God wants to communicate with His family. It is important for us to actively listen for His voice and experience the variety of ways that He communicates. John 10:26-28; John 16:13; Matthew 4:4; Isaiah 50:4-5; 1 John 2:27; Acts 2:17; Numbers 11:29; 1 Kings 19: 9-13.
Scripture calls us to earnestly desire the gift of prophecy, which is to speak on God’s behalf to strengthen, encourage, and comfort people. We desire to say what the Father is saying to help people grow in their identity and discover their God-given purpose and value. 1 Corinthians 14:1-4; John 12:49; 1 Timothy 4:14-16; Acts 2:17; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; Acts 13:1-3.
Prophecy is not one-way communication. It involves two people hearing from God: the one who gives the prophetic word and the one who receives it. With the Holy Spirit, Scripture, and our community, we judge the spirit and accuracy of the words we give and receive. Holding on to what is good, we let go of what is not. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22; 1 Corinthians 14:29; Luke 9:55; Acts 21:10-22:24; Acts 27: 10, 22-24.
The Bible is the ultimate, authoritative revelation unlike any other; nothing will be added to it. Therefore, prophecy should never contradict properly interpreted Scripture. Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15; Matthew 7:15-20; John 8:31-32; 2 Peter 1:16-21.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
God speaks to us in a variety of ways. We do not make major life decisions solely on the basis of a prophetic word, devoid of other sources of God’s leading and communication, such as prayer, Scripture, counsel from mature leaders, covenant relationships, personal desires, etc. John 10:27-28; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:5-6; Proverbs 24:6; Acts 11.
God is perfect, but He has chosen to partner with imperfect people to build the Kingdom. Like other spiritual gifts, such as teaching, leading, and serving, we do not always prophesy perfectly. We sometimes make mistakes and this is why we need to judge the words. 1 Corinthians 13: 9-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 14:29-33; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Amos 3:7; Acts 15:28.
As with all spiritual gifts, the gift of prophecy is not given to us fully developed. We are responsible to grow and develop our gifts to their full potential by stepping out in faith, taking risks, and partnering with God. 1 Timothy 4:14-16; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Corinthians 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 14:12.
God often speaks to us in the language of our own mind and spirit. Therefore, the voice of the Lord often sounds like us but is smarter than us. We practice to discern His voice with confidence. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16; Psalm 16:7; John 10:14-16, 27; Isaiah 30:21; Acts 16:7-10.
In the Old Testament the prophet is judged, but in the New Testament the prophetic word is judged. The Old Testament expectation that all prophecy should be 100% accurate has been modified under the New Covenant. The New Testament Church is commanded to test everything and hold on to what is good. In the Old Testament, the Spirit was only upon the prophet. Now the Holy Spirit resides in every believer, enabling us to say “You got that wrong,” instead of “You are a false prophet.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 John 4:1; Acts 2:17-18; Deuteronomy 18:18-22.
Giving inaccurate words of edification and encouragement does not make someone a false prophet. In the New Testament, false prophets are largely defined as people who teach wrong doctrine, produce bad fruit, and perform signs and wonders designed to deceive. 2 Peter 2:1-3; Matthew 7:15-23; Matthew 24:24; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 14:3.
Prophecy should always be delivered with humility and love, never for self-promotion or selfish ambition. If we give an inaccurate word or do so with a wrong heart, we take responsibility for our mistake, repent, and reconcile with those affected. Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Corinthians 13:1-2; Colossians 3:13-15.
Prophecy is a three-part process of revelation, interpretation, and application. Just like Scripture, prophecy can be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or poorly applied. 1 Corinthians 14:29-31; Acts 10:9-16; Acts 21:10-22:30; Acts 27:10; Acts 27:22-24.
We do not force prophecy to be fulfilled out of season. Rather, we wait in faith for His timing and His way, co-laboring with God as needed. Genesis 15:2-5; Acts 16:1-2; Acts 21:2; Habakkuk 2:2-3; Hebrews 6:12; 2 Kings 5:10-14; Acts 9:1-19.
There is sometimes a mystery to prophecy and it’s timing. Some prophetic words are beyond anything we’ve ever thought or imagined, and can only be understood in hindsight, so we hold on to them for a later time. Luke 1:31-34; Luke 24:44-45; John 13:7; John 16:12.
We don’t always prophesy perfectly. 1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22.
No one person has full revelation or understanding. Therefore, we should submit revelation for feedback from the Christian community. 1 Corinthians 14:26-30; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 12:7-12.
We are accountable for the prophetic words we give and are committed to growing in accuracy. Matthew 12:36-37; 1 Peter 4:10-11; 1 Corinthians 14:26-30.
Prophetic words are not the only way to know the heart and will of God. Hebrews 8:10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 12:2.
As trusted children, we do not have to check with God on everything we do, like what clothes to wear or what street to walk down. However, He does sometimes have ideas about theses things which can lead us to an adventure. Acts 16:7-9; 1 Corinthians 10:27-31; Mark 11:1-6; Luke 22:8-12.
Prophets and prophecy do not have to look or feel weird to be from God. 1 Corinthians 14:3; 1 Corinthians 14:39-40; 1 Corinthians 14:23-28.
It is still important for us to learn from biblically-sound teachers and to study Scripture. Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Timothy 3:16; Acts 17:11; Matthew 28:18-20.