“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:”
King James Version (KJV)
5:14 Having anointed him with oil - This single conspicuous gift, which Christ committed to his apostles, #Mark 6:13|, remained in the church long after the other miraculous gifts were withdrawn. Indeed, it seems to have been designed to remain always; and St. James directs the elders, who were the most, if not the only, gifted men, to administer at. This was the whole process of physic in the Christian church, till it was lost through unbelief. That novel invention among the Romanists, extreme unction, practised not for cure, but where life is despaired of, bears no manner of resemblance to this.
Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you. In the early church, when miraculous gifts were imparted by the laying on of apostolic hands "as a sign to unbelievers" (see 1Co 14:22), one of these was the gift of healing. Let him call for the elders. In most early churches founded by the apostles some one of the elders would have this gift. There is no more reason for the descent of this gift to our times than of any other miraculous power. Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. This passage, then, describes what was peculiar to the early church. The sick were anointed by the elders with oil, a symbol of the Spirit, which effected the healing, hands were laid, and prayer offered. See Mr 6:13 Isa 1:6 Lu 10:34.