Patheos answers the question:

What Does the Bible Say About Miracles?

cursing fig tree
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Miracles are wonderful events that are inexplicable from a human perspective, and the Bible is full of them from beginning to end. In many ways, the first miracle is the creation itself (Genesis 1.1). From that point on, according to the Bible, humanity experiences an ongoing engagement with a supernatural reality—the activity of God in the natural world.

The Hebrew scriptures (also known as the Old Testament) describe many supernatural events that change the course of human history. Most people think of a miracle in terms of an unexplainable healing from sickness, but the miracles in the Old Testament are myriad and diverse. One of the best-known miracles in the Old Testament is the parting of the Red Sea, allowing the fleeing Hebrews to walk through it on dry ground (Exodus 14). Many other miracles shaped the experiences of God’s people. Balaam’s donkey spoke to him (Judges 22.21-31); the walls of Jericho fell to a blast by the Israelites’ trumpets (Joshua 6); Elijah called down fire from heaven (1 Kings 18.22-39); the prophet Elisha made iron float (2 Kings 6.1-7); a leper was healed by washing in the Jordan river (2 Kings 5.1-14); Isaiah moved the sun backward (2 Kings 20.9-11); Daniel survived a night in a den with hungry lions (Daniel 6). This is just a small sample of the miraculous stories included in the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, miracles are always associated with Jesus. His birth was miraculous, since he was born to a virgin. During his years of ministry, he became widely known for his healing power and his power over demons (e.g., Mark 1.32). He also multiplied fish and loaves for a crowd of thousands (Matthew 14.15-21), walked on water (John 6.19-21), turned water into wine (John 2.1-11), calmed a storm (Luke 8.22-25), and raised dead people (Matthew 9.18-25; Luke 7.11-15; John 11.1-44). All of these miracles were told as fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies (e.g., Isaiah 29.18-21 and Matthew 11.2-6) or as signs that pointed to the presence of God (Luke 11.20; John 6.26-27). The greatest miracle in the New Testament, and one which serves as the linchpin for everything Christians believe about Jesus, is his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15.12-20).

After the Gospels, there are numerous stories of miracles. The disciples continued Jesus’ healing ministry (e.g., Acts 3.1-10), they encountered angels rescuing them from prison (Acts 12.1-19), they cast out demons (Acts 16.16-18), and they raised people from the dead (Acts 20.7-12). Miracles that took place after Jesus’s death and resurrection were generally used by the apostles to demonstrate the truth and power of God to those who did not yet believe in Christ.

In the modern world, many dismiss Old Testament stories of miracles as myths or, in the case of New Testament miracles, exaggerations designed to enhance Jesus’ role. Believing in a divine being and unseen realities, however, opens the door to an unspeakably vast universe of possibilities, making miracles not only possible but likely. Their purpose is not to entertain or amaze, but to point to the reality of God’s presence in our own experiences.

Read more about Jesus’ miracles here.

3/23/2021 6:32:40 PM
About About Kathleen Mulhern, Ph.D.
Kathleen Mulhern is a writer, editor, historian, speaker, and professor. She teaches courses in world history, European history, and history of Christianity. She has taught at Colorado School of Mines and Regis University, and is currently an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary in the areas of Church History and Spiritual Formation. Kathleen graduated with a B.A. from Wheaton College, earned an M.A. in French Literature from the University of Denver, an M.A. degree in Church History from Denver Seminary, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Colorado.