The power to perform miracles was a gift present in the first century church of Christ. How long was this miraculous phenomenon to abide? Some suggest until the very end of the Christian age. One of the passages used in attempting to establish this idea is 1 Corinthians 1:8 where Paul, addressing the saints in Corinth, declared that God “shall confirm you unto the end, that you may be unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here is the argument some make. Miracles were designed to confirm (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3,4), and since the confirmation was to continue to “the end” (1 Corinthians 1:8), it is obvious that miracles were continue to the end, i.e., until the coming of Christ.
The argument is flawed in several particulars.
- The purpose of miracles was to confirm the truth of the gospel (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3,4) – not people per se; yet this passage speaks of confirming Christians. Obviously the confirmation here suggested is not the same as in these other contexts.
- The passage no more asserts that miracles will continue to the end of time than it argues the Corinthians themselves would continue to live unto the end of time.
- The term “end” (telos) can mean “to the uttermost” (cf. John 13:1), and so may not have reference in this context to time as such.
- Later in this same book Paul contends that supernatural gifts will continue only until “the perfect thing,” i.e., the completion of New Testament revelation, comes (1 Corinthians 13:8ff). The apostle does not contradict himself in 1 Corinthian 1:8 and 13:8ff.