A recent Newsweek poll indicates 84% of Americans say they believe God performs miracles; 48% claim to have experienced or witnessed one. What does the Bible say?


"Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
He that believeth on Me, the works that I do
shall he do also; and greater works than these
shall he do; because I go unto My Father."

John 14:12

The draught of fish.  John 21:5-12

© 1976, 1977, 1998 by Diane S. Dew     Order the complete 6-volume, 850-pg. spiral-bound set of studies, 100 topics.

I.    A miracle is the occurrence of any event apparently contradictory to and unexplainable
      by the laws of science, and usually attributed to God.

       A.   Many signs and wonders occurred in the time of the Old Testament.

              1.  The sun stood still at Joshua's command.
                           Joshua 10:12-14

               2.  Water flowed from a rock when Moses struck it.
                           Exodus 17:5, 7 (Psalms 78:15-16, 20)

               3.   The Red Sea parted so that God's people could cross.
                           Exodus 14:22
                           Hebrews 11:29

                4.   An iron ax floated on water.
                            2 Kings 6:5-6

                5.   The waters were turned to blood.
                            Exodus 7:17

                6.   The dead were raised to life.
                             Hebrews 11:35

                        a.    The son of the widow of Zarephath.
                                      I Kings 17:17-23

                         b.   The Shunammite's son.
                                      2 Kings 4:32-37; 8:1, 5

                          c.   The young man laid in Elisha's sepulcher.
                                      2 Kings 13:21

                   7.   Aaron 's rod blossomed.
                                 Numbers 17:1-9

                   8.   The three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace remained unharmed.
                                 Daniel 3:23-27

                   9.   The widow's cruse of oil and barrel of meal was continually replenished
                         during a time of famine.
                                  I Kings 17:9-16
                                  2 Kings 4:2-7

                 10.   Baalam's ass spoke.
                                  Numbers 22:23-30

                  11.   Jonah, swallowed by a whale, was vomited up alive after three days in its belly.
                                  Jonah 1:17; 2:10

                  12.   Moses' rod became a serpent; his hand became temporarily leprous when he
                          put his hand in his bosom.
                                  Exodus 4:3-4, 30; 7:10,12

                 13.   The Jordan parted when Elijah "smote the waters" with his mantle.
                                  2 Kings 2:8

                 14.   The sun went backwards (so to speak).
                                  2 Kings 20:9-11

                  15.   Manna fell from the sky to feed God's people.
                                   Exodus 16:4-31 (Psalms 78:24, 25)

                  16.  Gideon's fleece became wet and dry according to his request concerning
                          the word of the Lord to him.
                                    Judges 6:3640

                   17.  Elijah pronounced a drought upon the land, "and it rained not on the earth
                          by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the
                          heaven gave rain ... "
                                    I Kings 17:1, 14; 18:41-45
                                    James 5:17-18

       B.   Jesus Himself performed many mighty signs and wonders among the people.
                   John 20:30; 21:25
                   Acts 4:30

              1.  He changed water into wine.
                            John 2:1-11

              2.  He walked on water.
                            Matthew 14:22-33 (Mark 6:42-52; John 6:16-21)

              3.  He took money from the mouth of a fish.
                            Matthew 17:24-27

              4.  He fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes.
                            Matthew 16:8-10

                   a.   The five thousand.
                                  Matthew 14:15-21 (Mark 6:35-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:5-14)

                    b.  The four thousand.
                                  Matthew 15:32-39 (Mark 8:1-9)

               5.  He cursed a fig tree, and it shriveled up.
                            Matthew 21:17-22 (Mark 11:12-14, 20-24)

               6.  He told the storm to cease, and it became silent.
                            Mark 6:45-52

               7.  At His word the dead were raised to life.

                    a.   The widow's son.
                                 Luke 7:11-16

                     b.  Jairus' daughter.
                                  Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26 (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43; Luke 8:41-42, 49-56)

                      c.  Lazarus.
                                  John 11:146; 12:9

               8.   At His command his disciples brought in a draught of fish where there had been none.
                            John 21:5-12

