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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Is the Gift of Prophecy?

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Don Stewart

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In the New Testament the gift of prophecy is near the top of the list of spiritual gifts.

And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets (1 Corinthians 12:28).

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1).

The gift of prophecy is a special ability to speak forth the message of God. A prophet is basically a spokesman for God. He or she delivers the Word of God to people by means of direct revelation. Prophetic utterances can deal with certain individuals, the church, or a larger context. It does not always refer to the future.

In a general sense, a preacher who proclaims the Word of God acts in a prophetic role. He is speaking for God. But prophecy is not the same thing as preaching. Prophecy may involve foretelling something that will happen in the future. The New Testament gives an example of this:

Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:28).

The gift of prophecy gave rise to the office or prophet in the early church. The Apostle Paul spoke of the apostles and prophets as Gods gift to the church:

Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone . . . And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 2:20;4:11).

Not all people with the gift of prophecy held the office of prophet, but those who held the prophetic office had the gift of prophecy. The Bible speaks of both men and women exercising the gift of prophecy:

Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9).

Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthened them (Acts 15:32).

Therefore, we conclude the following about the gift of prophecy:

1. The gift of prophecy is regarded as one of the best gifts.

2. A prophet is a spokesman for God.

3. The gift of prophecy consists of deliverin sage from God which may involve a direct revelation.

4. The gift of prophecy may deal with predicting the future.

5. The office of prophet is the foundation upon which the church has been built.

6. Both men and women may exercise the gift of prophecy.

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