Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.

1 Corinthians 14:1

On Tuesdays and Saturdays we are wrestling with what the Bible has to say about “Spiritual gifts.” Paul, in response to a question about Spiritual Gifts, tells the Church to eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.

We should take special note of what came before. Eagerly desiring spiritual gifts can never be separated from the ultimate command to love. Even as the Church desires the spiritual gifts, that desire must derive from and be pursued in love for God and people. We don’t desire them for our own glory or gain.

But what about this especially prophecy bit. What exactly is prophecy and what does it look like? The Bible gives us some help here. Firstly, prophecy was & is nothing less than to speak on behalf of God, therefore true prophecy will always come true. In the Old Testament, prophecy took a few primary forms.

  1. Teaching - God speaking through His prophet to teach them His ways & laws.
  2. Promising - God speaking through His prophet to make promises to God’s people.
  3. Warning - God rebuking His people through the prophet to turn from their sins.
  4. Foretelling - God telling His people what will come to pass in the future.

When you see that list, you can understand why many argue that prophecy is no longer necessary. The Scriptures are sufficient for teaching, the promises of God complete, the warnings clear and the future revealed.

However, perhaps if there is space for prophecy to continue, it’s in the form of 3 & 4. Peter, in Acts 5, warns Ananias & Sapphira of their otherwise private sins. Agabus in Acts 11 foretells a famine that will come on the entire Roman world so that God’s people can be prepared.

Do these kinds of prophecies continue? Possibly. If they do, we can be sure that they a) don’t contradict the Scriptures (why would the Holy Spirit contradict Himself) and b) are for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7) and c) follow the way of love of God and His people (rather than selfish gain).

For Today:
  • Have you heard someone claim to prophecy?
  • Do you believe prophecy continues?
  • If you do, you should eagerly desire to prophecy by asking God for this gift.

Pray: Praise the Father that He is all-knowing, almighty and merciful. Give thanks for Jesus Christ who teaches us, warns us, fulfils God’s promises and tells us the future. Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and others discern wisely what to believe about prophecy.

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