Posts Tagged ‘Prophesy’

I have written a couple of posts about Bible interpretation and how I advocate against fundamental or literal interpretation of the Bible. Well, I came across the statement below, which was posted on a Christian website, and I just could not resist blogging about it:

Prophecy is not prediction..

People sometimes think that “prophecy” means to predict (foretell) what will happen in the future. Actually, the simple gift of prophecy is not essentially forthtelling; it is a ministry to make people better and more useful Christians now. Prophecy in the New Testament church carries no prediction with it whatsoever, for “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (I Corinthians 14:3). Notice that there is no mention of the word prediction here.

I believe it is a mistake to state that the gift of prophesy has nothing to do with predicting the future, and worse yet is to try to support this on the fact that Paul, when asserting on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in his first letter to the Corinthians, did not explicitly used the words prediction or foretelling, as the excerpt  quoted above seem to imply.

Obviously, God has equipped us with intellect and human language in order for us to communicate and understand each other. So when Paul was writing on the gift of prophecy he did not need to explain what the word prophesy itself conveys linguistically, because he assumed that its meaning was understood by those he was addressing.

In the same way, for instance, an English speaker, while taking to another English speaker about the advantages of being married, would not need to explain the meaning of the word marriage, because he knows that the listener would not picture  in his mind  a type of food or something as outrageously off  the mark as that. It  would be understood or assumed that the listener is aware that the word marriage conveys the formal and official union between two people of the opposite sex. So the speaker can assert freely on the subject of his assertion, namely, the benefits of being married, rather than defining the linguistic meaning of the word itself.

Thus, Paul was writing on the  importance of the various kinds of gifts of the Spirit, not making a linguistic explanation on what they are. Which is why he makes  “no mention of the word prediction” as the excerpt I am analizing argues.

Most dictionaries would define prophesy in similar terms to this:

1. A prediction of the future, made under divine inspiration.
a. Such an inspired message or prediction transmitted orally or in writing.
2.The vocation or condition of a prophet.
3. A prediction.

With this we can conclude that Bible reading requires as much critical thinking as it does spiritual recollection. The lack of the former is perhaps the biggest problem with fundamentalist and literal interpretation of the Scriptures, because often times a fundamentalist pays attention only to what is written, neglecting what may also be conveyed implicitly.

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