The Greek term “dunamis” appears 120 times in the New Testament. In a broad sense, it signifies “strength, power, or ability.” This word serves as the root for English words like dynamite, dynamo, and dynamic.
In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30), the servants receive wealth according to their “dunamis” or their “ability” to manage money. In Mark 9:1, Jesus declares, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Here, “power” is represented by “dunamis.”
However, “dunamis” isn’t just any power; it often signifies miraculous power or remarkable deeds, as seen in passages like Matthew 7:22, 11:21, 23, Mark 5:30, Luke 5:17, 9:1, 10:13, and Acts 8:13. Additionally, “dunamis” can also refer to “moral power and excellence of soul,” as per Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.
What does Dunamis mean in the Bible?
Dunamis can refer to “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or the power exerted and manifested by a person or thing” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). In Matthew 22:29, Jesus rebukes the Sadducees, saying, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Furthermore, Jesus predicts, “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.
And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). In essence, the Lord possesses inherent power within Himself; dunamis is an integral part of His nature.
As Christians, we don’t live the Christian life through our own strength but through God’s. It is God’s ability that empowers us to achieve anything of value, for apart from Him, we can accomplish nothing (John 15:5). It is His strength that enables us to overcome.
In the Bible, various forms of power are described, and at times, they can become conflated. In the New Testament, the Greek word “dunamis” is one of the most frequently used terms to describe power.
In the world today, various forms of strength and power are at play. Regardless of how powerful, healthy, or robust we may seem, the unpredictability of life frequently underscores our fragility and vulnerability. There are moments when we find ourselves feeling helpless and powerless.
However, for Christians, there is an awareness that a power greater than themselves is available to guide, empower, and fortify them in life. This isn’t a power derived from political influence, worldly riches, or physical health that bestows peace and confidence upon believers. Instead, it’s the cherished strength of divine power and provision that equips Christians for every good deed.
Few scriptures where Dunamis appear in the Bible
The term “dunamis” is used nearly 120 times in the New Testament, spanning from the gospels to John’s vision of the Second Coming of Christ in Revelation.
In the gospels, we witness how the impartation of “dunamis” represents the unique power that Jesus wielded during His ministry. This very power is what He promised and bestowed upon His disciples to equip them for their own ministries and the establishment of His church.
The gospel writers frequently highlight the “dunamis” of Christ in action as He healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead to life. For instance, there’s the account of a woman afflicted by a severe illness who reached out and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe as He moved through the crowd.
Mark recounts that “immediately she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction” (Mark 5:29). In this moment, Jesus sensed that power (dunamis) had flowed from Him (Mark 5:30). By a simple touch of His robe, the woman experienced the healing power and “dunamis” of Christ in her life. She was not the first, and the “dunamis” imparted to Jesus extended beyond the Messiah.
Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Second Timothy 1:7: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
Second Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
Ephesians 3:20–21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Luke 4:36: “All the people were amazed and said to each other, ‘What words these are! With authority and power, he gives orders to impure spirits, and they come out!’”
Hebrews 1:3: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
First Corinthians 1:22–24: “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
Luke 1:35: “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.'”
Second Peter 1:3: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Second Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
During the Last Supper, Jesus assured His disciples that they would one day carry out similar works, and even greater works, after His departure (John 14:12). He also pledged that a time would come when they, too, would receive the empowering “dunamis” of the Holy Spirit.
What is Dunamis power?
“Dunamis” describes a specific kind of power in the biblical context. While the Holy Spirit works within believers to nurture and develop the spiritual fruit mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Galatians 5:22-23), “dunamis” pertains to the power granted to individuals for the performance of extraordinary miracles, signs, and wonders. This includes the capacity for healing, prophecy, and speaking in tongues.
It’s important to note that no Christian can accomplish such remarkable feats through their own strength. Scripture reminds us that Christ’s power (dunamis) finds its perfection in our moments of vulnerability and weakness, making us stronger (2 Corinthians 12:9).
How did the Disciples transform after receiving Dunamis?
