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What is the gift of prophecy?

Quick Answer: What is the gift of prophecy? The gift of prophecy is one of the most misunderstood topics in Christianity. Many believe prophecy is future-telling or speaking secret truths of God. However, Scripture defines the gift of prophecy as God equipping someone to share the truths of the Gospel for the purpose of “edification, exhortation, and consolation” (1 Corinthians 14:3).

Diving Deeper: While there’s a lot of debate surrounding prophecy, 1 Corinthians 14:3 clearly defines the gift of prophecy for us. It says the gift is meant for “edification, exhortation, and consolation.” Edification means to build someone up by speaking truth to them. Exhortation is spurring others on to new thinking and new actions. Consolation is comforting someone in a time of need. What particular words edify, exhort, and console a person? The message of the Gospel itself, of course.

So, prophecy is not someone laying hands on you and predicting your future. Nor is it someone communicating secret truths from God about your life that you’d otherwise miss. Instead, prophecy is a loving brother or sister in Christ applying the amazing truths of the Gospel message to you, in your situation, and for your benefit.

Furthermore, the gift of prophecy does not involve someone mindlessly speaking the thoughts of God, while out of control. No, Paul told the Corinthians the opposite – that “the spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets” (1 Corinthians 14:32). All spiritual gifts are to be expressed in an orderly manner for the benefit of others.

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. What have you been taught about the gift of prophecy?
2. How is New Testament prophecy different from the “predictions” of Old Testament prophecy? (Consider 1 Corinthians 14:3.)
3. Read Revelation 22:19. What implications does this have for those who claim to have new revelation in their prophecies?
4. React to this statement: New Testament prophecy is much like what we might experience with a good Christian counselor.


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