This new box in my New Testament Introduction deals with one of the fascinating and best documented phenomena from early Christianity — that the earliest followers of Jesus were believed to be able to do great miracles, leading to the conversion of outsiders to the new faith.  This notion is recorded already in our earliest sources.  Here is what I say about it from the book of Acts, our first account of the spread of Christianity.


Another Glimpse Into the Past

Box. 17.6  Miraculous Conversions in Acts

We have seen that the earliest Christians spread their faith by telling tales of the great miracles done by both Jesus and his apostles (see Box xxx). We find such miracle stories in our earliest account of the first conversions to the Christian faith, in the book of Acts.  The first episode occurs already in chapter 2, where the Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost, less than two months after Jesus’ death.

When the Jewish crowds hear the Spirit-filled apostles preach in foreign languages they do not know, they are “amazed and perplexed.”  The miracle is followed by …

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