The original disciples underwent a radical transformation through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. Over three years, they walked with Him, learned from Him, witnessed His teachings and miracles, and saw the resurrected Savior in person. They were entrusted with the mission to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth and to establish Christ’s church after His ascension.
This was a daunting task, but Jesus had assured His trusted apostles that they wouldn’t be left alone (Matthew 28:20). They were not expected to rely solely on their limited human abilities to advance the kingdom or engage in spiritual warfare.
Before leaving them, Jesus instructed the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they were “clothed with power (dunamis) from on high” (Luke 24:49). There, they would “receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
As promised, the apostles and those with them were anointed with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13). They spoke in tongues, which astounded the Jews in Jerusalem, as they heard the apostles speaking in their own languages. However, speaking in tongues was just one aspect of the power they received.
Shortly after, Peter and John encountered a lame man at the temple, whom they healed. When the witnesses marveled at the miracle, Peter clarified that this power (dunamis) was not of their own making but came from above (Acts 3:12). The apostle Paul later emphasized that signs, wonders, and miracles were distinguishing traits of true apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12).
These vessels, empowered by the Holy Spirit’s dunamis, underwent profound internal transformation. Formerly timid, selfish, and impulsive, the disciples became confident and outspoken spiritual leaders. They were equipped to share the gospel message, perform signs, wonders, and miracles, prophesy, speak in tongues, and discern spirits (1 Corinthians 12). Through the Holy Spirit’s dunamis, they gained insight, wisdom, boldness, and the authority to proclaim the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 4:20).
The power of Christ (dunamis) was perfected in their weaknesses, making them stronger (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
How to receive Dunamis power?
Christians have engaged in centuries-long debates regarding whether biblical “dunamis” and spiritual gifts, particularly the “miraculous” gifts described in the New Testament, are accessible to believers in contemporary times.
Cessationists argue that the type of “dunamis” manifested through miraculous gifts was limited to the prophets and the apostles, who were uniquely appointed to receive divine revelation and lay the foundation of the church. Once this foundation was established, the impartation of “dunamis” was deemed unnecessary. As the apostle Paul wrote, “the church has been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone,” (Ephesians 2:20-22).
Under the cessationist perspective, the teachings of the apostles and prophets contain everything essential for a Christian’s salvation and sanctification. Given that the original apostles were a chosen group who witnessed the resurrected Christ and frequently performed signs and wonders that confirmed their divine calling, cessationists argue that this type of apostle no longer exists today. They also contend that the gifts of prophecy and speaking in tongues ended with the passing of the original apostles, as these gifts were linked to the special revelation that became Scripture.
Many cessationists acknowledge that God can still perform miracles in the world today but assert that He no longer provides or requires the specific power associated with apostleship, prophecy, tongues, healing, and miracles. Therefore, they believe that these powers are not a regular feature of the church today.
Continuationists and charismatics, on the other hand, take the apostles’ writings concerning “dunamis” at face value. They believe that biblical “dunamis” and spiritual gifts are still available to believers and remain as crucial for the edification and encouragement of the Body of Christ as they were in the first century. They encourage believers to earnestly desire such gifts and not quench the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).
The continuationist view emphasizes that Scripture does not indicate that manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power (“dunamis”) were confined to the apostles. Christians of every era, according to the book of Ephesians, share in the gospel mandate and the power needed to fulfill it. They are considered co-inheritors of the same rights, powers, and privileges as the apostles.
It’s important to note that both cessationists and continuationists agree that the Holy Spirit, as the third member of the Trinity, remains active in the world today and is essential for the church’s strength and the spiritual well-being of individual believers. While the debate over the continuation of certain gifts persists, both groups recognize the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and the development of spiritual fruit.
Now the important part if as a believer you are due to receive Dunamis then only way to acquire it is by asking God in prayer and supplication.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. – John 15:7
So do not cease in asking God for the power from above. As a believer in these End times one should be careful in every walk and should definitely require power in order to spread the Gospel.