If the Apostle Paul still had the power to heal why would he leave Trophimus sick, while Epaphroditus was also sick to the point of death in Philippians 2:27 and encouraged Timothy to use a little wine for his stomach and frequent ailments (1 Timothy 5:23)?

Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. (2 Timothy 4:20)

  • 1
    Because a wonder-workering saints are not miracle-mills.
    – Lucian
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 19:33

6 Answers 6


The power to heal was present in Paul's ministry as described in the book of Acts

Acts 14:8 NASB

8 At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be [f]made well, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk

Acts 19:11 NASB

11 God was performing extraordinary [e]miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.

aCTS 28:8 nasb

7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.

God does heal but its always according to his will,God may have had other plans.We might never know what was God's purpose in these sicknesses.

  • Collen - I agree that it always according to God's will not ours.
    – user25930
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 10:52
  • I equally agree that it's always according to God's will. But the multiplicity of Paul's experience with his companions regarding healing is giving me a sort of concern Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 15:30

I subscribe to the view that the reason is because the gifts that he was performing in the early days was a "sign to the Jews"; not all spiritual gifts are still in operation today; or, they aren't necessarily "needed." The gift of tongues and the gift of healing has ceased. The keyword here is "gift." This isn't to say that God doesn't or won't heal today, because this is obviously not true, but the "laying on of hands" by a man (as a 'gift') has all but ceased, and yet there are still 'healing teachers' out there in the world today teaching a false gospel, having "healing revivals" that come to nought, etc. (Many of these 'teachers' are a part of the 'Word of Faith' movement, the Properity Gospel crowd, et al, that teach that positive confession is necessary for having what you want or "claim," and they teach that if you do not get healed, or if you get sick or have any sort of malady, this means that you don't "have enough faith." Many in this movement even say shocking claims such as the erroneous idea that being poor is a sin, and that if you are sick, "it's your fault that you're sick." This is Heresy 101 at its best!)

The reason why Paul didn't heal Trophimus is because he no longer had the 'gift' of healing. Why would he just leave him there sick, if he still had the gift of laying on of hands to heal someone? The answer is: He wouldn't have!

The gift of healing by the laying on of hands, etc., was no longer needed, because that particular gift was a gift for a sign to the Jews! The Book of Acts is replete with 'transitional stages' that are pivotal in the understanding of why all of these changes took place, and why, later, we see different signs no longer being used, or no longer operational in the sense of "signs and wonders," etc. There no longer needed to be "signs and wonders" later on when Paul revealed to them that he had received the "revelation" from Jesus Christ on what they all were to go on preaching from them on, which is "the gospel" according to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (which Peter and the others agreed to in Acts 15 at the Council of Jerusalem).

If the Apostle Paul still retained the gift of healing by laying on of hands (or healing, in general), then there is absolutely no way under the sun that he (Paul) would have left any brother sick. In fact, in 1 Timothy 5:23, look what Paul recommended:

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.

In other words, he is suggesting to use "medicine." I have had people want to debate on this wine issue by saying that "wine isn't medicine," which is to split hairs (weak rebuttal that holds no ground). The context is that Paul was suggesting for this brother to use wine to help him with his stomach sickness. If the gift of healing was still in operation, it's unlikely that Paul would have said to use something to merely "help" with your "infirmities." In fact, he would have probably sent a handkerchief or even went to him, personally, if possible, and laid hands on him and healed him instantly. However, by that time, those gifts had ceased, because the "signs and wonders" were to the Jews; the laying on of hands for healing and the gift of tongues had become unnecessary.

The Apostolic Gifts are no longer in operation today: 1) Laying on of hands to heal someone (if this were still the case, then people could walk into nursing homes and hospitals and begin healing people left-and-right, but this doesn't happen. God heals when it's in His will to heal; the difference is that the gift of healing (a man laying on of hands with instant healing) has ceased, and 2) so has the gift of tongues (it's no longer needed, but if it is used, I believe that God will allow it to occur, only when the church is edified, and only when there is an interpreter amidst the assembly! Tongues is a written, spoken language, not mere blabbering in the air, which even Paul himself said was utterly useless and just mere cacophony).

