James 5:14
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.

English Standard Version
Is anyone among you sick? 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.

New American Standard Bible
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;

King James Bible
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:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord.

International Standard Version
Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

NET Bible
Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And if one is ill, let him call The Elders of the church, and let them pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of Our Lord.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If you are sick, call for the church leaders. Have them pray for you and anoint you with olive oil in the name of the Lord.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the congregation {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones}; and let them pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;

King James 2000 Bible
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:

American King James Version
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:

American Standard Version
Is any among you sick? 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:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Darby Bible Translation
Is any sick among you? let him call to [him] the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of [the] Lord;

English Revised Version
Is any among you sick? 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:

Webster's Bible Translation
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:

Weymouth New Testament
Is any one ill? Let him send for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, after anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

World English Bible
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,

Young's Literal Translation
is any infirm among you? let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil, in the name of the Lord,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:12-18 The sin of swearing is condemned; but how many make light of common profane swearing! Such swearing expressly throws contempt upon God's name and authority. This sin brings neither gain, nor pleasure, nor reputation, but is showing enmity to God without occasion and without advantage It shows a man to be an enemy to God, however he pretends to call himself by his name, or sometimes joins in acts of worship. But the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. In a day of affliction nothing is more seasonable than prayer. The spirit is then most humble, and the heart is broken and tender. It is necessary to exercise faith and hope under afflictions; and prayer is the appointed means for obtaining and increasing these graces. Observe, that the saving of the sick is not ascribed to the anointing with oil, but to prayer. In a time of sickness it is not cold and formal prayer that is effectual, but the prayer of faith. The great thing we should beg of God for ourselves and others in the time of sickness is, the pardon of sin. Let nothing be done to encourage any to delay, under the mistaken fancy that a confession, a prayer, a minister's absolution and exhortation, or the sacrament, will set all right at last, where the duties of a godly life have been disregarded. To acknowledge our faults to each other, will tend greatly to peace and brotherly love. And when a righteous person, a true believer, justified in Christ, and by his grace walking before God in holy obedience, presents an effectual fervent prayer, wrought in his heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, raising holy affections and believing expectations and so leading earnestly to plead the promises of God at his mercy-seat, it avails much. The power of prayer is proved from the history of Elijah. In prayer we must not look to the merit of man, but to the grace of God. It is not enough to say a prayer, but we must pray in prayer. Thoughts must be fixed, desires must be firm and ardent, and graces exercised. This instance of the power of prayer, encourages every Christian to be earnest in prayer. God never says to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek my face in vain. Where there may not be so much of miracle in God's answering our prayers, yet there may be as much of grace.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 14, 15. - Directions in ease of sickness. Let him call for the elders of the Church. Of the original creation of the presbyterate no account is given, but elders appear as already existing in Judaea in Acts 11:30; and from Acts 14:23 we find that St. Paul and St. Barnabas "appointed elders in every Church" which they had founded on their first missionary journey. Nothing, therefore, can be concluded with regard to the date of the Epistle from this notice of elders. The elders were to be summoned for a twofold purpose:

(1) that they might pray over the sick person (on the accusative ἐπ αὐτόν, see Winer, p. 508); and

(2) that they might anoint him with oil in the Name of the Lord, The result anticipated is also twofold:

(1) "the prayer of faith shall save the sick" ("save," σώζειν, here as in other passages, e.g. Matthew 9:21, 22, etc., refers to bodily healing); and

(2) "if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him." (From the manner in which this last clause is introduced, it may fairly be inferred that the sins in question are presumed to have had some connection with the sickness, and to have been its cause. Vulgate, Et si in peccatis sit dimittentur cf.) Anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord. By the omission of the last words, τοῦ Κυρίου, B has the striking reading, "anointing him with oil in THE NAME" (compare the use of τὸ ὄνομα absolutely in Acts 5:41 3John 7). A similar use is also found in the Epistles of Ignatius. The Vatican Manuscript, however, appears to stand quite alone in this reading here. If the words, τοῦ Κυρίου, be admitted, they must be taken as referring to the Lord Jesus (contrast ver. 10, ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Κυρίου). So also in ver. 15 the Lord (ὁ Κύριος) who shall raise him up is clearly the Lord Jesus. Had God the Father been alluded to we should probably have had the anarthrous Κύριος after the manner of the LXX. (see note on James 4:10). Unction is mentioned in connection with the sick also in Mark 6:13. The apostles "anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them;" and compare the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:34), "pouring in wine and oil." "Josephus mentions that among the remedies employed in the case of Herod, he was put into a sort of oil bath.... The medicinal use of oil is also mentioned in the Mishna, which thus exhibits the Jewish practice of that day" ('Dictionary of the Bible,' vol. it. p. 595; see Mishna, 'Shabbath,' 13:4; and compare Lightfoot, 'Horae Hebraicae,' vol. it. p. 415). According to Tertullian, "the Christian Proculus, surnamed Torpacion, the steward of Euhodus," cured with oil Severus, the father of Antonino (i.e. Caracalla), who "in gratitude kept him in his palace till the day of his death." Tertullian, 'Ad Scapulam,' c. 4. (see Oehler's notes on the passage). But in the case before us if, as in these other instances, the oil was used as an actual remedy,

