Why did God give miraculous powers to some of the first-century Christians? You may be aware that when Israel was God’s chosen nation, God often demonstrated by miracles that he was with them. Through Moses, God exercised his awesome power in delivering Israel from Egypt and guiding them through the wilderness into the Promised Land. Regrettably, time and again the Israelites did not respond with faith.
When Jehovah finally rejected Israel and established the Christian congregation, he gave miraculous powers to the apostles and others. For example, the apostles Peter and John cured a man lame from birth, and Paul restored a dead man to life. (Acts 3:2-8; 20:9-11) Miracles they performed helped to establish Christianity in many lands. Why, then, did miracles cease?
The apostle Paul explained by means of an illustration: “When I was a babe, I used to speak as a babe, to think as a babe, to reason as a babe; but now that I have become a man, I have done away with the traits of a babe.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)
Just as parents treat a small child differently from an adult son, so Jehovah’s way of dealing with the Christian congregation changed when it was no longer “a babe.” The apostle Paul explained that such miraculous gifts as the ability to speak in foreign languages or to prophesy would “be done away with.”—1 Corinthians 13:8.