Anoint, Anointing - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Anoint, Anointing

[ A-1,Verb,G218, aleipho ]
is a general term used for an anointing" of any kind, whether of physical refreshment after washing, e.g., in the Sept. of Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20; Daniel 10:3; Micah 6:15; in the NT, Matthew 6:17; Luke 7:38, Luke 7:46; John 11:2; John 12:3; or of the sick, Mark 6:13; James 5:14; or a dead body, Mark 16:1. The material used was either oil, or ointment, as in Luke 7:38, Luke 7:46. In the Sept. it is also used of "anointing" a pillar, Genesis 31:13, or captives, 2 Chronicles 28:15, or of daubing a wall with mortar, Ezekiel 13:10-Ezekiel 13:12, Ezekiel 13:14-Ezekiel 13:15; and, in the sacred sense, of "anointing" priests, in Exodus 40:15 (twice), and Numbers 3:3.

[ A-2,Verb,G5548, chrio ]
is more limited in its use than No. 1; it is confined to "sacred and symbolical anointings;" of Christ as the "Anointed" of God, Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; Acts 10:38, and Hebrews 1:9, where it is used metaphorically in connection with "the oil of gladness." The title Christ signifies "The Anointed One," The word (Christos) is rendered "(His) Anointed" in Acts 4:26, RV. Once it is said of believers, 2 Corinthians 1:21. Chrio is very frequent in the Sept., and is used of kings, 1 Samuel 10:1, and priests, Exodus 28:41, and prophets, 1 Kings 19:16. Among the Greeks it was used in other senses than the ceremonial, but in the Scriptures it is not found in connection with secular matters.

Note: The distinction referred to by Trench (Syn. xxxviii), that aleipho is the mundane and profane, chrio, the sacred and religious word, is not borne out by evidence. In a papyrus document chrisis is used of "a lotion for a sick horse" (Moulton and Milligan, Vocab. of Greek Test).

[ A-3,Verb,G1472, enchrio ]
primarily, "to rub in," hence, "to besmear, to anoint," is used metaphorically in the command to the church in Laodicea to "anoint" their eyes with eyesalve, Revelation 3:18. In the Sept., Jeremiah 4:30, it is used of the "anointing" of the eyes with a view to beautifying them.

[ A-4,Verb,G2025, epichrio ]
primarily, "to rub on" (epi, "upon"), is used of the blind man whose eyes Christ "anointed," and indicates the manner in which the "anointing" was done, John 9:6, John 9:11.

[ A-5,Verb,G3462, murizo ]
is used of "anointing" the body for burial, in Mark 14:8.

[ B-1,Noun,G5545, chrisma ]
the corresponding noun to No. 2, above, signifies "an unguent, or an anointing." It was prepared from oil and aromatic herbs. It is used only metaphorically in the NT; by metonymy, of the Holy Spirit, 1 John 2:20, 1 John 2:27, twice. The RV translates it "anointing" in all three places, instead of the AV "unction" and "anointing."

That believers have "an anointing from the Holy One" indicates that this anointing renders them holy, separating them to God. The passage teaches that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the all-efficient means of enabling believers to possess a knowledge of the truth. In the Sept., it is used of the oil for "anointing" the high priest, e.g., Exodus 29:7, lit., "Thou shalt take of the oil of the anointing." In Exodus 30:25, etc., it is spoken of as "a holy anointing oil." In Daniel 9:26 chrisma stands for the "anointed" one, "Christ," the noun standing by metonymy for the person Himself, as for the Holy Spirit in 1 John 2. See UNCTION.


(1) Aleimma, akin to A, No. 1 (not in the NT), occurs three times in the Sept., Exodus 30:31, of the "anointing" of the priests; Isaiah 61:3, metaphorically, of the oil of joy; Daniel 10:3, of physical refreshment.

(2) Muron, a word akin to A, No. 5, denotes "ointment." The distinction between this and elaion, "oil," is observable in Christ's reproof of the Pharisee who, while desiring Him to eat with him, failed in the ordinary marks of courtesy; "My head with oil (elaion) thou didst not anoint, but she hath anointed My feet with ointment" (muron), Luke 7:46.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words