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According to believers in modern miracles, what is the biblical basis for expecting modern miraculous / supernatural interventions by God? Are there any passages in Scripture that can justify one's expecting miracles to continue to happen after the apostolic age?

Note 1: I'm not necessarily talking about sign gifts. Belief in sign gifts does not follow (necessarily) from belief in miracles. There are many Cessationists who believe in miracles but lack a belief in the continuation of the sign gifts.

Note 2: By 'miracle' I mean the definition suggested by the 'miracles' tag: Actions of God not explained by normal laws of physics, chemistry, biology, or the natural sciences. If you disagree with this definition and have the sufficient privileges, feel free to edit the tag info for 'miracles'.


To bring some balance to the force, here is the link to the opposite view: What is the biblical basis for NOT expecting miracles (from God at least) after the apostolic age?

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    Not my downvote but I would say you need to define 'miracle'. Would a claim of healed cancer be a 'miracle' or a 'gift of healing' ? Is an immediate release from personal addiction or possession a 'miracle' or is it the result of salvation ? The miracles of Jesus and the apostles demonstrated that the soul is healed by salvation - which is the far greater 'miracle' than the sign.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 28, 2021 at 1:48
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    I just explained that to you. (I refer you to the comment I made above.)
    – Nigel J
    Nov 28, 2021 at 2:29
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator Good introductory article on modern misunderstanding (Hume's fault) on definition of miracle as "violation of the laws of nature" instead of the more Biblical and theological definition as event "whose cause is metaphysically 'above' or 'outside' of nature" which means the event could have been within the laws of nature but simply unexpected. As a result, more events can be classified as miracle but harder to distinguish. Mar 16 at 11:56
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator I think the tag writer, consciously or not, used a broad / ambiguous enough wording that includes Craig Keener's miracles. It says "Actions of God" (so fits Roger Olson's comment of the cause "above"/"outside" nature). It doesn't insist on "violation" but says "not explained" which can include the third degree miracle (see Summa Contra Gentiles Chapter 101. I'll include Chapter 101 in the tag description. Definition is fine, I think. Mar 17 at 20:00
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator I provided extended comments here in one of our chatrooms. Mar 17 at 21:02

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The expectation of and experience of miraculous activity is very often linked, in Scripture, to the presence of belief/faith as regards the person of Jesus Christ.

Matthew and Mark both record a visit that Jesus made to His home country of Nazareth. Both accounts have Jesus teaching in the synagogue there. Both accounts have the people of Nazareth astonished at Jesus' teaching and wondering where the teachings and "mighty works" come from:

And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? - Matthew 13:54

And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? - Mark 6:2

Some of the "mighty works" mentioned in both accounts may have come to the people of Nazareth by hearsay as both accounts indicate that Jesus did not do many "mighty works" in Nazareth; Matthew says Jesus did not many and Mark says He could not do any, except.

Mark does indicate that Jesus healed "a few sick folks" while in Nazareth but makes it somewhat unclear whether such healings are distinct from or constitute "mighty works":

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.

Matthew indicates that Jesus did not do "many" mighty works:

And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

What is clear in both accounts is that the people of Nazareth were offended in or at Him because they could not reconcile his teachings and works with what they understood as His origins:

Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? - Matthew 13:55-56

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. - Mark 6:3

What is also clear, in both accounts, is that the reason Jesus did not or could not perform many "mighty works" in Nazareth was the unbelief of the people there. In Mark Jesus marvelled at their unbelief and in Matthew unbelief is plainly stated as the reason not many "mighty works" were done:

And he marvelled because of their unbelief.

And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Whereas He should have been honored as a prophet because of His teachings and His works, Jesus did not do many "mighty works" in Nazareth because the people there refused to recognize Him as more than a mere man; the son of a carpenter, the son of Mary, sibling to many, and known by them.

But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

This answer is in no way given to suggest that bolstering one's faith or manifesting faith to some degree or in a particular fashion can produce or intensify miracles. It is also not given to suggest that persons who experience no "mighty works" are unsaved or somehow less than those who do. Nor does it necessarily prove that miracles do or do not occur after the apostolic age.

