The words translated "miracle" in the Greek text of...


The words translated "miracle" in the Greek text of the Bible do not mean anything supernatural. They mean sometimes something wonderful, but more commonly simply a sign. The word, for instance, translated "signs" in the passage, "And these signs shall follow them that believe," is the word elsewhere translated "miracle," so that the passage should read, "And these miracles shall follow them that believe," if the word "miracle" is ever a legitimate translation. As a matter of fact, the word "miracle" is of Latin origin, and was adopted at a much later period. Even then it had no supernatural significance, but was simply a term in use among the pagan philosophers.

The Bible use of the word "miracle" is, consequently, not in the least a matter of opinion, and signifies nothing more or less than something wonderful to the human senses, which Christ Jesus made use of as a sign—that is to say, as a demonstration of the truth of his teaching. Faced by the dense materiality of his listeners and their inability to understand the spiritual import of his message, he made use of the miracle, or, to be more accurate, of the sign, to substantiate the spiritual facts he was endeavoring to explain to them. And that, of course, is exactly what he meant in saying that those who believed on him would be able to give the same signs,—to work the miracles he did.

October 30, 1909

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