What the Bible Teaches about Miracles

What the Bible Teaches about Miracles
August 8, 2021
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Passage: Hebrews
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This morning we are going to be looking at what the Bible teaches about miracles. We'll begin by reading Hebrews chapter 2 verse 4.

  • Hebrews 2:1-4

Here, we're told that the teaching of God is/was confirmed to us by the prophets and the miracles that people were able to do in the first century. 

First, we need to define the term miracle.

What Is a Miracle?

There are three Greek terms in the New Testament that reflect the idea of a "miracle," and there are three contexts in which all three terms are found together. We're going to look at the definition for each of these three terms; miracle, wonder, and signs.

  • Hebrews 2:4
  • Acts 2:22
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:9

The Greek* terms are as follows.

• Miracles = dunamis

- Dunamis is "power, a mighty work."

This word stresses the divine power involved in the miraculous event. It is translated as “miracles.”

• Wonders = teras

- Teras is "a wonder."

It describes the effect produced in those who observe, i.e., amazement is generated in their minds. It is translated as “wonders.”

• Signs = semeion

- Semeion is a "sign."

It indicates that the supernatural event is not an end within itself; rather it points to something else. It is translated as “signs.”

In the case of the miracles performed by Christ and his apostles, the "signs" pointed to the fact that their messages were from God.

  • John 3:2 – The ASV translates this as, signs, while the KJV uses the term miracles, it is from the word, Semeion, so the word, signs is the appropriate translation.

"A miracle is the exercise of the power of God whereby a natural law is temporarily suspended at a particular place for the purpose of establishing Divine Authority..." — Wayne Jackson

Miracles were self-authenticating phenomena that could not be denied reasonably.

  • John 11:47

An example of this is the lame man healed by Peter and John.

  • Acts 4:14-16

Miracles were rationalized superficially by the enemies of truth.

  • Matthew 12:27

A careful study of the nature of the miracles recorded in the New Testament reveals they cannot be explained in any naturalistic way.

They were subject to sense perception and were independent of secondary causes.

Miracles were immediate and complete.

  • Mark 10:52
  • Acts 3:7

They were publicly performed, and no base motives were detected in connection with them.

  • John 6:9-11

Miracles were temporary demonstrations of divine power while the revelatory process was in progress.

  • Mark 16:20
  • Hebrews 2:3-4

Examples of Biblical Miracles

The scriptures give us many examples of miracles, signs, and wonders.

  • John 21:24-25

These are just a few...

From the Old Testament:

  • The Burning Bush - Exodus 3:2
  • The Ten Plagues - Exodus
  • The parting of the Red Sea - Exodus 14:18-22
  • Balaam's Donkey, speaks! - Numbers 22:277-31
  • Elijah Calling Down Fire - 1 Kings 18

From the New Testament

  • The Virgin Birth of Jesus - Luke 1:30-35
  • Jesus turning water into wine - John 2:1-11
  • Apostles speaking in tongues – actual human languages (glossa) which they had not previously studied - Acts 2:1-8
  • Ananias and Saphira struck down - Acts 5:1-11
  • Eutychus raised from the dead by Paul - Acts 20:9-10, 12

The Purpose of Miracles

In New Testament times God’s Word was confirmed by miracles.

  • Mark 16:20
  • Hebrews 2:3-4

“Of special interest in these passages is the term “confirm.” The word denotes evidence that establishes the validity of the divinely given word. The supernatural gifts of the primitive age, therefore, had as their design the establishment of the credibility of Christ and his spokesmen, and so ultimately, the validation of their message, namely, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world!” — Wayne Jackson

  • John 3:2

The apostles' miracles confirmed who had sent them.

  • Acts 3:11-16

Apostolic Miracles

Apostles were able to:

  • Speak with other languages - Acts 2:4
  • Instantly heal the sick - Aeneas in Acts 9:33-34
  • Raised the dead, as with Dorcas - Acts 9:36-42
  • Strike false teachers blind - Act 13:8-11
  • Predict future events - Acts 27:9-10, 41
  • Reveal/confirm unwritten Word – Hebrews 2:3-4
  • Remit Sins - John 20:22-23

Some claim that people today are baptized with the Holy Spirit and thus have the same power as the apostles.

  • Acts 2:1-4

Holy Spirit baptism promised ONLY to the apostles.

  • Acts 1:1-8

If someone today were baptized with the Holy Spirit, then it would stand to reason that they MUST have the same miraculous abilities that the apostles possessed.

What About the Claims of Miracles Today?

Some say that miracles are still being performed today because Christ is the same today as He was then.

  • Hebrews 13:8

This context, however, has nothing to do with miracles – rather it speaks of the unchanging word and doctrine of Christ.

Some say that miracles must continue because Christ promised to be with us to the end of the world. Matthew 28:18-20 Again, this context speaks only of His presence with us – it does not say that His miracles would be with us to the end of the world.

How can we explain CLAIMS of miracles today?

The N.T. gives warnings that we should take heed of. 

  • False prophets - 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12.
  • False teachers - 1 John 4:1

Notice that in modern times...

  • NOT ONCE has the dead been raised.
  • NOT ONCE has the blind been restored.
  • NOT ONCE has a person with only one leg been restored.
  • NOT ONCE has a person with a physical deformity been healed.

The Devil deceives some today.

  • Psychosomatic cases – where people simply believe they have been healed.

A psychosomatic disorder is a disorder of the body that originates in or is aggravated by, the psychic or emotional processes of the individual – i.e., bodily symptoms caused by mental or emotional disturbance. — Webster’s

For example; someone suffering from some sort of mental trauma having lost the ability to walk goes to some “faith healer” and believes that he has been healed and through that belief overcomes the mental illness.

While possible, I would say that the probability that this could happen is VERY small – minuscule! Still, it could not be classified as a miracle.

  • He also deceives by deception, delusion, and fakery.

There have been confirmed cases where “faith healers” have asked people who were otherwise able to walk under their own power to use crutches or wheelchairs and come forward to be “healed.”

  • Others he convinces through hysteria.

People who witness these kinds of deceptions often get “caught up” in emotionalism.

The emotional state of those who witness these “faith healings” becomes so elevated that they will literally believe anything they are told by these “miracle” workers.

The Bible Teaches about the Cessation of Miracles

Miracles, including healings and speaking in unknown tongues, have ceased today. Even as Paul stated they would.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:8-11

When the gospel was fully revealed all miracles were to cease.

  • Ephesians 4:11-13

Gospel has been fully revealed.

  • Jude 1:3

To argue for gifts to continue is to be in direct contradiction to basic Bible truths.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:8

Have you been obedient to the “faith which was once [for all] delivered”, Jude 3,?

The faith that has been set forth in God’s Word. God’s Word, confirmed and established by “signs, wonders, and divers miracles”, (Hebrews 2:4) in the apostolic age. Have you obeyed that “perfect law of liberty” (James .1:25) which will judge us in the last day, (John 12:48)?

If not, then why not submit to Christ in humble obedience today – confess Him, repent of your sins, and be baptized to wash your sins away. 

If you are today a Christian but have become disobedient to Christ – have you considered what the Hebrews writer said in Hebrews 2:1-3?

How can we escape the coming judgment of Christ upon all who have not obeyed or who have become disobedient, if we will not repent and turn back to God?

If we can assist you in coming into the unity of the faith, a faith in Christ alone, please contact us.

Sources used:

Bible Words and Theological Terms Made Easy, by Wayne Jackson
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