Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: To utter predictions; to make declaration of events to come.
In Scripture, to preach; to instruct in religious doctrines; to interpret or explain Scripture or religious subjects; to exhort.¹
In some circles, prophesy can be a scary word. It might even send a shiver or two up the spine. But should we be leery of prophets and their prophesies?
The foretelling of events to come, in a divinely focused way, is peppered throughout the Bible. It’s found in the New Testament and in the Old as well. The tally runs in the thousands.
Jesus fulfilled many prophesies himself. Isaiah 9:7 promises a savior born of a king in the line of David. It is fulfilled in Matthew 1:1.
The Messiah was prophesied to be born of a virgin in Isaiah 7:14. Both Matthew 1 and Luke 1 describe the fulfillment. Christians today reap the hope this prophesy and its fulfillment brings.
Prophesy is used for building. The words, one set behind another, build a visual. They come together as a tool to build faith in the assembly of believers. In 1 Corinthians, Paul encourages believers to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophesy (verse 1). He goes on to further examine why in verse 3.
But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation. 1 Co. 14:3 WEB
Prophesy is used to build up others. It’s purpose is for their edification – to instruct and build them spiritually.
Prophesy is used in exhortation – to communicate urgent advice or wisdom.
Prophesy is a means of consolation – an avenue of comforting believers.
This instruction comes from Paul to the Corinthian church at a time when disorder and confusion filled the assembly. He came to challenge and encourage order. But Paul never discounted prophesy. In fact, he urged those listening to seek after spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 14:1), including prophesying. It’s a sign for believers (1 Co. 14:22) that, when handled correctly, is sourced by the Holy Spirit, as noted in 1 Cor. 14:33. It’s a gift from God to His people.
But what if prophesies are unfounded, not inspired by God Almighty? It’s possible, and we should be aware. Jeremiah 23:21 offers insight into a situation soaked with ungodly foretelling.
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. Jer. 23:21 KJV
In the end, it’s our relationship with God Almighty, that drawing-close sound of His whisper, that can offer confirmation.
Seventeen years ago my pastor prophesied about a ministry involving me. He said I’d write and teach, speak to the masses. Nearly three years ago I began trodding that very journey. It was fourteen years in the making.
There have been times when I questioned the call. But God always confirmed it.
I thank the Lord for those words my pastor spoke years ago. Pastor’s prophesy didn’t paint the picture. It didn’t create my calling. The words simply offered reassurance of a picture the Painter already had planned.
God used those words to build and comfort me over the years of waiting and even in to the tedious first steps of the calling. What reassurance!
Take another peek at prophesy. Consider Paul. Consider God. Spend sometime drawing close, then make your decision on how to hold prophesy.
Blessings, my friend.Take another peek at prophesy. #Prophesy #WORDNerdWednesday @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet
Kristi Woods is a writer and speaker passionate about seeing women walk deeper with God. She clicks her words of encouragement at http://www.KristiWoods.net regularly and is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions as well as on Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today, ibelieve.com and on various blogs. Kristi, her retired-from-the-military husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle and have now set roots in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi here: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
¹ “prophesy.” Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. 2017. https://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/prophesy (23 February 2017).
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