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The Lifting Up of Hands in the Bible and in the Church

John T. Willis
Professor of Bible
Abilene Christian University

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The expression “lifting up the hands [palms]” in the Bible has at least ten different connotations depending on the context. In secular settings, it may mean “to do something; to perform an action,” “to be hostile toward, to triumph over,” “to make an oath, to swear,” and “to summon.” In sacred settings, it may signify “to praise,” “to show need and dependence,” “to entreat,” “to bless,” “to confess,” and “to claim consistency of profession and daily living.” Early Church Fathers, Reformers, and other ecclesiastical leaders have recognized the significance of this nonverbal communication.

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Volume 24 Issue 2

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VOLUME 24, No. 2
Fall 2021



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