  • There is also significant evidence in Scripture that inordinate focus upon the miraculous is fertile ground for deception by those appearing as "angels of light" and Paul's correction of the Corinthian church shows us that it is also fertile ground for disharmony (to say the least) within the Church.

It does however demonstrate that, during Jesus' ministry on earth, the miraculous works of Jesus were often directly/causally linked to the presence of accurate (not necessarily complete in content) belief/faith in who Jesus Christ is:

And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. - Mark 5:34

I personally know people who have been physically healed through faith and others who have strong faith despite remaining unhealed. Jesus healed many but did not heal everyone who came in contact with Him and I see no biblical basis to require one or the other.

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I think Nigel J has a point regarding the definition of miracles. An obsession with miraculous healings can often overshadow the invisible, but arguably superior healings which apply to the whole person. For example, when Jesus heals the paralytic in Luke 5, he precedes the physical healing with forgiveness of sins, which is for the onlookers arguably the greater miracle.

That said, as a member of a denomination that does not believe that sign gifts have ceased, there are two main passages which are used in support of prayer for miracles today, Isaiah 53:5 (Christ achieved not only forgiveness but healing by his death) and James 5:14-16 (sick believers are instructed to seek prayer for healing). Not all denominations ground healing in Christ's atonement, but the C&MA does. We look at 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 as a relevant, but unexhaustive list of the gifts which the Spirit still bestows on believers as he chooses. We do not distinguish between miracles and sign gifts.

Hermeneutically, we begin with the assumption that there is no biblical support for the cessation of miraculous gifts of the Spirit, and proceed as such to regard all teaching concerning their function as active today. We believe that we are in the 'last days' of Acts 2:17-18, and that 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 refers to the fullness of love at the marriage supper of the lamb, not the completion of the New Testament Canon. On the other hand, cessationists also believe God can and occasionally does still work miracles, so they may pray for healing while not believing in the gift, and trust in John 14:13 that God may listen if it is for his glory.

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I would argue that no where in the bible does it say miracles will cease after the apostles or that miracles only happen with apostles (Old Testament for example). As the bible shows that God performs miracles and it states God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; one can conclude that miracles won't cease.

Miracles (short list-not conclusive)

  • Miracles by Moses Exodus 7-12
  • Jesus water to wine John 2:9

God the same

  • Hebrews 13:8

    8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

  • Malachi 3:6

    6 For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in miracles. This belief can be explicitly found in

2 Nephi 27:23

23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

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There is a biblical basis shown in John chapter 5 as to why some 'expect' miracles, while others do no. The principles shown in that chapter apply today, as they have done for centuries. I put this answer forward to show that it is when people 'expect' God to do miracles that the whole subject can be skewed. If the word 'expect' is removed, being replaced with 'believe', then clarity might come.

Most people found Jesus perplexing; they could not grasp his testimony nor determine the source of his miraculous powers. In John's gospel account, the whole of chapter 5 details their objections to what he was saying and doing, accusing him of being unclear. They were demanding that he spell out clearly who he was, where he was from, and why he was doing and saying so many things that didn't make sense to them. So, Jesus told them straight:

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life... For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believe me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5:39-40 & 46-47)

They found the scriptures about Christ perplexing because they had not searched them to find out about Christ. This meant that, despite all their protestations to the contrary, they had not believed Moses. "Well," pointed out Jesus, "f you don't believe what Moses wrote, you're never going to believe me." And so he left them to it; blind guides leading the blind (Mat. 15:14).

This shows that, in order to understand what the Bible says on this question, we must believe all of it (whether our understanding is clear as yet, or not) and as we delve diligently into it, sincerely seeking to learn about Christ in it, the matter of miracles will become clearer.

Those who have deep reverence for God's written word, will go deeper and deeper into it out of a heartfelt desire to "find" Christ in it, equally in the Old Testament as the New. The miracles of Christ are an essential part of who he is. Christ is the key to understanding the scriptures. To those who have discovered him to be such, the whole of the Bible is the Word of God, including all the miracles in the O.T. and the N.T. Believing them all to be true, we have faith that the God of miracles still does miracles whenever he deigns, but not because we have that faith - because he is sovereign and no-one can stay his hand. When he chooses to do miracles, he does them, whether anybody else has faith in that or not. Notice how Jesus did do some miracles in his local patch? He was not rendered incapable of performing miracles just because the majority were without faith. He chose not to do miracles amongst a thankless people. But that in no way calls into question the continued power of the Lord to do miracles, back then and today.

