Foundations: Laying on of Hands

Hebrews 6:1-2 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

The next foundation on the list is laying on of hands. Let’s jump into the Scriptures. I have added my notes to them about what is happening.

Acts 8:16-17 (BSB) For the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The people in the verse above had come into salvation through Jesus Christ, but had not received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:17 (Here’s another part of Paul’s conversion story. He is both healed and filled with the Holy Spirit when Ananias lays hands on him.) So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Luke 4:40 (This is talking about Jesus.) While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them.

Acts 28:8 And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. (Notice it was accompanied with prayer.)

Acts 6:6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. (This is describing how they prayed for the apostles to send them out.)

1 Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. (Leaders spoke over him the Lord’s word and laid hands on him, whereas it seems the Holy Spirit brought a new gifting to him and the elders were also maybe commissioning him to the task the Lord had chosen.)

We wish we had more instruction on these foundations. The best we can do with this is look at the Scriptural evidence. The Holy Spirit can come without laying on of hands, such as in Acts 10, but in general, people receive it through the laying on of hands. I received the Holy Spirit without anyone laying hands on me. I just prayed and prayed. And nowadays, there are many people I wouldn’t want to lay hands on me! If you do ask someone to lay hands on you, make sure it’s someone who lives a holy and righteous life! Again, it’s not the touching that accomplishes anything; it’s the faith. But the touch is an act demonstrating the faith.

Lesson Point: God uses the laying on of hands to impart His Spirit.

Challenge Question: Do you have the faith to lay hands on someone so that they might receive the Holy Spirit? If the answer is no, it’s something you could pray about if you know you yourself have had an experience of the filling of the Holy Spirit.