        C.   The early church experienced many miracles as well.
                            Acts 2:43;4:16; 5:12; 14:3
                            Romans 15:19
                            2 Corinthians 12:12

                 1.   Those bitten by poisonous snakes remained unharmed.
                                 Mark 16:18
                                 Luke 10:19
                                 Acts 28:3-6

                  2.   Those imprisoned for the gospel's sake escaped unharmed.
                                  Acts 5:17-25:12:1-17:16:25-40

                  3.   Those upon whom just the shadow of Peter fell were made whole.
                                  Acts 5:15

                  4.   "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that
                        from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons,
                        and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out
                        of them."
                                  Acts 19:11-12

                  5.   The dead were raised to life.

                         a.   Peter raised Dorcas (Tabitha).
                                     Acts 9:36-40

                          b.   Paul raised Eutychus.
                                     Acts 20:9-12

II.   However, it must be recognized that Satan can also perform lying signs
       and wonders. Not everything supernatural is of God.

                Exodus 7:9-11;8:17-19
                Deuteronomy 13:1-5
                Matthew 24:24
                Mark 13:22
                2 Thessalonians 2:9
                Revelation 13:13-14; 16:14; 19:20

III.   God has given to every believer the power to perform the same mighty
        deeds as Jesus Himself did – if we have faith.

                  Matthew 10:1, 8
                  Mark 16:16-18, 20
                  John 14:12

         A.   The Holy Spirit has provided for the gift of miracles in the church.
                            I Corinthians 12:10-11, 28, 29

         B.   The basic element necessary to operate in this realm of ministry is faith.
                            Mark 6:5-6; 11:22-24
                            Hebrews chapter 11
                            Daniel 6:23

         C.    In the last days, power will be given the two witnesses "to shut heaven,
                 that it rain not in the days of their prophecy," and to turn waters
                 "to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will."
                            Revelation 11:1-6

IV.   For what reasons does God generally perform miracles in our midst?

        A.   Miracles serve as a confirmation of a person's ministry or message.

               1.   The minister (person), that he is sent by God.

                            Exodus 4:3-9, 30:7:10, 12
                            Numbers 16:28-35
                            I Samuel 12:17, 18
                            I Kings 17:24
                            Mark 9:39; 16:17-18
                            John 3:2:6:14, 36; 11:42
                            Acts 2:22
                            2 Corinthians 12:12

               2.   The message (word), that it is from God.

                            Exodus 4:3-9, 30; 7:10, 12
                            Judges 6:11-21
                            I Kings 17:24; 18:37-39
                            2 Kings 20:8-11
                            Matthew 11:2-5
                            Mark 16:20
                            John 5:36
                            Acts 2:22; 8:6
                            Hebrews 2:3-4

        K.   In the Old Testament, signs or wonders served as evidence of the one true God.

                            Exodus 7:17
                            Deuteronomy 4:35
                            Joshua 2:11
                            1 Kings 18:24, 37-39
                            2 Kings 5:15, 17
                             Daniel 3:28, 29

     C.  God performs miracles to meet the needs of His people.

                   Exodus 14:22 (the parting of the Red Sea, to save God's people in time of trouble)
                   Exodus 16:4-31 (manna fell from the sky, that God's people might be fed in the wilderness)
                   Exodus  17:5, 7 (water came from a rock, to quench their thirst)
                   I Kings 17:4-7 (ravens fed Elijah during famine)
                   I Kings 17:10-16 (the widow's cruse of oil and barrel of meal never emptied,
                   during time of famine)
                   2 Kings 2:19-22 (the waters were sweetened)
                   2 Kings 4:38, 40-41 with Mark 16:18 (eating of poisonous food not harmful to His people)
                   2 Kings 4:42-44 (100 people fed in famine with a small portion of food)
                   Matthew 16:8-10, etc. (thousands fed with the small amount of food available)
                   John 2:1-11 (water was turned to wine at. a wedding feast)
                   Acts 28:3-6 with Mark 16:18; Luke l0:19 (a poisonous snake bite un harmful to believers)

       D.   Miracles increase our faith.

                   John 2:11, 23; 5:53:7:31; 11:45;20:30-31
                   Numbers 14:11
                   Acts 9:42

