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What is the Gift of Prophecy?

What is prophecy?

As a charismatic I believe that God still speaks today. God speaks through the Bible and the Spirit may emphasise certain verses to us and show us how these apply. This is the beginnings of prophecy.

Christian prophecy should never contradict what the Bible clearly says but it will be more than just someone explaining what the Bible means. It is someone speaking God’s perspective on a particular situation that may include facts that God reveals and even predictions of what God will do.

God may bring ideas to our minds as we focus on him either to be spoken right away or to be meditated on and then spoken at another time.

How should prophecy be worded?

In the Old Testament prophecy was mainly spoken in the first person as if God was actually dictating the message word for word in the prophet’s mind.

Interestingly in the New Testament we see prophecy said as ‘the Holy Spirit says that…’ rather than ‘Thus says the Lord…’ I have heard prophecy today in both formats but I must confess to feeling more comfortable with someone explaining what they feel God might be saying than saying ‘God says…’

This more conversational approach leaves us room to weigh what God is saying. It allows people to take what is good without worrying if they think that one or two phrases were not of God.

Where do we prophesy?

Prophecy may be for each other as we gather together in each other’s homes or in larger gatherings but also it may also be for others outside the church.

It could be that God gives a prophecy that is very relevant to a non-Christian who is visiting our meeting. But it could also be that God speaks to you with something to say to one of your friends or colleagues. If so we could end up prophesying anywhere – in a cafe or in a pub.

I wonder if raising a topic in conversation may prove a more fruitful way to explore what God is saying than saying ‘God told me this…’ especially if you are talking to someone who isn’t a Christian.

Whoever the prophecy is for whether the gathered church or individual friends or colleagues we need to pray for an opportunity to speak it out – and then go for it!

Update

Scott Lencke has started a series of posts over on Prodigal Thought on ‘What is Prophecy?’ Part one is here.

September 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm
1 comment »
  • September 20, 2012 at 9:03 amTim Blake

    Have enjoyed these thoughts very much, and in my experience this notion of prophetic is one of the most powerful, misunderstood and sadly abused gifts of God to His people. Knowing that God is ‘in communication’ with His people, is crucial to our sense of identity, however, I would propose that what it is that is communicated, is ‘sensed’ but that this sensing does not imply the use of the five senses that we operate with in the relation to the physical world. Because it is sensed in this ‘other’ way the transition it makes into a mode of human communication might be in tongues, as a word of knowledge, wisdom, or as a vision or spoken word using the phrase, ‘I believe that God is…’
    An understanding of the prophetic in this way can be very releasing for us as we wait and seek God for understanding of His will. The prophetic in this sense becomes the foundational and wonderfully constant communication stream, existing always in harmony with both the written and incarnated Word. Because this ‘now’ stream of revelation is filtered through human consciousness we know that what ‘comes out the other end of the pipe’ might not be want went in! As such God wonderfully provides His written word and the community of God’s people to ensure that ‘”Together we have the mind of Christ”

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