So What is “Dunamis”? Acts 1:8
“8) but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”” Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭8‬
So what do we know about the Greek word “dunamis” which is most often translated as “power”? Some of it is still a mystery to me, but let’s see if we can unpack some basic understanding.
First of all, as the above verse indicates, it is closely connected to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He is the source of this power. You will never walk in power apart from a deepening understanding of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, the word “dunamis” itself appears many times in the New Testament. It is translated in the New American Standard Bible in the following ways: ability (4), meaning (1), mightily (1), mighty (1), miracle (2), miracles (17), miraculous powers (3), power (80), Power (3), powers (6), strength (2) and wealth (1). This helps us understand the scope of this word. It is used over 100 times.
Third, it is closely tied to four basic Greek words; dunamai, dunamis, dunamoe, and dunestes. They all relate to a special power or ability that is beyond the scope the natural and is understood as being tied to the power of God. The English word for “dynamite” comes from these Greek root words. Dunamis is by definition connected to the supernatural work of God.
Forth, the word was first applied to Jesus. He was distinguished because “miraculous powers” were at work in Him. (See Matthew 13:54, 14:2 and Mark 6:14) Ten other times in the gospels, the word was used to describe miracles performed by Jesus. Acts 2:22 says; ““Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—” Numerous other times in the gospels it was used for the unique “power” that Jesus manifested.
Finally, as you study the word “dunamis” in the book of Acts and the Epistles, it is used repeatedly for the power born-again and Spirit filled Christians have available. It is therefore a distinguishing characteristic of mature Christians and most often punctuates their walk with Jesus and their gospel witness. (See 1 Corinthians 2:4-3:3… God repeatedly used this text to expose me over the years!)
As you study this subject, you will discover that the apostate church is full of sinful living, loves pleasure, holds to a form of godliness but is void of dunamis power. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-5) You will also discover that in the end times the anti-Christ will come with false power, signs and wonders but will be void of truth. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
‭I see no indication in the New Testament that this “dunamis” power of the Holy Spirit diminishes during the church age. The Holy Spirit being the third Divine person of the Trinity by definition cannot fade in omnipotence. (Divine power) Where and when it is lacking in the Church usually means Gods people are sinful, straying, grieving the Holy Spirit and in need of repentance and revival.
If you are stuck in the rut of wondering why God does not do miracles today, I have to biblically conclude you are asking the wrong question. The right question should be; “Why am I and my church void of “dunamis” power?”
The answer may be two fold. First, you might be religious but lost! It is possible that you are not a born-again Christian. You might attend church, know about Jesus and talk about Jesus, but you have never trusted in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. I have heard countless testimonies like this from people who served God for years but were not “born-again.”
The second problem might be that you are grieving, quenching, avoiding, minimizing, ignoring or willfully ignorant of the Holy Spirit. This describes much of the western church today. It is the root cause of carnal Christianity.
I warned that this study might stretch you and make you uncomfortable. You may need to retrace your steps through this study of spirit/Spirit life and look up every Scripture. If you are not living in “Zoe Life”, the problem is within you and not with God.
You have a choice, you can run from the Holy Spirit and hide behind dysfunctional Christianity, or you can cry out to Jesus and ask Him to guide you into the truth about the filling and power of the Holy Spirit. Your search should be based on diligent study of the Word of God.
This issue nagged me for over two decades. Sure, God was doing some good things and I was growing, but I was very cautious, ignorant and inhibited about the Holy Spirit. Finally, I decided to tackle this void head on. I decided to double down in Scripture study and exposure to what God was doing in the broader body of Christ.
Let me be candidly honest, I’ve met some shallow, fake, sinful and even exploitative people in the “Spirit filled” camp. These people have been a major disappointment. but, I’ve also encountered many deep, godly, biblically grounded and anointed disciples of Jesus who are living out genuine Zoe life. God has them planting in many churches.
So how has this played out in my life? My focus has become a relentless personal pursuit of Jesus Christ through a growing dependency on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
What are the results? I now understand Zoe life and have become much more consistent at walking in the spirit/Spirit. My prayer life has exploded and powerful “God sized” things are happening on many fronts. Most important, Jesus Christ has become my best friend, Savior, Master and Lord.
My only regret is that I wondered in the wilderness far too long before surrendering to God and entering His promised land. The hang up’s were with me and not God. My goal now is to lead others to the living water of the Spirit that I am now constantly drinking from.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global