  • Of note: Reference Hebrews 6:2-3 which says: "Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit." Keyword: "IF". Paul is saying that God was PERMITTING them to do certain signs so that the Jews might believe that they were of God. Paul says, in essence: "I will continue to do those signs IF God permit." But, what happened? You find in 2nd Timothy 4:20, etc., that Paul lost the ability to heal people, and so on. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 5:01

The word of God is very clear on every subject. All things are possible to them that believe Mark 9:23. The word believe means to accept, to receive, to take and also to agree. Remember that God is not a man that He should lie. When Jesus said in Mark 16:17-20 that these signs shall follow those who believe. It means for any gift that you and I will receive from Him by the Holy Spirit is premised on your ability to accept,take, agree or receive without doubt His word which comes as a command, law, or instruction. Here is the deal, without faith you cannot receive the word of God. This is because the word of God is living and active. The word of God is a Spirit. The word of God is God. God healed me of heart disease. Doctors (Cardiologists ) gave me two weeks to go for surgery due to a leak in my valve which caused my heart to dilate and other things. My legs were swollen and my body was a mass of pain. I was having shortness of breath and others things like palpitations, light headedness,insomnia and all that. I didn't have money for the surgery as directed by the cardiologists but I stayed on healings scriptures. God healed me completely and perfectly today. I have stayed beyond two weeks, this is the third year and half after the diagnosis. Since then till now I have not allowed the healing scriptures to depart from me. I have hid them in my heart. Proverbs 4:20-23. The word of God is medicine to our flesh (bodies ). This is not to say that medicines are not good or doctors are not helpful. Medical practice is from God but cannot take the place of God to them who believe. Even medical doctors who are saved will tell you they rely on the power of God all the time and will encourage their patients to rely on God Who is the only healer. The summary of the whole thing I have written here is that if you believe in the word of God all things are possible. In believing the word of God, you have to

  • Hello Uche Ogu, welcome to BHSE, glad to have you with us! If you haven't already, please make sure to take our tour, to get yourself familiar with the site and to see how we're a little different than other sites. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour Thanks!
    – sara
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 8:08

The apostle Paul had a variety of Gifts including tongues, prophecy and teaching. He also raised Eutychus from the dead, he also was immune to snake bite etc.

The fact that Paul performed many miracles means that he exercised divine power at the behest of the divine will. He did not act on his own. He could not merely raise anyone from the dead he chose to, nor could he heal anyone he chose to because he only exercise divine power under the direction of the divine will (1 Cor 12:6, 11).

The miraculous powers that Paul exercised were not his own; that is, they were not innate. See Peter and John's comments in Acts 3:12. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit did not want someone healed or raised from the dead, no amount of effort by Paul could do so.

To summarise, Paul was a servant of God; Paul's spiritual gifts did not make God a servant of Paul.


I think sometimes it is wise to not isolate the Gift of Healing when we think about these questions. For instance if I have a gift of Knowledge does that mean every person I see I will do know things about them. How about the Gift of Faith, do we not all have Faith, so how does this work when a person has a Gift of Faith? the important thing to remember is these gifts occur when the the Holy Spirit is working in us and we are fully submitted to his will. If I walk down the street and I get a word of knowledge for someone, it is 1. Because I am submitted and 2. Because his will is to speak to that individual right then. Why wasn't Pauls companion healed that day, I have no clue. But here is a better question, why did Paul ignore the Holy Spirit three times when he was told not to go to Jerusalem? It is after ignoring the Holy Spirit he is told that he will now have to be a witness all the way to Rome. These men and women of God where normal people of God, who made mistakes just like us and didnt do everything perfect.

  • Hello Restlee, welcome to BHSE, so glad to have you here! Have you taken the tour of our site yet? We're a little different than other sites. Thanks. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – sara
    Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 14:32
  • It appears my previous comment has been deleted, no explanation why. Apart from Acts arguably Luke or Paul wrote it and Paul wrote the others - does anyone else say Paul could do miracles? Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 14:44

Every one reads a verse out of context. Mark 16 nobody wants to read who Jesus Christ was addressing the statement too, His eleven disciples 16:14! Jesus was rebuking the Eleven for their hardness of heart and UNBELIEF!!! Scholars say that there’s a difference in the close of Mark but everyone wants the statement or verse to be separated and apply to all! If that’s true then even Gentiles, every believer would have the authority that only Jesus gave Luke 9, Luke 10 the 72.if this is true then the whole world would be different, facts!

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post; instead, provide answers that don't require clarification from the asker. - From Review
    – agarza
    Commented May 14, 2023 at 22:51
  • @Kevin Stamper The topic you bring up has been a point of discussion--and contention--for centuries, and is quite important. However it adds nothing in answering the question at hand. Your Answer ignores the Philippians verse in the question. Stick to the question's topic in order to be a legitimate answerer. Peace
    – ray grant
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 21:11

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