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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Various Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Part Two)

Don Stewart :: Does Paul Say That Signs and Wonders Are Part of the Gospel Message?

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Does Paul Say That Signs and Wonders Are Part of the Gospel Message? (The Full Gospel)

The Various Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Part Two) – Question 15

There are some people who say that Christians are to preach the “full gospel.” They contend that this consists of the message of Jesus Christ with miraculous signs following. The key text for this doctrine is found in Romans.

By the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ (Romans 15:19 TNIV).

This verse is used to demonstrate that the gospel that the Apostle Paul preached was the “full gospel.” It was a gospel which included signs and wonders. In addition, some contend that those who preach the message about Jesus without signs and wonders are not really preaching the gospel – they are giving people only a partial message about Jesus.

Fully Preached, Not Full Gospel

However, Paul knows nothing of a “full gospel” – that consists of signs and wonders. The reference to “fully preached” concerns the cities in which Paul preached – it was from Jerusalem to Illyricum. Indeed, it has nothing to do with the substance of what he preached. Paul is saying that wherever he went he preached the good news about Jesus. Reading the verse in its context will make this evident. The Bible says.

Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation (Romans 15:17-20 NIV).

In verse twenty Paul emphasizes that he preached the message of Jesus Christ in every location in which he traveled. This is what this passage is stating.

The Gospel Defined by Paul

Paul defined the gospel, or good news, of Jesus Christ in his first letter to the Corinthians. He explained it this way.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NASB).

The New Living Translation says.

Now let me remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is built on this wonderful message. And it is this Good News that saves you if you firmly believe it—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me—that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NLT).

The gospel is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, was raised from the dead the third day, and then appeared to a number of people. It has nothing to do with signs and wonders.

Summary – Question 15
Does Paul Say That Signs and Wonders Are Part of the Gospel Message? (The Full Gospel)

Often we hear of people proclaiming what is known as the “full gospel.” This term is taken from Paul’s words to the Romans where he said he fully preached the gospel of Jesus Christ with signs and wonders. To many, this verse is understood to mean that the gospel consists of the message of Jesus Christ as well as these attesting signs. Unless miraculous signs follow, the gospel is not fully preached.

However, this is a misreading of the text. Indeed, there is no such thing as a full gospel in the sense of signs and wonders. When the Apostle Paul said that he fully preached the gospel, he was referring to the extent of his preaching – not the content. In other words, everywhere he went the power to work miracles was with him. Yet the miracles were not part of the gospel message.

In fact, the gospel is defined for us in Scripture. It consists of the death of Jesus for the sins of the world, His burial, His resurrection from the dead on the third day, and His appearances to people. The good news about Jesus Christ is not these things plus signs and wonders. Thus, there is no such thing as a “full gospel” in the sense which many people use the term.

Doesn't Scripture Promise That Miraculous Signs Will Follow Those Who Believe? ← Prior Section
What Are the Tests for Assessing Any Present-Day Claims of Miracles? Next Section →
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