Where Does Prophecy Come From?

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:29-33

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Verse for Meditation: What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. – 1 Corinthians 14:26


Devotional: Prophecy can be defined as follows: Prophecy is the human communication of a divine revelation for the purpose of strengthening God’s people. It is critical to understand that the origin of a prophetic word is a revelation from God. The word refers to something that has previously been hidden, but is now being uncovered. It means to cause something to be fully known, revealed, disclosed, or brought to light. It is often used, as it is in this passage, to refer to “a divine revelation of certain transcendent secrets.” In other words, it is God intervening to let someone know something that they otherwise could not have known.

Revelation can come in many forms. Often prophecy comes as a vision. It may come as a word or a phrase but not necessarily with a full-blown explanation of what that means exactly. It could also come as a dream. The important thing to know is that genuine prophecy is a revelation from God himself. It’s also not just wishing the best for someone or having great insight on a particular situation.


I think what Sam Storms has to say about this is very helpful. Storms writes, “Prophecy is not based on a hunch or supposition, an inference, an educated guess or even on sanctified wisdom. Prophesy is not based on personal insight, intuition or illumination. Prophesy is the human report of a divine revelation” (Sam Storms, The Beginners Guide to Spiritual Gifts, p.116).


We must remember however that prophecy is not just a direct revelation from God. There are three other steps in prophecy: 1) Interpretation of the revelation, 2) Application of the revelation, and 3) Communication of the revelation. Each of these steps is subject to human error. Tomorrow we will look at what it means to understand prophecy as the human communication of a divine revelation.


Question to Consider: What are some implications of the fact that prophecy has both divine and human elements to it?

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