The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy



By Pastor Melinda Bauman

 Worldwide Great Commission Fellowship in Eastlake, Ohio




When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, the believers were empowered to do the works of the ministry.  One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of prophecy.  There are 9 spiritual gifts, and they are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.  It says,

  • 4. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
  • 5. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
  • 6. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh  all in all.
  • 7.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
  • 8.  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
  • 9.  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
  • 10.  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
  • 11.  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

What is the spiritual gift of prophecy?  It is being able to hear and communicate the voice of God.  Should Christians be able to hear from God?  How can God speak to us?  There is the physical world, and the spirit world.  We observe the physical world with our physical senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch.  The spirit world cannot be discerned with our physical senses.  We are aware of the world around us because of our physical senses, but we cannot sense the spirit world in this way.  God is a Spirit, but just because we cannot see Him with our physical eyes does not mean that He is not real.  Spiritual beings like angels can only be seen in the spirit, or supernatural realm.


It is possible to experience the spirit world, but it must be done with the spiritual senses.  That is to say, it is possible to hear, see, smell, taste and touch in the spirit world.  This is how we can understand the unseen world.  God gives spiritual senses, or an awareness of the spirit realm.


An example of using our spiritual senses is to hear in the Spirit.  How can we hear spiritually?  What does it mean to hear in the Spirit?  It means that we hear the voice of God.  God speaks to us in an inner voice, and this can be considered a word of prophecy.  Prophecy is simply hearing and speaking the voice of God.  If we are able to discern the voice of God and speak it out, we are using the spiritual sense of hearing.  Another example of using our spiritual senses is to see in the spirit.  If God opens our spiritual eyes, we will experience a vision.  We can see angels in the spirit realm.  Perhaps you have had an experience with an angel in your life.


God speaks to us by a word of prophecy, in dreams, or in visions.  The Bible says that this would happen when the Holy Spirit is poured out.  In Acts 2:17 - 18 it says,    





  • 17.  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my  Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and  your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams :
  • 18.  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy


The apostle Paul was given a prophetic word before he went to Jerusalem. In Acts 21:10-13 it says,


  • 10.  And as we  tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
  • 11.  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet,and said, Thus  saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver  him into the hands of the Gentiles.
  • 12.  And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
  • 13.  Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only,  but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.


Jesus prophesied to the Samaritan woman at the well.  In John 4:16-19 it says,


  • 16.  Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
  • 17.  The woman answered and said, I have no husband.  Jesus said unto her,  Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
  • 18.  For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy  husband: in that saidst thou truly.
  •  19.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

In verses 28-29 it says,                

  • 28.  The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
  • 29.  Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?


Every Christian should be able to hear from God, because He gives us direction in our lives.  The Holy Spirit leads and guides us.  Communication with God involves prayer, and prayer is simply talking with God.  If you have a conversation with someone, you would expect to talk, and then listen to the other person’s response.  It is the same way with God.  We talk to God in prayer, but then we should give Him time to respond, by listening for His voice.  When we pray, we should spend as much time listening for God’s voice, as we spend talking with Him.


The goal of the spiritual gift of prophecy is to encourage and edify a person.  Prophecy is meant to build up the body of Christ, and it must always agree with scripture.  In 1 Corinthians 14:1-3 it says,


  • 1. Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
  • 2.  For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh  mysteries.
  • 3.  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation,  and comfort.

The spiritual gifts bring life, and allow the presence of God to be made manifest.  They always leave you feeling comforted.

In verses 22-25 it says,


  • 22. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
  • 23.  If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad ?
  • 24.  But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
  • 25.  And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on  his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.


Jesus operated in the prophetic, and He was a prophet.  The office of the prophet is a special position.  The function of a prophet is to provide direction and correction to the church.  A prophet is part of the fivefold ministry.  In 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 it says,  

  • 27.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
  • 28.  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets,  thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments,  diversities of tongues.

In Ephesians 4:11-12 it says,

  • 11.  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and  teachers;
  • 12.  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  


I remember the first time I saw a prophet in a church service.  He preached a sermon, then he started praying for people.  He would point to a person in the crowd, and the person would come to the front of the church.  The prophet gave information about the person, for example, who they were, and then he would tell them what was wrong with them.  Some of the people needed to be healed from different sicknesses.  The prophet would then pray for the person to be healed, or for whatever the need was.  I was shocked when I saw this, because I couldn’t understand how the prophet knew all these things about the person.  After this experience, I began to learn more about the gift of prophecy.


Some churches may have prophetic teams.  This is a gathering of trained, qualified people for the purpose of ministering a prophetic word.  When someone ministers to you a word of prophecy, this is called personal prophecy.  The spirit of prophecy is an anointing which can sometimes fall during a church service.  In the Bible, the spirit of prophecy fell on King Saul, and he prophesied.  In 1 Samuel 10:10-12 it says,


  • 10.  And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met  him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
  • 11.  And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?
  • 12.  And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father?  Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?

Prophecy is an inspired utterance, which comes from the Spirit of God.  The word prophesy means to flow, or bubble forth.  Prophecy will flow out of you, like living water.  Jesus described the Holy Spirit as living water in John 7:37-40.  It says,


         37.  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying,   If any man  thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

          38.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of  living water.

         39.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should  receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet  glorified.)

         40.  Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth  this is the Prophet.


The Holy Spirit dwells inside us as living water.  So when a person gives a word of prophecy by the Holy Spirit, it flows like water from their belly.


God wants us to be filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and He wants to use us in the spiritual gifts.  In Romans 12:5-6 it says, 

  • 5.  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
  • 6.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,  whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;


In 1 Corinthians 14:39 it says,     


  • 39.  Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.





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