Acts of the Apostles 19:8-12 NLT
8 Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. 9 But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for the next two years, so that people throughout the province of Asia—both Jews and Greeks—heard the word of the Lord.
11 God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. 12 When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.
13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.
Acts of the Apostles 19:8-17 NLT
Paul spent as much if not more time in the book of Acts, publicly preaching and teaching biblical apologetics as he did performing miracles. This was one of the hallmarks of his ministry, sound biblical preaching. Of course, he also performed some of the most dramatic miracles recorded in the New Testament, like his handkerchief ministry outlined in verse 12.
Oftentimes, when we read about Paul’s ministry work throughout the book of Acts we focus on his ability to perform miracles. No doubt they deserve focus, but so does the reason for why they flowed so powerfully from Paul. I believe as outlined through the stories of Acts, Paul’s unusual power to perform miracles originated in his love for the Word and his desire to share the Word with unbelievers whether they received it or not. Paul was not just a miracle worker, he was the most well versed theologian of his day. He spent many hours boldly preaching to the lost and debating those who would challenge him. Of course, ideas and words are just ideas and words if they don’t produce something. The Word is not a compilation of ideas it’s living, it is the source of all life, it’s also the highest authority in all creation (John I). So as Paul preached the Word, the Word confirmed itself through powerful miracles flowing through Paul's life. If Paul was not preaching the Word there would be no supernatural outflow from his life.
I know for a fact through many experiences, that simple preaching and teaching of the full Bible produces the most powerful outpourings of healing, deliverances, and miracles. Apart from the Word, there is no power or supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit.
I am noticing in a “post-charismatic renewal” world, that many of the folks in our circles possess a strong hunger for the supernatural works of the Spirit, i.e. miracles, healing, deliverance. While having a very marginal desire to know their Bibles. That doesn't work my friends. Yes, when we simply say the name of Jesus we are speaking authority and power. Though at some point if you don’t know the Word you are in danger of misapplying it to the world around you with bad theology. At which the Holy Spirit will not confirm with His supernatural ministry in your life. At some point, like the Seven Sons of Sceva learned first hand… If you are not willing to yield your life to the Word you are not walking in authentic power. Eventually, you will be overcome by the enemy. It is our responsibility as believers to be hungry for the Word, and to allow the Word to permeate and transform every part of our lives. It's from that place of submission to the Word of God that we find the ability to walk in the power of the Word not the other way around. It does not matter what your ministry might look like. Whether you're an evangelist, counselor, inner healing practitioner, pastor or lay-person, your ministry lacks power if it's not built upon the Word of God. The same goes for our personal lives. If your life is not built upon the Word it is lacking power. Often folks will ask “Pastor John, where did you learn how to preach?” My answer is simple and always the same. I read my Bible and tell people what it says as I sense the Holy Spirit is leading me. I have no desire to preach anything but the Word, and I fully trust that the Holy Spirit will confirm what I am preaching with His ministry. If He doesn't confirm my preaching, then it is incumbent on me to re-evaluate what I am preaching. Expecting Holy Spirit power without resting solely on the Word of God is like trying to switch on a lamp that's had its power cord chopped off. I find in various counseling scenarios that most people have a variety of opinions, on what the Bible says, that they are very passionate about. It is rare that those same people would have as much passion for discovering if their opinions are in fact Biblical. In my very humble opinion, Bible illiteracy in the Church is the source of every problem the Church faces.
My prayer is that Jesus, the Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit would raise up another Paul generation in America. Believers who are passionate about devouring the words of their Bibles, and in turn boldly preach the Word to the world around them. I know without a doubt, this would produce an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, miracles, signs and wonders would be as common in our gatherings today as they were in the book of Acts.