        E.   God sends them sometimes as judgment upon the unjust.

               1.   The plagues, etc. – Moses and Pharaoh.
                            Exodus chapters 7-12

                2.  Elijah and the drought of several years.
                            I Kings 17:1, 14, etc.; 18:1, 42-45
                            Luke 4:25-26
                            James 5:17, 18

                 3.  Hailstones sent in battle against the enemy.
                            Joshua l 0:11

                  4.  The sun standing still during battle.
                             Joshua 10:12-14

                  5.  The waters turned to blood; a drought pronounced upon the land
                       – the two witnesses of Revelation.
                             Revelation 11:5-6

          F.  They may simply be symbolic in nature.

                1.   Jonah in the whale three day s and three nights: typified the death
                      and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
                             Jonah 1:17:2:10
                             Matthew 12:40

                2.   Jonah and the gourd withered by a worm typified his lack of pity
                     on the city of Nineveh.
                              Jonah 4 6-11

V.   No matter who is the vessel God uses to bring about a miracle or healing,
       it is God Who is to get the glory for it.

                   2 Chronicles 7:3
                   Matthew _:8; 15:31
                   Mark 2:12
                   Luke 5:25-26; 7:15-16:13 13; 17:15-16; 18:43
                   Acts 4:21; 14:11-15
                   John 2:11; 11:4

     A.   The reaction of the crowds to miracles performed in scripture was one of worship.

                   Exodus 4:30-31
                   2 Chronicles 7:3
                   Matthew 9:8; 14:33; 15:30-31
                   Mark 2:12
                   Luke 5:25-26; 7:15-16; 13:13; 17:15-16:18:43
                   Acts 3:8-9; 4:21

       B.   When Paul healed the cripple at Lystra and the people all cried,
              "The gods are come down to us ... " he rebuked them for thinking it was
              by his own power that it had been done.

                      Acts 14:11-15

       C.  Miracles cause people to recognize who Jesus Christ really is: the Messiah,
             the Son of God.

                      Matthew 11:2-5; 14:33
                      John 6:14
                      Acts 9:34, 35

        D.   They cause people to believe in God.

                      Exodus 4:30-31; 14:31
                      John 2:11, 23; 5:53; 7:31; 10:37-38; 11:45; 20:30-31
                      Acts 9:42; 13:12

         E.   Often they arouse great fear in man for God.

                      Exodus 14:31
                      Joshua 2:9-11; 5:1
                      I Samuel 12:17-18
                      Matthew 14:26
                      Mark 6:49-50
                      Luke 5:26; 7:15-16
                      Revelation 11:11, 13

VI.   People are easily impressed with the spectacular. Scripture says
        that the crowds in Jesus' day "marveled" and were "greatly astonished"
        at the things done in their midst.

                   Matthew 9:8
                   Mark 2:12; 5:42; 6:51
                   Luke 5:9, 26
                   Acts 3:10; 13:12

        A.   Many followed Him because they had seen the miracles He had performed.

                     Luke 5:15; 6:17
                     John 6:2; 12:9

         B.  Others said they would not believe except they saw a sign.

                     John 4:48; 6:30
                     I Corinthians 1:22

         C.  Some seek a sign with the wrong motive: that of tempting God.

                     Mark 8:11
                     Luke 4:12 (Deuteronomy 6:16)

          D.   But we are not to seek a sign (Matthew 12:38-39; 16:4). Scripture says
                 that the signs are to follow us (Mark 16:17), not we the signs.

          E.    Gideon thought God had forsaken His people because of the lack
                 of miracles in their midst (Judges 6:13 "If the Lord be with us ...
                 where be all His miracles?"). We are not to have an over-dependence
                 on the miraculous, that we lose sight of the Lord Himself.

           F.   Nevertheless, some – despite the miracles done in their midst--
                 still refused to repent and believe.

                           Exodus chapters 7:12 (Pharaoh)
                           Matthew 11:20-21 (Chorazin and Bethsaida)

Copyright © 1976, 1977, 1997 by Diane S. Dew


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