to our heavenly Father.


Next: Resurrection and Judgement.