The Simple Truth 2-Minute Bible Study

The History of Healing in the Early Church | James 5:14-15

July 26, 2021 Julie Carruth
The Simple Truth 2-Minute Bible Study
The History of Healing in the Early Church | James 5:14-15
Show Notes Transcript

James 5:14-15 (NIV): 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. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

IN TODAY'S BIBLE STUDY

For hundreds of years, the subject of healing has been hotly debated within the church.

In 2-Minutes you will discover:

  • A quick history of healing in the early Church
  • How Jewish traditions affected the use of oils in healings and prayer
  • What William Barclay's Commentary says about healing in the 2nd and 3rd centuries



THIS WEEK ON THE SIMPLE TRUTH BIBLE STUDY PODCAST:

MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2020

The Jew’s tradition of swearing an oath in God's Name (James 5:12)

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2020

Praying and praising at all times (James 5:13)

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2020

The history of healing in the Early Church (an intro to James 5:14-15)

THURSDAY - FRIDAY, AUGUST 27-28, 2020

Calling upon the Elders to pray for you when you're sick. (James 5:14)


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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.

As James brings his letter to a close, he turns his attention to prayer. Yesterday, we discovered that no matter your state of mind, you are to pray and praise all the time. 

James continues with the theme of prayer in verse 14 here in Chapter 5, but now he turns to us asking others to pray for us. He says, “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. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

So, those two verses have been hotly debated for hundreds of years. So, let’s really dive deep into the history of this time, and then we’ll dig deeper into different sections of this verse for the next few episodes. 

So, first, the history. According to William Barclay’s commentary, the early church was known as a healing church. The very first Christians were originally Jewish. And just in case you might not know it Jesus was a Jew. And so many of the Jewish traditions naturally flowed into the 1st Century Church. 

History shows us that when a Jew was sick, they would call on a Rabbi first before they’d even call for the doctor. And this Rabbi would come over and anoint the sick person with oil. Why oil? Oil was widely known during that time as the best of all medicines, and we will learn more about oils on Thursday.  

I love this part of Barclay’s commentary so much that I want to quote it word for word. William Barclay wrote, “Irenaeus, writing far down the second century, tells us that the sick were still healed by having hands laid on them. Tertullian, writing midway through the third century, says that no less a person than the Roman Emperor, Alexander Severus, was healed by anointing at the hands of a Christian called Torpacion and that in his gratitude he kept Torpacion as a guest in his palace until the day of his death.” Pretty interesting, huh?

Barclay also notes that a book about church administration from the 3rd century noted that men with a gift of healing were to be ordained as presbyters. 

Over the next few days, we’re going to look at what word “sick” means, why the sick didn’t just pray for themselves, what the elders' roles were, why oils were used, and so much more. 

Join us by asking your Amazon smart speaker to play bible study OR listen in on your favorite podcasting app.

I’m Julie Carruth, and I’ll see you again tomorrow.