The biblical basis is not our "expectation" but God's sovereign will, when he chooses to act miraculously. Those with eyes to see will see those miracles for what they are - as glorifying God, as opposed to proving their denominational group right. After all, miracles wrought in the name of Jesus in such groups do not bring salvation to anyone (Matthew 7:15-23) As this preacher of old said:

"Casting out devils is not conversion; the devil must be cast out of the heart, then Christ formed in it, before a man can be converted to the faith of the Son of God." (The Bondchild Brought to the Test, William Huntington, p58 of Law and Grace Contrasted)

And that is the most spectacular miracle of all. It is akin to creating the universe, for a new creation, in Christ, is equally as stupendous and divine an act. That is the basis for Christians believing in continuing miracles, right to today.

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OP: what is the biblical basis for expecting modern miraculous / supernatural interventions by God?

Miracle: Actions of God not explained by normal laws of physics, chemistry, biology, or the natural sciences.

The Bible clearly states the continuation of miracles.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: Acts 2:17

to dream (divinely suggested) dreams

an appearance divinely granted in an ecstasy or dream -source-

The key here is that visions and dreams are not controllable by the person who is having the vision or dream, untill you choose to "wake up". In other words, the source is not the person, but the person can control the flow (by ending it).

Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 1 Cor 14:29

Paul would not suggest this if it was a disappearing possibility. Covet to prophesy, speak with tongues until 70 AD? Until the Bible is completed? Or simply just do it?

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 1 Cor 14:1

Same issue, why instruct us to desire spiritual gifts if they had ceased?

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 1 Cor 12:1

Ignorant? No.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 1 Cor 12:7

So, to answer the OP, there is a Biblical basis for expecting modern miracles.

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The best biblical basis, in my opinion, is all the passages in the Bible that suggest the possibility of miracles and the power of God being available for the Church, the Body of Christ, without expiration date (i.e. nothing is said about AD 70, the completion of the canon, etc.).

John 14:10-14 (ESV)

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Matthew 17:18-20 (ESV)

18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

1 Cor 12:4-11 (ESV)

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

James 5:13-18 (ESV)

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

Acts 1:8 (ESV)

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 4:29-31 (ESV)

29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Romans 15:18-19 (ESV)

18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;

1 Cor 2:4-5 (ESV)

4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Cor 4:19-20 (ESV)

19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.

Micah 3:8 (ESV)

8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the Lord,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression
and to Israel his sin.

Mark 16:17-18 (ESV)

17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

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There is no biblical basis for expecting any miracles, for seeingly hoping on them, but for blindly hoping on them. What we expect, we cannot hope on, because we already see it coming. Actual hope needs the need of hope, so we exactly hope on that which we do not expect.

Romans 8:24-5 :

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they see?

1 Corinthians 14:20 :

Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

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  • According to wordreference.com/synonyms/hope, expect is a synonym of hope. Mar 20 at 17:18
  • That is exactly what Paul points out with seeing hope vs blind hope: seeing hope is expecting, blind hope is not expecting, but hoping anyways. It is this hoping anyways which saves us. Merci though <3 , I made that more clear
    – Ira Paten
    Mar 20 at 17:22
  • seeing hope is expecting - Romans chapter 8 never states that definition of "expecting". Where did you get this definition of "expecting" from? Did you take it from an English dictionary? Can you share the link? Furthermore, Romans chapter 8 has nothing to do with miracles, the context is the second coming of Christ (salvation). Mar 20 at 17:28
  • cambridge lists for expect "to think or believe something will happen" ( dictionary.cambridge.org/de/worterbuch/englisch/expect ) and for hope "to want something to happen or to be true" ( dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/hope ), while wiktionary lists for the Greek word used in the gospel: 1. hope, expectation, belief that something will happen, 2. object of hope, 3.anxiety, boding en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%BC%90%CE%BB%CF%80%CE%AF%CF%82 What "seeing hope" and "not seeing hope" is, we have to interpret, but think it is pretty straightforward in itself
    – Ira Paten
    Mar 20 at 22:21

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