About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
- James 5:13 - 17
My following comments are
in response to the following questions.
we have some expectation of healing from James 5:13-16?
“sick” mean physical sickness or spiritual sickness?
spiritual, is it: unbelief, wicked acts, misunderstanding, or error?
physical, is it: illness due to germs (e.g. flu, measles, HIV), illness
due to poisoning, illness due to injury, malfunction due to
malformation, malfunction due to deterioration?
we should have an expectation of healing, why are we not seeing it
Are the people who we call elders really the “elders” as
described in these verses?
Do these people understand how to offer prayer in faith?
The passage seems, in English translations, to make a distinction
between physical illness and sin. If the meaning is as it appears, the
believer is guaranteed healing, when in right relationship in the body.
believe the sickness in James 5:14 is physical sickness.
The Greek word "astheneo" suggest to have little, or,
to be without physical strength. Why the person might be sick is not
stated in this passage. Some
might suggest that the sickness is due to sin since in verses 15 and 16
speak of being forgiven of sin when a person is healed of a sickness.
I'm not convinced that James is speaking of sickness due to sin
because of that statement. He
might well have had Jesus statement in mind when He said something to
the effect, "what's the difference between saying you are healed
and your sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:2 and 5)."
In one sense of the word, all sickness is due to original sin
him call" is an aorist, middle deponent, imperative, Greek verb.
Aorist means a successful, one time, action.
In this case, the one calling the elders for the prayer of
healing should expect the elders to come and pray for him.
Middle voice means the subject of a sentence is receiving the
action. In this case, the
one calling for the elders to pray is receiving the action of prayer.
Imperative suggests a command. In this case, it's a decisive
action on the part of the one calling for prayer.
The verb "should call" suggests to me that the sick one
has an expectation of healing at some point after being prayed for by
says the elders will anoint the sick person with oil.
James' Jewishness is showing through here.
Anointing with oil is an Old Testament practice.
We know that James did not forsake Old Testament style practices
to the same extent as Paul. Paul
gave no such instruction for praying for the sick.
the word "elders" is plural, not singular.
The sick person is not calling on his pastor for prayer.
He's calling on elders to pray for him.
This opens up the whole discussion concerning what New Testament
elders are. I would suggest
that many, and maybe most, pastors in the western world church, are not
Biblical based elders. What
James had in mind concerning elders may be hard to find today. That
being said, when I was healed of Diabetes, one pastor anointed me with
oil, while others laid hands on me during the prayer.
prayer of healing is made "in the name of the Lord", James
says. This is important.
In the name of the Lord means the elders who are praying for the
sick person is acting on the behalf of Jesus.
They are not acting on the behalf of themselves, the church, or,
the one asking for prayer. Acting
on the behalf of Jesus might well suggest, as old time Evangelicals used
to say, "the will of God".
That is to say, if it is God's will, the sick person will be
healed. I don't think we
should rule this thought out as those of the hyper faith persuasion do.
prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well (NIV) " or,
"the prayer of faith (trust in Jesus) will heal (Greek sozo -
future, active, indicative) the sick.
The verb tense suggest an expectation of healing.
The future tense might suggest a healing, but possibly, not at
the same time the prayer is offered.
I'm sure some will debate this point, but we are talking about
the future tense. The future
might be in respect to the time when prayer was requested, or, the
future tense might be in respect to the time when the prayer is offered
to the Lord.
the time of prayer, or, possibly the time of healing, sins will be
forgiven, that is, "if" he has sinned, as seen in the NIV.
confess your sins …" Confess
is translated from the Greek verb "exomologeo", a present,
middle, imperative, verb, meaning, the confession is a decisive action
in the present tense. There's
no beating around the bush about the confession of sin. The
word "sin" is translated from the Greek word
"paraptoma"; a blunder, a lapse in judgment, or a false step.
Whether James is thinking of outright defiance of God or a simple
blunder needs more consideration.
you confess your sins or blunders to "one another", not
necessarily to the elders, "you may be healed" - Greek; "aiomai"
(aorist, passive, subjective) - to heal, is used spiritually,
figuratively, and physically in the New Testament.
Aorist, passive, subjunctive, means the healing is
"probable" at some particular time, and as earlier stated,
maybe not at the time of prayer.
that the prayer of "a righteous man" is powerful.
An unrighteous man's prayer, elder in this case, is not powerful.
believe I can safely say according to this passage that if a sick person
calls legitimate elders, and if the elders are acting in God's will, the
sick person can expect healing as some point, but not necessarily at the
time of prayer. All this
being said, these 3 verses must be considered in light of every other
Biblical passage concerning healing.
For example, 1 Peter 3:7 says that if a husband does not treat
his wife properly, it may hinder his prayers. So, I suggest that if such
a man calls the elders for prayer and if he is not treating his wife
properly, he should have no expectation of healing.
simple fact as I see it is that the Bible does not teach any one clear
cut way in which we can obtain physical healing from Jesus.
I've personally tried every way in which people were healed in
the Bible, from fasting, praying in faith, calling on elders, casting
out demons, and more, and, I'm still not healed.
In the final analysis I trust Jesus whether I'm healed or not.
Although hyper faith folk call that lack of faith, I call it real