Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;– Romans 12:6
Now that we have laid the foundation for the correct mindset concerning the giving of spiritual gifts, we can now move on to some of the gifts mentioned in this passage. Paul starts off with the gift of prophecy. We will notice that for each SPIRITUAL gift there exists both FLESHLY and DEVILISH imitation gifts. There are those today who indeed have a spiritual gift of prophecy given to them by God. There are also those who claim the gift of prophecy but prophesy through their flesh or satanic influence. Let’s first look at what “prophecy” means.
“Prophecy” is the Greek word, “propheteia,” which comes from two Greek words, “pro” and “phemi.”
In Greek “pro” means “before.” This can mean “before” in relation to time. We’ve use this definition many times before. The doctor can give a “prognosis” which literally means “knowledge beforehand.” But this is not the only definition of “before.” This word can also mean “in front of.” In Acts 12:6 we read, “And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.” This use of “before” is extensively used in the Old Testament in the phrases, “before the altar,” “before the tabernacle,” and “before the Lord” (Leviticus 6:14; 3:13; 4:4).
This word means simply “to declare.” However, one could also argue that there is implied in this word the idea of “bringing to light” as this word is derived from a Greek word literally meaning “to shine.” In other words, “phemi” means “to declare by shedding light on words.” But for simplicity’s sake, we will say “phemi” means “to declare.”
When we combine the two words together, we obtain our word, “prophet” or “prophecy.” It could mean “foretell” where the prophet proclaimed something beforehand. This is the primary usage in the Old Testament. We also see its usage just a few times in the New Testament when there is new revelation to be delivered. However, the Scriptures have now been given to us in Its entirety. We dare not add anything else to it. There is no new revelation that must needs be shown the Body of Christ as a whole. Instead, there is a dire need for the FORE-told Scriptures to be FORTH-told. Today, the SPIRITUAL gift of prophecy is the burden and duty of a preacher to “declare before a people” the truths of God’s Words. That’s the literal definition of the word! There are many who look for new revelation but why? Why look for new revelation when you can’t exhaust the revelation ALREADY given?! That’s why it takes a PREACHER! This is a special job. There is an inexhaustible amount of truth in God’s Word, and the Lord uses preachers as PROPHETS to boldly declare His Word before their generation.
However, just as there is a spiritual gift of prophecy, there are also imitation gifts. We will talk more of this tomorrow.