A Working Definition of Anointed

Mark Virkler's picture

When I was asked in a seminar this week how I defined “anointing,” I was astounded that I couldn’t answer the question with a precise, clear definition. So I admitted that I couldn’t adequately answer the question, and decided on the spot that I would explore Scripture and get a simple, practical, working definition of what it means to “be anointed.” On reflection, I realize that some believe the anointing is shaking or falling down or roaring or shouting. These may all be responses to the anointing, but what exactly is the anointing?

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Let’s explore the New Testament verses containing a form of the word “anoint”

There are sixteen verses in the New Testament containing a from of the word “anoint.” Following are the categories these verses fall into:

A Ministry

  1. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38; 27) 
  2. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God. ( 2 Cor. 1:21) 
  3. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. (1 Jn. 2:20, 27) 


  1. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (Jas. 5:14) 
  2. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. (Mk. 6:13) 
  3. He answered, "The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went away and washed, and I received sight." (Jn. 9:11) 
  4. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. (Rev 3:18) 

Other Uses

  • Personal Hygiene: Matt. 6:17; Mk. 14:3-8; Lk. 7:38, 46; Jn. 11:2 and 12:3
  • Preparation for burial: Mk. 14:3-8; Jn. 12:3 (her act had both an immediate and a prophetic meaning); Mk. 16:1

Anointing Defined

  • Strong's: The idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, that is, (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service
  • Thayer's: Consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing him with the necessary powers for its administration and enduing Christians with the gifts of the Holy Spirit

    A working definition of anointed – “Empowered by the Spirit to fullfill God’s purposes”

    Jesus was anointed because He always followed the Spirit's leading (Jn. 8:2; 5:19,20,30).
    Anointed - our outer shell of self-reliance is broken so the life of the Holy Spirit can pour forth

As we have regular contact with the Holy Spirit and say “yes” to His leading, we have rubbed into us the wisdom, power, passion and fragrance of Almighty God. People feel and sense God when they come into our presence. Peace, joy, power, divine creativity, healing, miracles and deliverance are constantly being expressed. It is similar to what happens in a healthy marriage. As a couple grows in unity through daily touching and harmonizing, they take on one another’s expressions. We even say, “They begin to look like one another.” When anointed, we look like God (2 Cor. 3:18).

Anointings begin at birth, are cultivated and expressed

We are called from our mother’s womb (Isa. 49:1) for the work God has ordained us to. Each of us is born with a divine gifting, passion and skills which uniquely equip us for the work God has called us to do. We grow in wisdom and intimacy with the Holy Spirit and this causes the Spirit's anointing to be released in an ever greater measure throughout our lives.

There is a “rubbing in” of divine energy which comes through our continual touching of the Lord. Each encounter changes us. These are to be daily encounters as they were in the Garden of Eden. Our obedient response of “Yes, Lord” to the things He is asking of us speeds the way to the full release of God’s anointing in our lives.

I think of Oral Roberts who had a special anointing to heal goiters. John Wimber had an anointing to heal the sick. Reinhard Bonnke had an anointing to evangelize through massive crusades. Peter Daniels has an anointing to create and release wealth into the kingdom of God. My anointing is to teach people to hear God’s voice. My wife’s anointing is to create life-transforming college-level course syllabi. I know people who have the anointing to be peacemakers. Some have the anointing to create witty inventions. Every parent needs God’s anointing to raise children. Some have an anointing for gardening and growing things. Other anointings include: anointing for pastoring, preaching, teaching, evangelizing, creating, leadership, entrepreneurship, craftsmanship (any area), healings (any area), miracles, releasing the nine manifestation and nine fruit of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-11; Gal. 5:22-25).

The variety of anointings, I suspect, is endless. Every work God calls an individual to do is an area they are to release the anointing of the Holy Spirit into. As we take God’s voice into these areas, we reap the fruits of living an anointed lifestyle, which are multiplied blessings (Deut. 28:1-14).

Discover Your Anointing

Life is fulfilling when we find our place in God and release His life to others. So to discover this, ask the following:

  1. Lord, what are the natural giftings You created me with?
  2. Lord, what are the passions You have placed in my heart?
  3. Lord, what specialized skills have you guided me in developing?
  4. Lord, what anointed ministry would You have me release now?

Additional Resources

  1. Increasing the Anointing
  2. Growing in the Healing Anointing
  3. Step into the Anointing
  4. Lord, Speak to Me Concerning the Anointing in My Life
  5. Anointed One - Journaling
  6. Defining Spirit-Anointed Teachers and Spirit-Anointed Teaching
  7. Spirit-Anointed Business Journal
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