Dr. Nash’s Word Study, Entry 1
Dr. Donald A. Nash
Welcome to Word Studies by New Testament and Greek professor, Dr. Donald A. Nash. The articles on this blog were first printed in the monthly issue of The Voice over the 1970’s through the 1980’s. We’re excited to share with you these articles on a monthly basis to enhance your own personal studies or sermon preparation.
The Voice: April 1972
Word Studies by Dr. Donald A. Nash
The miracles of the New Testament are often under attack by liberal scholars. Yet the essence of the Christian faith rests upon two great miracles: the virgin birth and the resurrection of Christ. Once we accept the fact of God there is no reason to deny the possibility of a miracle, we need only to investigate its authenticity.
There are three main words used about miracles of the New Testament in the original language. Each points to a different aspect of the miracles, looks at them from a different light. One is σημεῖον (semeion), which is generally translated “sign.” It pictures a miracle with a message. It makes the miracle the “finger post of God”, as A. T. Robertson calls it. It shows purpose of the miracle. It is to prove the authenticity of the message of Christ, the apostles or the delegated authority performing the deed.
Another word is δύναμις (dunamis), from which comes our word “dynamite.” This word is used of the gospel itself but often describes the deeds that were performed by Christ of a supernatural nature. This word looks at the power behind the miracles as only the power of an omniscient God could have accomplished these marvelous deeds. So this word would indicate the source of the miracle; it comes from almighty God and not man.
A third word is τέρας (teras), generally translated “wonder.” It looks at the effect of the miracle on the viewer. He is amazed by it. This word was often used in common Greek of deeds or magicians who amazed the crowds with their tricks, and so has little ethical content in itself. Therefore, it is never used by itself of the miracles of Christ or the apostles, but always in connection with either sin or power.
So, when Hebrews 2:3 says the message of salvation first spoken by the Lord was confirmed to us by the ones who heard Him by signs, wonders, and miracles, we can see the full import of the way God in His wisdom has testified to the truth of the Christian message by miracles showing us their Purpose, Source and Effect.