The gift of the prophet
By Dr. Timothy Lin
The gift of the prophet - As the Scriptures recorded "...yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy" (I Cor. 14: 1).
A. What is prophet in the Bible?
B. Should we all become full time preacher?
In the Bible, the prophet is not a person that is specialized in only telling the future. Telling the future is only a part of his work. The word prophet in the New Testament is a combination of two words. The prefix ‘pro’ has three meanings: ‘to come out of, ahead of and in place of’. The second part ‘phet’ means ‘speak’. So, whoever speaks forth God’s words, speaks on behalf of God or speaks ahead of time what God wants him to say are prophets (Deut. 18:18). God called us so that we can declare the One who called us out of darkness into the light. So, we should desire earnestly to prophesy or in other words desire especially to prophesy (I Cor. 14:1. 39). Moreover, we should have a clear understanding of God Himself, a thorough understanding of God's revelation and a thorough understanding of God's will. Then we can speak forth God's desire towards man and be a prophet of substance.
Some may ask, “How is it possible that all of us can become full time preachers?” Don't worry! God did not want all His overcomers to be full-time preachers here. What is spoken of here is the question of spiritual function and not office. In the Scriptures, there is a difference between doing the function and the office of a prophet. He wants every one of us to have the function of a prophet but it did not say that everyone should come out and accept the office. We must not be full time prophets unless God gives us a clear calling. For example, Daniel functioned as a prophet but he did not have the office. So the book of Daniel in the Hebrew Scriptures is not included in the book of Prophets but in volume three (The Writings). It is also the case with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Abraham also functioned as a prophet (Gen. 20:7) but did not have the office of a prophet.
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