3. WHAT THE SCRIPTURES TEACH ABOUT THE GIFT OF PROPHECY
A. For Speaking Supernaturally To Men (1 Cor 14:3)
Conveying the mind of the Spirit directly to the Church, resulting in edification, exhortation and comfort.
B. Prophecy Is Superior To Tongues And Interpretation Because It Is Instantly Intelligible
In a public assembly, the gift of tongues requires an interpreter, but prophecy does not. With prophecy there is also no danger of a message in tongues occurring without an accompanying interpretation, which is unscriptural.
C. Prophecy Convinces Unbelievers (the unlearned or uninitiated) (1 Cor 14:24, 25).
The ‘unlearned’ are those who are ignorant of the truth and the teaching and worship of the Church.
Through the operation of prophecy they will …
- Be convinced of all.
- Be judged of all.
- Have the secrets of their hearts made manifest.
- Fall down before God and surrender in humility.
- Come to worship God.
- Acknowledge that God is among you of a truth.
D. Prophecy Provides Threefold Ministry To The Church (1 Cor 14:3)
- Oikidome – “Edification” is a combination of two Greek words: Oikos (house), and dome (a form of the Greek word for ‘to build’). Therefore, the first of the threefold ministry of this gift is “to help build the Lord’s house” (the Church). The use of this word indicates prophecy aids spiritual growth. The function of this, as with all spiritual gifts, is distinct but complementary to the written Word.
- Parakleesis, translated “exhortation”, means a ‘calling near’. Its use here has the sense of a persuasive discourse, a stirring address, instructive, admonitory, consolatory, or powerful discourse. The exhortation stimulates believers to achieve the height of the theme of the prophecy. It is also significant that the word “Comforter,” referring to the Holy Spirit, is parakleetos, based on exactly the same verb as parakleesis .
- Paramuthia, translated “comfort”, means to speak kindly or soothingly to someone. Prophecy should have the element in it which speaks in order to soothe and pacify, by speaking persuasively and tenderly.
- Prophecy is usually all three of these functions expressed in one message.
The Church today is desperately in need of God given, properly controlled prophecy. Together with the anointed preaching of the Word, it will probably do more than anything else to bring revival blessing and power to the Church.
E. Prophecy Functions So That Believers May Learn (1 Cor 14:31)
This does not refer to doctrine which is ministered from the Word through a teacher rather than a prophet. It functions rather that the believers may learn spiritual truths and things for their edification, comfort and exhortation. Such truth must be tested by the written Word before being digested.
F. We Are To Desire This Gift And Covet It (1 Cor.14:1,39).
G. The Person Operating The Gift Is Responsible For Its Use Or Misuse (1 Cor 14:32)
Prophecy is not an uncontrolled utterance. Rather it properly functions under the prophet’s authority. The prophet, not God, is responsible for any disorderly misuse of the gift. All prophecy is suspect unless it has been tested and approved by acknowledged prophets, otherwise it would not have to be submitted to the test. Some persons prophesy in the first person (“I, the Lord, speak unto you …”) unconsciously trying to shift the responsibility of the utterance 100% to God. It is wise to avoid this practice, since prophetic utterance, like the other gifts, is a cooperative effort between God and the prophet, but under the prophet’s control.