(1) why was it to be administered by the elders? and

(2) why is the healing immediately afterwards attributed to "the prayer of faith"? These questions would seem to suggest that oil was enjoined by St. James rather as an outward symbol than as an actual remedy. A further question remains to which a few lines must be devoted. Is the apostle prescribing a rite for all times? On the one hand, we are told that the use of oil was connected with the miraculous powers of healing, and therefore ceased "when those powers ceased" (cf. Bishop Browne on the Articles, p. 589). On the other hand, the passage is appealed to as warranting the Roman Catholic sacrament of extreme unction. With regard to the practice of the early Church, there is a constant stream of testimony to the use of oil for purposes of healing; e.g. the case in Tertullian already quoted, and many others in the fourth and fifth centuries (see 'Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,' pp. 1455, 2004, 2053). But

(1) as originally practiced it was administered by laymen and even by women.

(2) After the blessing of the oil was restricted to bishops it was still regarded as immaterial by whom the unction was performed. So Psalm-Innocent, 'Ep. ad Decent.,' § 8, "Being made by the bishop, it is lawful not for priests only, but for all Christians, to use it in anointing in their own need or in that of their friends."

(3) Not till the middle of the ninth century do we meet with any express injunction to the priest to perform the unction himself.

(4) "The restraint of the unction to the priest had momentous consequences. The original intention of it in relation to healing of the body was practically forgotten, and the rite came to be regarded as part of a Christian's immediate preparation for death. Hence in the twelfth century it acquired the name of 'the last unction,' unctio extrema (Peter Lombard, ' Sent.,' 4:23), i.e. as the Catechism of Trent asserts ('De Extr. Unct.,' 3), the last of those which a man received from the Church. In the thirteenth it was placed by the schoolmen among the seven rites to which they limited the application of the term sacrament" ('Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,' p. 2004). In the sixteenth century it was definitely laid down at the Council of Trent,

(1) that it is a sacrament instituted by our Lord;

(2) that by it grace is conferred, sin remitted, and the sick comforted, "sometimes also" the recovery of health is obtained;

(3) that it should be given to those in danger of death, but if they recover they may receive it again (Session 14. c. 9.). Further, the Catechism of the Council condemns as a grievous error the practice of waiting to anoint the sick "until all hope of recovery being now lost, life begins to ebb, and the sick person to sink into lifeless insensibility." In spite of this, however, the common practice in the Roman Catholic Church at the present day appears to be to administer the rite only to persons in extremis. Turning now to the Eastern Church, we notice that a rite of unction has been continued there up till the present time. The service, which is a somewhat lengthy one, may be seen in Daniel's 'Codex Liturgicus,' bk. 4. c.v.; and cf. Neale's 'Holy Eastern Church,' Introd., vol. it. p. 1035, where it is noted that it differs from the Western use in three points:

(1) the oil is not previously consecrated by the bishop, but at the time by seven priests;

(2) the unction is not conferred only in extremis, but in slighter illness, and if possible in the church;

(3) it is not usually considered valid unless at least three priests are present to officiate. It has been thought well to give this slight historical sketch, as affording the best answer to the claims of Romanists by showing how they have gradually departed from the primitive custom and changed the character of the rite. But the sketch will also have shown that it is scarcely accurate to imply that unction ceased when the miraculous powers ceased. At the Reformation, when the English Church wisely rejected the mediaeval service for extreme unction, she yet retained in the first English Prayer-book a simple form of unction, to be used "if the sick person desire it," consisting of

