The Laying on of Hands in the Old and New Testaments
By Dr. Taylor Marshall
In Acts 6:6 we read: “These they set before the Apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them.”

laying on of hands

Catholic tradition identifies this as the first Apostolic ordination – the ordination of seven men to the diaconate.

The laying on of hands wasn’t new in Acts. In the Old Testament, we find the same act in Numbers 27:23: “and he laid his hands upon him and commissioned him as the Lord directed through Moses.”

So why “laying on of hands”? The hands signify the human capacity for work, creative art, and touch. Secondly only to the face, the hands reveal the heart and thoughts of a person. When a high priest, apostle, or bishops lays his hands on someone, it communicates “I am re-creating you. I am touching you. I am passing on something of my own to you.”

For priests and bishops, they should have a devotion to their own hands. For parents, they should use their hands to bless their children daily. For everyone, regardless of state or vocation, recall that there is something importance about your hands.

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