The gift of prophecy today

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”   (1-Corinthians 13:2)

Prophecy in the Bible means two things:  One, it means foretelling. Two, it means forth telling. When Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth about the gift of prophecy, at that point our Bible of sixty six books was not yet complete.

Today we do not have the gift of prophecy in the sense of foretelling but what we have is the forth telling which is God’s written, infallible and unchangeable Word.  The apostle Peter writes “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2-Peter 1:19 AV)

Peter did not dwell on his past personal experiences. But he goes on to say that “We have also a more sure word of prophecy…” This he wrote about the written Word of God.

What about “the gift of knowledge” that we read of in 1-Corinthians13:2?  What does God’s Word have to teach us? Paul had already written in 8:1, “Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.”

We observe a few things from this:

  1. Paul says we all have knowledge: what knowledge? Knowledge in this context is that the idols are nothing. Meats offered to idols ended up being sold in market places. Some mature Christians had no problem to buy from the market places and eat it. They had knowledge that the idols are nothing. The God of the Bible is the true and Living God. This was the right knowledge. But the point Paul makes here is what we read next.
  2. But not all have the same knowledge, we read in verse 7, “However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.” Then in verse 9 Paul gives warning, “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.”
  3. One must learn that “mere head knowledge without the love of Christ not only leads our minds to get big headed but also that this knowledge does not build up others in the body of Christ.”  Love edifies or builds up. Please note the word Paul uses in the original Greek “to edify” is from where we got the word “Academy” in English language. The word is, “οἰκοδομή” which means “to build up” The purpose for which the Holy Spirit distributed these gifts were to build up the church of Christ. It was not for them to boast as to how gifted they were.
  4. In fact, true knowledge of God in Christ Crucified leads us to show the true state of our sinful nature. It leads us to glorify our God and promote the honour of His Name alone!

       5.    Today in some Charismatic circles people make false claims that they are prophets. They claim that they have the gift of prophecy. There are those who claim that they have a “special word of knowledge.” They put this word of knowledge on an equal footing with the Bible. We must be watchful not to be carried away by such false claims.

      6.   Sometime a godly Christian brother may say to you, “I have a special word for you!” Then they may give you a verse from the Bible which is right for your situation.  But the difference here is that they do not and would not claim that it is their word of knowledge. In fact, they direct you to God’s written Word.


If you are someone in the Church of Christ who wants to fill your head with knowledge and seek to speak to others but have not love. Please make note what Paul says, “I am nothing” (1-Corinthians 13:2). What we are and what we have is all of Grace.

Finally, dear reader! We have no more prophecies and no more prophets in the primary sense of the word. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God is our Prophet, Priest and King. He is the final revelation and the final Word, (Hebrews 1:1-3). We cannot add any more to God’s complete sure Word of Prophecy, (Revelation 22:19) Amen!

                                                                                                                                                                                               Note by Pastor Elisha John       Dated: 26 June 2012

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