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Christians commonly find encouragement, 29 This means it is difficult to separate prophecy entirely from the gift of teaching see also Ciampa and Rosner Given his instruction to weigh and test what it said, it might be best largely to discard those words, especially in the initial sharing. What is required is that the Spirit be manifest through imparted knowledge, and that some combination of encouragement, consolation, and instruction occurs for edification. Perhaps most believers have experienced God impressing a simple message on their heart that needs to be said to someone or to a group of people.

Then as the words are shared, it seemed that the recipients of the words were touched by the words, as evidence that the Holy Spirit was involved. Why should we not think that this is an experience of prophesying? We must be careful not to limit prophesying to those who are highly trained for preaching; instead, we must cultivate a sense of permission among the community of believers to share those words which God places on their minds and hearts.

Conclusion This essay has taken up questions about prophets and prophecy, which are being asked among Reformed and Presbyterian believers of Southern Africa, and has posed these questions to the text of 1 Corinthians 14 in its own literary context. The scope of the study has been limited; we have dealt little with the rest of the canon of Scripture. It seems clear Paul would say to us that God is still speaking the same way he spoke to prophets in the New Testament though, as we saw, perhaps not the same as in the Old Testament.

See Aune , Hvidt 3, 96, , and Young Some early theologians continued to affirm the prophetic gift including Cyprian in North Africa and Irenaeus of Lyon , but a zeal for prophesying was largely put aside. This leads us to conclude that Reformed and Presbyterian bodies should explore ways for our traditions and liturgy, instead of squelching the prophetic gift, to safeguard it. At the same time, we must explore how to practice discernment in order to judge what is prophesied, so that we hold to true prophetic words and discard the rest.

Paul gives the impression that Christian prophecy may have imperfections.

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If Reformed and Presbyterian bodies make room for both prophecy and discernment within our polity and forms of worship, we may be in a position to safeguard Southern African Christianity from allowing false prophets and prophecy to spread see Hivdt The gift of prophecy presents the possibility of people posturing themselves for status, power, and privilege over others. Too often in ministry, our aim is primarily curved inward, toward our own selfish motives. The African context helps us to recognize in the text of 1 Corinthians what scholars in the West mostly overlook: that Paul himself had less interest in prophets than in the ministry of prophesying.

This article has demonstrated that Paul displays little concern for the position of prophets; he concentrates on prophecy as a community practice carried out by numerous believers in a given congregation. Our observations in regard to prophesying in 1 Corinthians also present an opportunity for the church in Africa to move together toward unity.

If Reformed and Pentecostal Christians follow through and receive these benefits from 1 Corinthians , this will lead to deeper preaching and teaching in both churches, combining both the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and sustained, thoughtful reflection on Scripture. As both churches advance toward maturity, they will find themselves becoming more like one other. This could be highly significant for the mission and witness of the church in Southern Africa. Finally, we who are involved in theological education and the training of Christian leaders need to consider how we may encourage the gift of prophecy.

Welcoming students from both Pentecostal and more traditional church backgrounds is a beginning. If all of us are to be zealous for the gift of prophecy, then perhaps many or even most of us will become prophetically gifted. Here at Justo Mwale University, we are Reformed and Presbyterian, so we will do this decently and in order. But we also need divine power and gifting. We sell ourselves short if we settle for gaining academic expertise but miss integrating our studies with the manifestation of the Holy Spirit for the common good.

Let us be zealous to prophesy. Bibliography Aune, David E. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Boring, M. Louisville: Westminster John Knox. Ciampa R.


The First Letter to the Corinthians. Fee, Gordon. Peabody, Mass. Fitzmyer, Joseph A.

First Corinthians. Friedrich, G. In Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 6: Gillespie, Thomas. Hays, Richard B.

Louisville: John Knox. Hiu, Elim. Regulations Concerning Tongues and Prophecy in 1 Corinthians Hvidt, Niels. New York: Oxford University. Kroesbergen-Kamps, Johanneke. LeMarquand, Grant. Levison, Jon. Filled with the Spirit. Thiselton, Anthony C. Witherington, Ben. Jesus the Seer: The Progress of Prophecy. Young, Frances. Cambridge: Cambridge University.

Zahl, Simeon. Related Papers. Holding Prophets Accountable. By Jon K Newton. By Tania Harris. Prophecy and Inclusion: Community Worship in 1 Cor By Joseph Dahlstrom. Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament. By Kam Weng Ng. Download pdf.

The meaning of prophesying in 1 Corinthians 14

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