In reading the Bible, one of the many discoveries made is the presence of miracles. Both Old and New Testament writers record the fact that miracles were part of the biblical record and each miracle was performed for a specific reason. For the purposes of this paper, only New Testament examples of miracles will be considered in the search for the meaning behind miracles and miracles performed by false prophets will not be considered. In the study of New Testament miracles, it can be seen that their ultimate purpose is to give glory to God through Jesus Christ His Son. This paper will attempt to defend that purpose by examining the definition of a miracle and surveying a number of the miracles found in the New Testament that were performed by Christ, His apostles and other Christians.
Over time, many definitions of a miracle have been proposed and certain key words usually emerge. Supernatural, divine and extraordinary are words that are consistently used in defining a miracle. There are four Greek words (δύναμις, σημεῖον, τέρας, ἔργον) that have been translated as miracle at one time or been translated as sign, wonder, work or power. From these terms, a synthesis can be seen and a definition emerges. A miracle then can be seen as “a unique and extraordinary event awakening wonder (τέρας), wrought by divine power (δύναμις), accomplishing some practical and benevolent work (ἔργον), and authenticating a messenger and his message as from God (σημεῖον).” According to this definition, a divine power (God) interacts in the world so that God’s work is accomplished through God’s agent. This definition begins to delve into the purpose of miracles, which will be discussed next.
Trying to pin a specific purpose on the miracles of the New Testament is not easily accomplished. While there are no widely or wildly differentiating purposes,...