Hinn was born in Jaffa, in 1952, in the then newly established state of Israel to parents born in Palestine with Greek, Palestinian and Armenian heritage. He was raised within the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
Soon after the 1967 Arab–Israeli War ("The Six-Day War"), Hinn's family emigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he attended the Georges Vanier Secondary School. He did not graduate. In his books, Hinn states that his father was the mayor of Jaffa at the time of his birth and that he was socially isolated as a child and was handicapped by a severe stutter, but that he was nonetheless a first-class student. These claims, however, have been disputed by critics of Hinn. As a teenager in Toronto, Hinn converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Pentecostalism, eventually joining a singing troupe made up of young evangelicals. According to a 2004 CBC report on Hinn, his newfound religious devotion during this period became so intense that his family became concerned that he was turning into a religious fanatic. Hinn was taught the Bible and mentored by Dr. Winston I. Nunes of Broadview Faith Temple in Toronto.
He has written that on 21 December 1973, he traveled by charter bus from Toronto to Pittsburgh to attend a "miracle service" conducted by evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman. Although he never met her personally, he often attended her "healing services" and has often cited her as an influence in his life.
On moving to the United States, Hinn traveled to Orlando, Florida, where he founded the Orlando Christian Center in 1983. Eventually, Hinn began claiming that God was using him as a conduit for healings, and began holding healing services in his church. These new "Miracle Crusades" were soon held at large stadiums and auditoriums across the United States and the world, the first nationally televised service being held in Flint, Michigan, in 1989. During the early 1990s, Hinn launched a new daily talk show called This Is Your Day, which to this day airs clips of supposed miracles from Hinn's Miracle Crusades. The program premiered on the Trinity Broadcasting Network of Paul Crouch, who would become one of Hinn's most outspoken defenders and allies. Hinn's ministry began to rapidly grow from there, winning praise as well as criticism from fellow Christian leaders. In 1999, he stepped down as pastor of the Orlando Christian Center, moving his ministry's administrative headquarters to Grapevine, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth, while hosting This Is Your Day from a television studio in Orange County, California, where he now lives with his family. His former church was renamed Faith World Church under the leadership of Clint Brown, who merged his Orlando church with Hinn's.