The Bible teaching about miracles

The Bible teaching about Miracles

The Bible teaching about miracles is a very complex and thrilling story. Controversy exists, frauds abound, and maybe the real deal occurs. Some say things like, “It’s a miracle that I got a visa to America.” What do you think? Have you ever seen one?

There are stories of great visions of Jesus being seen in the clouds where the gospel has never been preached, and which leads to people movement conversions. There are claims of people rising from the dead.

There are evangelistic healing and deliverance services where people claim to be healed of everything from sneezes to polio. Some scientists and opponents of Christianity say these occurrences are all baloney, cannot happen, and can be explained by natural causes. Actually, many non-Christian religions claim to do them. Some say they used to happen but don’t anymore. Who is one to believe? 

This is a good place to apply some of the principles of critical thinking. You might want to read that Bible study again to refresh your mind. I will focus here on the big question: What do you mean? What is your definition?

New Testament Definitions

Depending on your definition, miracles never happen, or they happen all day long. Using the Bible as our source of evidence, we see amazing occurrences all over its pages. Here are three New Testament word indicators that will help clarify the issue. 


This word means power or inherent ability. It describes mighty works originating from a supernatural source, and that cannot be produced by natural agents and means. 

An example is, “And even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip; and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed” (Acts 8:13; cf. 19:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 29; Galatians 3:5). 


This word is usually translated as a “sign” of divine authority. Luke uses it in the verse just quoted, and John used the word of Jesus, “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples” (John 20:30).


This word usually follows the word, semeion, and means something strange that evokes marvel or amazement. 

The three words are used together by Peter, “Men of Israel, listen to these words; Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles (dunamis) and wonders (teras) and signs (semeion) which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22). 

A sign appeals to the understanding, wonder to the imagination, and power to the supernatural source. Wonders are used as a divine action nine times in Acts, but also as works of Satan delivered through human agents three times (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). 

Example of Jesus

The Gospel of John contains seven so-called “sign” performed by Jesus. They serve as examples. They were:

•Turning water into wine (2:1-11).

•Healing of the nobleman’s son (4:46-54).

•The healing of the paralytic (5:1-18).

•Feeding of the multitude (6:6-13).

•Walking on water (6:16-21).

•Healing of blindness (9:1-7).

•Bringing Lazarus back from the dead (11:1-45). 

Of course, the greatest and most important wonder of all was Christ’s resurrection from the dead (John 20 and 21). 

Of course, the greatest and most important wonder of all was Christ’s resurrection from the dead (John 20 and 21). 

Other Biblical Examples

The Bible bursts with accounts of supernatural events. Noah and his cargo rode out the great flood (Genesis 6:1 – 9:29). One common world language was split into many at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). 

God told Moses and Aaron to work a miracle before Pharaoh. Aaron threw down his staff, and it became a snake. However, the devil was also in the marvel making business, because his human agents duplicated the sensational event (Exodus 7:8-13). 

Moses split the Red Sea so the children of Israel could pass through (Genesis 14), and the list of astonishing historical events extends copiously throughout both the Old and New Testaments. 

Conclusions to Make

From the data in this study, what can you and I conclude? Several observations I offer.


A very general definition of this supernatural phenomenon is given by Josh McDowell as, “special acts of God in the world.”  A longer definition by Boyce describes them as “an extraordinary act performed, or event brought to pass by God, not through the established laws of nature, nor mere providential control, but by direct action without the use of efficient means.” 

False Wonders

From biblical evidence, scrupulous frauds can amaze people with works of magic. Examples include Simon (Acts 8:9, 11), and the Jewish false prophet, Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:6, 10). Consequently, we can conclude that today there are so-called miracle workers who are frauds. Everything called a sign or wonder is not so. Frankly, it might just be a coincidence – such as praying for a parking spot in a busy city, driving around the block, and finding one. 

Signs of natural Means

I submit to you there are two categories of miracles. This first kind is where God works through secondary causes in accordance with the laws of nature. 

This type works in accordance with the laws of nature. For example, the prediction and completion of the soldiers gambling for the clothes of Jesus on the cross is of this kind (John 19:23, 24; cf. Psalm 22:18). The prophecy and its fulfillment occurred within the natural law unfolding in history, but under the direction and preordained plan of God.  

Miracles of Extraordinary Means

This is the direct action by God using means above the established order of nature. It is supernatural. The resurrection of Christ is an example. Rising from the dead operates outside the normal laws of nature that we live in now. The spiritual rebirth of people is also a direct action by the Holy Spirit upon our spirit Ephesians 1:13; 2:5; John 1:13; 3:5, 6), and cannot be enacted by natural means.

The Ultimate Puzzle

In the final analysis, our whole being, existence, and material universe are a direct, supernatural act of God. The laws of nature were created out of nothing by God (Genesis 1:1). This whole amazing and astonishing life and reality that you and I are part of is beyond definition – and must be a miracle. To God be the glory!

Esmie and I leave you with this magnificent reality. Miracles are real. God exists. It is wonderful to be able to trust Him. May God go with you. 

Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman


1. What do you think about miracles? Do they occur today?

2. How would you know if an unusual wonder is of God and not a coincidence or from the devil?

3. How would you define a miracle? Explain your position from the Bible.

4. Are they important to the Christian Faith (John 20:30, 31). Explain.

5. Should you be cautious about the claims of miracle workers (Acts 8:9-11; 13:6-10; Matthew 24:24)?

6. What does 2 Thessalonians 2:9 teach us about these phenomenons?

7. What do the three words used in this study (signs, wonders, power) tell you? Combine the ideas into your definition.

8. As regards our own personal life, what miracle is the most important to us (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)?

9. Which do you think is more important: witnessing marvelous physical occurrences, or the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)? Explain.

10. What stands out to you the most in this Bible teaching about miracles? Explain.