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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Miracle, in the A. V., represents three Greek words: 1. Semeion, sign, by which a divine power is made known and a divine messenger attested. Matthew 12:38-39; Matthew 16:1; Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; Luke 23:8; John 2:11; John 2:18; John 2:23, etc.; Acts 6:8; 1 Corinthians 1:22. 2. Teras, wonder or portent, with regard to their astounding character. John 4:48; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:43; Acts 7:36; Romans 15:19; usually in connection with "signs." 3. Dunamis, power or powers, mighty deeds, with reference to their effect. Matthew 7:22; Matthew 11:20-21; Matthew 11:23; Luke 10:13; Romans 15:19. A miracle is not, philosophically speaking, a violation of the ordinary laws of nature, nor does it necessarily require a suspension of those laws, as some have imagined; but is either a manifestation of divine power, superior to natural causes, or an increase of the action of some existing law, accomplishing a new result. Such were the miracles which God wrought by the prophets; and those wrought by Christ and by the apostles and disciples in his name. Though miracles are supernatural facts, in one sense they are also natural facts. They belong to a superior order of things, to a superior world; and they are perfectly conformed with the supreme law which governs them. They belong to the vast plan of Jehovah, which contains at once both the natural course of events and these supernatural manifestations. And when, on remarkable occasions, his plans and purposes have required preternatural interposition of his power, it has always been exerted; but, with the unusual occasion, the unusual agency has ceased, and the extraordinary result has no longer occurred. Such interferences are not required in the established course and usual sequences of nature. The miracles of Christ as reported in the gospels present many noticeable features. They were numerous: a multitude more having been performed than are described in detail. John 20:30; John 21:25. They exhibit great variety; they were wrought almost always instantaneously, by a word of power, without the use or auxiliary means, sometimes taking their effect at a distance from the place in which Christ personally was. They were permanent in their results, were subjected at the time to keen investigation, and convinced a hostile people of the truth of them, to such an extent that, though there were persons who concealed or resisted their convictions, very many in consequence attached themselves, to the great detriment of their worldly interests, in several cases with the sacrifice of their lives, to the person and doctrine of this extraordinary Teacher. They were miracles, too, of mercy, intended to relieve human suffering, and to promote the well-being of those on whom or for whom they were wrought. And the power of working miracles was conveyed by our Lord to his followers, was repeatedly exercised by them, and was continued for a while in the church. Acts 19:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29. For list of miracles in the Bible, see Appendix.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Miracle'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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