In the New Testament, a “miracle” refers to a supernatural act of power that had observable and immediate results/effects. We should not expect God Himself to perform miracles or supply humans with miraculous powers today. Why not?(1) It is not God’s will that there be miracles today. In God’s plan, signs, including all spiritual- miraculous gifts, were temporary. “But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away” (1 Corinthians 13:8). Notice again three declarations about those signs: “. . . they will fail . . . they will cease . . . vanish away.” It is clear: the Lord never intended for such spiritual gifts to last indefinitely.

Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge are the three spiritual gifts which the apostle Paul mentions both when he enumerates the miraculous gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) and when he declares the temporary status of those gifts (13:8). Rather than think of the three gifts which are repeated in chapter thirteen (prophecies, tongues, knowledge) as being more important or somehow superior to other gifts, we should look at them as representing/standing for all nine of the gifts that are listed in 12:8-10. That is, what is true about these three (prophecies, tongues, knowledge) is true, in fact, about all nine of the gifts.

Specifically, what Paul says about the duration of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge is true about the duration of all of the spiritual gifts which were supplied by the Holy Spirit in the first century. Here is the conclusion: just as those three gifts were a temporary aspect of God’s plan, so each of the other spiritual gifts was temporary, too.

Looking further in 1 Corinthians 13, in verses nine and ten we see a contrast — a contrast between the partial/incomplete and the perfect/complete. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away” (13:9,10). Taking into account the context, Paul is speaking about temporary and permanent revelation from God. Note that the three gifts which Paul mentions in 13:8 (prophecies, tongues, miraculous knowledge) all are related to receiving revelation from God — revelation that was for the benefit of both the church and those who were still lost outside of the Christ. Those three spiritual gifts (prophecies, tongues, miraculous knowledge) represented a temporary aspect of God’s revealing His will to mankind. In contrast to the “in part”/partial revelation of God (13:9), the expression “that which is perfect” (13:10) has reference to the perfect/complete revelation of God.

(2) We do not need miracles today. Why? Because we have “that which is perfect” — the completed word of God. The role of miraculous activity has been fulfilled. Tongues were for a sign (1 Corinthians 14:22). Signs were used to confirm the word of God that Jesus’ disciples preached, as it is written, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20). Once that word was confirmed in the first century, there was (and is) no need to confirm it again.

Jesus’ promise to His apostles was, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth . . .” (John 16:13). That promise was fulfilled – “all truth” came from the Holy Spirit in the lifetime of the apostles. Since the Spirit revealed all truth in the first century during the days of the apostles, there is no new revelation from God being given today. Because there are no new revelations from the Lord that need to be confirmed, there are no new signs/miracles. Again, spiritual gifts were for the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 14:12,26,31). But, today the word of God is sufficient for the edification of the church, as it can build us up and give us an inheritance among the saved (Acts 20:32). Thus, the spiritual gifts/miracles are not needed today.

(3) God no longer is making available the power to do miracles. Holy Spirit baptism was a first- century-only phenomenon, so it is not taking place today. In addition, there are no true apostles alive who can lay hands on other Christians to pass on miraculous powers to them (Acts 8:14-20).

No genuine miracles are taking place today. God is still all-powerful, but the age of miracles has passed.

— Roger D. Campbell