I know that "Christ" or "Messiah" means "anointed or anointed one" and that Jesus commonly has the title of "Christ." One thing I do not recall is an account of Him being anointed. To that end, what is the biblical basis for Jesus' title?

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Jesus of Nazareth was not anointed with the anointing oil which was typically used for the priests of the Levitical priesthood.1 Rather, he was anointed with the Holy Spirit, “the oil of gladness.”

In Psa. 45:6–7, it is written,

6 O’ God, Your throne is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of righteousness. 7 You loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore O’ God, Your God anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

This event was documented in all four of the gospels.2 In addition, in Acts 10:38, it is written,

38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. KJV, 1769

Augustine wrote,3

Who here, however slow he may be, does not recognize Christ whom we preach, and in whom we believe, when hears [that he is] God, whose throne is for ever and ever, and [that he is] anointed by God, as God indeed anoints, not with a visible, but with a spiritual and even intelligible chrism (chrismate)? For who is so ignorant in this religion, or so deaf to its far and wide-spread fame, that he has not known that Christ (Christum) is named from chrism (chrismate), this is, from anointing?

Quis non hic Christum, quem praedicamus et in quem credimus, quamlibet sit tardus, agnoscat, cum audiat Deum, cuius sedes est in saecula saeculorum, et unctum a Deo, utique sicut unguit Deus, non visibili, sed spiritali atque intellegibili chrismate? Quis enim tam rudis est in hac religione vel tam surdus adversus eius famam longe lateque diffusam, ut Christum a chrismate, hoc est ab unctione appellatum esse non noverit?

It is certainly true that Christians are also anointed by God the Father with the Holy Spirit who dwells in them.4 The difference is that the Lord Jesus Christ does not possess the Holy Spirit “from a measure.”5 The Greek word μέτρου, the genitive declension of the noun μέτρον, means a measuring instrument. God the Father did not restrict the quantity of the Holy Spirit given to His Son. Rather, “all the fullness of deity” dwells in the Lord Jesus Christ.6


Sancti Aurelii Augustini Episcopi. De Civitate Dei, Libri XXII. Vol. 2. Lipsiae: Teubneri, 1877.


1 cp. Exo. 29:7
2 Matt. 3:13–17; Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–22; John 1:32–3; also, Luke 4:18 cp. Isa. 61:1
3 De Civitate Dei (“On the City of God”), Book 17, Ch. 16, p. 238
4 1 John 2:27
5 John 3:34: «ἐκ μέτρου»
6 Col. 1:19, 2:9


There is another type of anointing that Jesus undergoes. During the Passion Narrative, coming near to the time of his death, a woman in Bethany performs burial rights, in which she blesses him with nard:

Mark 14.3: While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

  • 1
    Welcome to Christianity.SE, and thanks for taking the site tour. Thanks also for offering an answer here. It might be helpful if you provided a little more of the story to tie it more directly to the question—particularly verse 8, where Jesus says, "she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial." Meanwhile, for more on what this site is all about, please see: How we are different than other sites. Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 21:23

When Jesus was baptized, a dove (the Holy Spirit) descended over him.

And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him

Mark 1:10

Oil is related to the Holy Spirit.

The anointing was made by G-d.


Jesus was anointed at his birth with myrrh was He not (think of the three wise men/magi)? Myrrh is an oil for death and mourning. The Christ was born to die. To die for our sins..

  • Thank you for answering and participating. However, the community here wants answers to give more depth and provided sources. If you can edit that in, that would be great.
    – user3961
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 19:17

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