For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God (Psalm 86:10).

In everyday conversation, “miracle” is often used to describe “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment” (Merriam-Webster). In the Bible, however, a miracle is something only God can do. He made the laws of nature, and only He can make exceptions to them. (Do we even notice how amazing it is that the sun comes up in the morning and daffodils appear in the spring?) Recorded miracles show that God is Creator, powerful, loving, good, holy, but also just. They show the glory of God, that He is the one true God, and that His messengers were speaking truth. 

Throughout the Bible, His people remembered and recounted the great miracles and taught them to their children. 

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! …
Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, … (From Psalm 105)

Creation out of nothing is certainly a miracle! The great flood – another amazing event. God loves, blesses, and is patient, but He is also just. Noah was the only righteous man in a corrupt and violent world. Judgment came.

Some characteristics of biblical miracles:

  • They’re outside the laws of nature. (Think “floating axe head” – 2 Kings 6:5-7.)
  • They can be experienced by the senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell.
  • They happen quickly (The lame walked immediately, for example.)
  • In a miracle of healing, the person may ask to be healed, someone may ask on that person’s behalf, Jesus may have just done it, it may occur at long distance, but always it brings glory to God.
  • They sometimes point to something that will be true in God’s kingdom in heaven. (No sickness; no death …)

Psalms and songs in the Bible praise God for amazing ways He cared for His people. But His miracles were not reserved for the Israelites only. Some Canaanites who saw or heard how His people crossed the Red Sea or crossed the Jordan River believed in Him as the one true God. (Think Rahab.) 

In the New Testament, when people saw Jesus’ miracles, they might have recalled similar miracles from the Old Testament, many from the days of Elijah and Elisha. Miracles such as healings, providing food, and raising the dead. Jesus’ miracles would have shown them that He was the long-awaited Christ. He was God’s Son. 

Not all the memorable people recorded in the Bible experienced miracles (David, Ruth, Nehemiah, for example). Amazing miracles seemed to occur in clusters throughout Scripture—in the days of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, during the life of Jesus, and in the days of Peter, Paul, and the early church. But miracles always point to God. Notice that they often cluster at times of new revelations: the Law; the prophets; the Son of God; the early church.


The Exodus


c. 1446 – 1406 B.C.

Plagues, Exodus; the people led by cloud and light, fed in the Wilderness; Mt. Sinai and the Ten Commandments

Settling the Promised Land


c. 1406 – 1350 B.C.

Conquest of the land

God is in charge of victorious battles.

The Divided Kingdom

Elijah & Elisha

c. 865 – 800 B.C.

Demonstrate that the God of Israel is superior to Baal (and other idols)

Call Israel to return to worshipping God

Includes God’s concern for foreigners

The Babylonian Captivity

Daniel & friends

c. 620 – 540 B.C.

Living as God’s people in a foreign land, God cares for them.

Predictive prophecies

Birth & Life of Jesus

6-4 B.C. – 30 A.D.

Jesus: Born Son of God and Son of Man

Miracles show the kingdom of God arrived through Jesus’ ministry

Death & Resurrection of Jesus

30 A.D.

At His death: the Temple veil was torn from top to bottom, the dead walked, and the sun was dark for three hours.

Seen alive by many; ascended to heaven

Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

30 A.D.

Came in tongues of fire and a sound like a mighty rushing wind (heard and seen); speaking in other tongues

Spread of the Early Church

Peter and Paul

30 – 96 A.D.

The Gospel is preached to both Jews and Gentiles. Some miracles of Peter and Paul are similar; several parallel those of Jesus .