In reference to the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, I've always believed from the Scriptures that the only people who had these gifts were the apostles and whoever the apostles laid their hands on. Once the apostles died and anyone "whom they laid their hands on" died, then those gifts ceased to exist. After studying with a friend the other day and discussing this question, he brought up a point that I hadn't considered. Ananias clearly laid his hands on Saul to heal him from his blindness (Acts 9:17-18). Since there is no record of any apostle laying hands on Ananias (as is the case with Philip in Acts 6:6), how do you view Ananias? How did he get this ability? From my friend's perspective, Ananias shows that these gifts are for everyone today. -- Lee Boger

I teach that all the miracles in Acts were done either by apostles or in the presence of apostles, or by those on whom the apostles had laid their hands. This would be an example of a miracle done in the presence of an apostle. We simply do not know whether Ananias ever performed a miracle before this time, though it is not out of the question that he had previously met some of the apostles. This is especially likely given the earliness of the date (about 34 AD, just a few years after the church was founded), the proximity to Judea (Damascus is not that far away from Galilee and Israel proper), and the standing of Ananias (he appears to have been a leader, one who may well have worked as a colleague in the apostolic ministry). For more on this, please see my book The Spirit.

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