Clearly this week’s topic is a difficult one considering the aggregate of our cultural landscape. We do not see regular and/or verifiable expressions that may be unequivocally labeled “miraculous”. Mr. Webster simply defines a miracle as “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency (the miracle of rising from the grave).
And so this week we will attempt to wrestle well with this ancient supernatural reality found in Acts 19:8-20. The debates of its veracity are generally strong and opinionated (on both sides). Our attempt – as always – will be to be faithful to both the text and context of this portion of Scripture while comparing and contrasting it to Scripture as a whole.
So, to get us thinking in the direction of the text, let’s ask some hard questions about miracles that pull equally from the text & from our cultural understanding:
1. From a scientific perspective, why are many people skeptical regarding the existence of miracles?
2. From your perspective how have parts of Christianity helped or hurt the perception of miracles?
3. Does the apparent abuse of the miraculous negate its existence? Why or why not?
4. What is happening in the backdrop of this story to give us some context (vv.8-10)?
5. What is your take on v.11? Does God give the power as in “commuting His power to a man” or is He “allowing a man to be the vessel and continuing to be the source of the power the entire time”?
6. How does the answer to #5 affect ones view of the miraculous?
7. Re-visiting #2 again, how has the “modern miracles movement” looked much more like vv.13-16 than not?
8. What role has money and personal kingdom-building played in all of this?
9. And how does the ultimate outcome here speak to #8 in a completely opposite manner (vv.17-20)?
10. How do we disagree charitably without demonozing?
For some extra insights follow the link to this commentary… Acts 19:8-20.
And if you really want to get exhaustive… click HERE to be linked to a thorough listing of miracles in the Bible (though it looks to have been created sometime in the early 1970’s).