The Prophetic Gift

January, February, March 2009

Want to learn more about The Prophetic Gift? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: Heaven's Means of Communication (Genesis 3, 2 Samuel 23)
Have there been times when you wished that you could sit in the same room with God and talk with Him about your situation? Most Christians would undoubtedly say, "Yes, I would love to talk directly with God!" What if we asked God this same question and He responded "Yes, I would love to give you some better guidance!" Does this raise a new issue? Is there some aspect of your life about which you are completely satisfied to be "unclear" when it comes to God's opinion? This is the first in our series of lessons by which we will learn more about the ways in which God communicates with humans. Our goal is to help to increase our awareness of God's will. Let's dive into our lesson!

Lesson 2: The Prophetic Gift (Exodus 3 & 7, Acts 7, Numbers 12, Luke 1)
Why are the Ten Commandments the only message directly written by God in stone (Deuteronomy 10:1-4)? If God wanted to give precise rules, you would think He would always hand the prophet instructions written on stone. Does the fact that God communicates in many ways, some of them pretty unreliable, tell us something about the nature of God's message? Could it be that the prophets are part of the message? If so, what, exactly, is the role of a prophet? Are they perfect people? Let's leap into our study of Bible prophets and find out!

Lesson 3: Spiritual Gifts and Prophecy (Ephesians 4, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 & 14)
Have you ever considered that "prophecy" is a spiritual gift much like teaching? We see all types of teachers, from poor to great. Do only great teachers and great prophets have the spiritual gift? Or, is the gift something given in different amounts? Sometimes a person with a great gift knows it and wants to do things their way. Is that how the church should operate? If the Holy Spirit is speaking to them, shouldn't we follow? How can we even tell the difference between spiritual gifts and natural gifts that might not be so spiritual? Let's dive into our lesson and see what we can learn about spiritual gifts and prophecy!

Lesson 4: The Gift of Prophecy and God's Remnant (Revelation 12)
Throughout Biblical history, we find that God works with a specific group of people to advance His kingdom. Is this still true? Will it be true in the days before the close of earth's history? Since these are the people who speak for God, wouldn't it seem reasonable that the gift of prophecy would be a special gift to this remnant group? Let's dive into the Bible and see what it teaches on this topic!

Lesson 5: The Inspiration of the Prophets (2 Peter 1 & 2, Luke 1, 1 Corinthians 7)
We have learned in our prior lessons that being a prophet means that you communicate God's messages to others. The purest form of communication was when God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger on stone. No chance for error in that. Next, we learned that God spoke to Moses "face to face" (meaning Moses could see God's form). That is obviously a very high form of communication. How do the other prophets obtain messages from God? How do they package them for us? How are we to understand the messages of those who have the gift of prophecy? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 6: Testing the Prophets (Deuteronomy 13, Jeremiah 27 & 28, Isaiah 8)
There is a very curious thing these days in Christianity. If a church claims a modern-day prophet, then all other modern prophets are false prophets. If a church does not have a modern-day prophet, then all modern prophets are false prophets. Why is "false" the default setting for modern prophets when Joel 2:28-29 and Romans 12:6 seem to say the gift will be widespread? Let's dive into our study and see if common notions about evaluating prophets are Biblical notions!

Lesson 7: The Work of the Prophets (1 Samuel 9, 2 Kings 17, Isaiah 30, Romans 3)
What, exactly does a prophet do? Is the job about telling the future? Is it religious instruction? Is it finding donkeys? Is it making us feel bad? Is it being God's agent for all sorts of things? Let's dive into our Bibles and find out!

Lesson 8: The Authority of the Prophets (1 Thessalonians 5, Acts 21, 2 Samuel 12, 1 Kings 13)
What authority is given to prophets? Are all prophets given the same authority? Don't all true prophets have the same source? If the prophet perfectly relays the message from God, then the answer is easy: the prophet's message is God's message. What if the prophet is a "low faith" prophet (Romans 12:6)? What if the prophet lies part of the time and tells the truth part of the time (1 Kings 13)? Let's dive into the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 9: The Integrity of the Prophetic Gift (Jeremiah 42, 1 Samuel 16, 2 Samuel 7)
After last week's study ended with one prophet being eaten by a lion because the other prophet lied, you may wonder why we are studying the integrity of the prophetic gift. Can true prophets lie, cheat and steal? What do you remember about the Old Testament patriarchs: did they lie, cheat and steal? Obviously, the patriarchs were not perfect. Are prophets to do better? If the prophets don't do better, should we strike them off our "true prophet" list? Let's jump into our study and see what the Bible says about the integrity of the prophets!

Lesson 10: Messages of the Prophets (Genesis 22, Acts 4, Galatians 3, Hebrews 4)
If someone asked me to teach a class about the messages from my wife, I would have to do some thinking. My wife gives me all sorts of messages. Is there a theme in the messages from your spouse or your best friend? In general, my wife's messages are positive and not critical. They are fun and not harassing. I love to hear from her. What about messages from God? Does He have a theme? Are they fun or harassing messages? Is there a way to summarize all that He says through the prophets? Let's dive into the Bible and explore this possibility together!

Lesson 11: Interpreting the Prophetic Writings (Acts 8 & 10)
"That is your interpretation!" Have you ever heard someone say that when they disagreed with you? Lawyers are masters of suggesting that something should be interpreted in a way much different than was originally meant. We even have U.S. Supreme Court Justices who refer to a "living constitution." If you are now in your "sunset years" and you look nothing like you did when you were 18 years-old, you perfectly understand the "living constitution" concept of changing the original meaning. For some people "interpreting" the Bible is an excuse to ignore what God plainly said. At the same time, there are a number of texts in the Bible which seem to be in clear conflict with other texts. There are passages that are difficult to understand. What do honest, humble Christians do in those situations? Let's plunge into the Bible and see what it suggests we should do!

Lesson 12: Blessings of the Prophetic Gift (Deuteronomy 7, Exodus 19, John 14, Luke 13)
What good are prophets? Since we have learned that prophets give us messages from God, it seems the answer is obvious: we get to hear God's will. Ask yourself: "Are you sure you really want to hear God's will for your life?" Considering the reaction of many to the Bible, I suspect the answer is "no" for some people. Let's dive into our Bible study this week and find out was blessings are in store for those who desire to know and follow God's will.

Lesson 13: Confidence in the Prophetic Gift (Matthew 13, Luke 24, Acts 17, 1 Corinthians 14)
This week I was speaking to a young man whose church has a living prophet. Because of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-29, that is not something I would automatically reject. Instead, what I found worthy of consideration was his statement that the words of the prophet were as authoritative as the words of the Bible. What do you think of that? If the prophet truly speaks for God, then that makes logical sense. Does it make Biblical sense? How about practical sense? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn what level of confidence we should have in the prophetic gift!

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