(1) anointing, "upon the forehead or breast only," with the sign of the cross; and

(2) prayer for the inward anointing of the soul with the Holy Ghost, and for restoration of bodily health and strength. Thus the service was entirely primitive in character, and it is hard to see what valid objection could be raised to it. It was, however, omitted from the second English Prayer-book of 1552, and has never been restored. The justification, I suppose, of this disuse of unction must be sought in the entire absence of evidence that the primitive Church understood the passage before us as instituting a religious rite to be permanently continued. All the earliest notices of unction refer simply to its use for healing purposes.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Is any sick among you?.... Which is often the case; the bodies of the saints, as well as others, are liable to a variety of diseases; they are sick, and sometimes nigh unto death, as Epaphroditus was: and then,

let him call for the elders of the church; in allusion to the elders of the congregation of Israel, Leviticus 4:15. By these may be meant, either the elder members of the church, men of gravity and soundness in the faith, persons of long standing and experience; who have the gift and grace of prayer, and are not only capable of performing that duty, but of giving a word of counsel and advice to the sick. It was a kind of proverbial saying of Aristophanes the grammarian;

"the works of young men, the counsels of middle aged persons, and , "the prayers of ancient men" (z):''

or rather officers of churches are meant, particularly pastors, who are so called in Scripture; these should be sent for in times of sickness, as well as physicians; and rather than they, since their prayers may be the means of healing both soul and body: so in former times, the prophets of God were sent to in times of sickness, for advice and assistance. It is a saying of R. Phinehas ben Chama (a) that

"whoever has a sick person in his house, let him go to a wise man, and he will seek mercy for him.''

And it follows here,

and let them pray over him; or for him, for the recovery of his health:

anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord; which some think was only done in a common medicinal way, oil being used much in the eastern countries for most disorders; and so these elders used ordinary medicine, as well as prayer: or rather this refers to an extraordinary gift, which some elders had of healing diseases, as sometimes by touching, and by laying on of hands, or by expressing some words, and so by anointing with oil; see Mark 6:13 which extraordinary gifts being now ceased, the rite or ceremony of anointing with oil ceases in course: however, this passage gives no countenance to the extreme unction of the Papists; that of theirs being attended with many customs and ceremonies, which are not here made mention of; that being used, as is pretended, for the healing of the souls of men, whereas this was used for corporeal healing; that is only performed when life is despaired of, and persons are just going out of the world; whereas this was made use of to restore men to health, and that they might continue longer in it, as follows.

(z) Apud Harpocratian. Lex. p. 125. (a) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 116. 1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

14. let him call for the elders—not some one of the elders, as Roman Catholics interpret it, to justify their usage in extreme unction. The prayers of the elders over the sick would be much the same as though the whole Church which they represent should pray [Bengel].

anointing him with oil—The usage which Christ committed to His apostles was afterwards continued with laying on of hands, as a token of the highest faculty of medicine in the Church, just as we find in 1Co 6:2 the Church's highest judicial function. Now that the miraculous gift of healing has been withdrawn for the most part, to use the sign where the reality is wanting would be unmeaning superstition. Compare other apostolic usages now discontinued rightly, 1Co 11:4-15; 16:20. "Let them use oil who can by their prayers obtain recovery for the sick: let those who cannot do this, abstain from using the empty sign" [Whitaker]. Romish extreme unction is administered to those whose life is despaired of, to heal the soul, whereas James' unction was to heal the body. Cardinal Cajetan [Commentary] admits that James cannot refer to extreme unction. Oil in the East, and especially among the Jews (see the Talmud, Jerusalem and Babylon), was much used as a curative agent. It was also a sign of the divine grace. Hence it was an appropriate sign in performing miraculous cures.

in the name of the Lord—by whom alone the miracle was performed: men were but the instruments.

James 5:14 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Prayer of Faith
13Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.…
Cross References
Mark 6:13
They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Mark 16:18
they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

Acts 11:30
This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 28:8
His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.
Treasury of Scripture

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:

for.

Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed …

Acts 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, …

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I you in Crete, that you should set in order …

pray.

1 Kings 17:21 And he stretched himself on the child three times, and cried to the …

2 Kings 4:33 He went in therefore, and shut the door on them two, and prayed to the LORD.

2 Kings 5:11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, …

Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning …

Acts 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever …

anointing.

Mark 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were …

Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, …

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