Question: “What does the Bible say about anointing oil?


Question: “What does the Bible say about anointing oil?”
Answer:
Anointing oil, mentioned 20 times in Scripture, was used in the Old

Testament for pouring on the head of the High Priest and his descendants and
sprinkling the Tabernacle and its furnishings to mark them as holy and set apart
to the Lord (Exodus 25:6; Leviticus 8:30; Numbers 4:16). Three times it is called the “holy,
anointing oil” and the Jews were strictly forbidden from reproducing it for
personal use (Exodus 30:32-33). The recipe for anointing oil is found
in Exodus 30:23-24 and
contained myrrh, cinnamon and other natural ingredients. There is no indication
that the oil or the ingredients had any supernatural power. Rather, the
strictness of the guidelines for creating the oil was a test of the obedience of
the Israelites and a demonstration of the absolute holiness of God.

Only
four New Testament passages refer to the practice of anointing with oil and none
of them offer an explanation for its use. We can draw our conclusions from
context. In Mark 6:13, the disciples
anoint the sick and heal them. In Luke
7:46
, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet as an act of worship. In James
5:14
, the church elders anoint the sick with oil for healing. In Hebrews 1:8-9, God says to

Christ as He returns triumphantly to Heaven, “Your throne, O God, will last for
ever and ever…” and God anoints Jesus “with the oil of
gladness.”

Should Christians use anointing oil today? There is nothing in
Scripture that commands or even suggests that we should use similar oil today,
but neither is there anything to forbid it. Oil is often used as a symbol for
the Holy Spirit in the Bible as in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins
(Matthew 25:1-13). As
such, Christians have the presence of the oil of the Spirit who leads us into
all truth and anoints us continually with His grace and comfort. “But you have
an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth” (1 John
2:20
).

Recommended Resource: The Quest Study Bible.

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