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1 Timothy 5:22 – thoughtful placing of hands

14-06-2024 - Posted by Hans

On no one place hands too quickly, nor yet be participating in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

The placing of hands is a demonstration of unity. Anyone who lays hands on someone physically becomes one with the other. Comparable to “the right hand of fellowship”, as James, Peter and John solemnly gave to Paul (Gal.2:9). It is an expression of agreement.

While “the right hand of fellowship” symbolizes agreement, the idea behind the laying on of hands is primarily that of transference. Jacob placed his right hand on Ephraim and thus transferred the birthright blessing to him (Gen.48:17). Moses laid his hands on Joshua and transferred his leadership to him (Num.27:18-23). Whoever lays hands on someone grants power of attorney. That is why the apostles laid their hands on the deacons (Acts 6:6). And Peter and John laid hands on the believing Samaritans (Acts 8:17) just as Paul did to the twelve disciples in Ephesus (Acts 19:6). Power and authority, like blessing, come by definition from above. Top down. That is why hands are laid on.

Timothy would be selective in laying on hands, i.e. transferring authority. If he did so hastily, he would be in danger of associating himself with the sins of others. It would only damage the purity of his ministry.