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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Rules Does the New Testament Give for Prophesying at a Worship Service?

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Don Stewart

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The Apostle Paul set down rules regarding prophesying at a worship service. He made it clear that these were rules set down by God.

If anyone things himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37).


The first rule states that the prophet must exercise self-control. Those who give prophetic utterances are not to act with uncontrolled frenzy:

But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control (Galatians 5:22,23).

When the Spirit of God is working through one who prophesies, he will exercise self-restraint. Therefore, anyone who gets in an uncontrollable state when prophesying is not being led by the Spirit of God.

Limited Numbers

The second rule states that prophecies should be limited to two or three per meeting. "Let two or three prophets speak" (1 Corinthians 14:29).

Judged By Others

A third rule says the prophecies are to be judged by others in the assembly. The New Testament does not encourage believers to blindly follow anyone who claims to prophesy in the name of the Lord. When a prophet speaks, said the Apostle Paul, "Let the others judge" (1 Corinthians 14:29).


Most important, the prophecies must be consistent with what God has already revealed. If a prophet brings forth a message that contradicts what the Scripture says, then we can be assured that the prophecy is not from God.

The Bible gives the following rules regarding prophetic utterances:

1. The prophet will be in control of his senses. He will not be in an uncontrolled state.

2. Prophecies are limited to two or three per meeting.

3. Prophecies are to be judged by others.

4. Any prophetic message given is to be in conformity with what God has already revealed.

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