The Simple Gift of Prophecy

The Simple Gift of Prophecy

1 Corinthians 12:7
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
1 Corinthians 13:1
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 14:3-4
3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
1 Corinthians 14:26
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
1 Corinthians 14:40
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

Edification: GK [oikodome /oy-kod-om-ay]: building, building up, promoting another’s growth in Christian wisdom, patient effort, a strengthening effect.

Exhortation: GK [paraklesis /par-ak-lay-sis]: consolation, comfort, calling near, admonition, encouragement, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment.

Comfort: GK [paramunthia /par-am-oo-thee-ah]: calming, consoling, with a greater degree of tenderness.

A word is a word (a short admonishment) – not a sermon or a teaching. 1 Corinthians 12:8 a “word of wisdom,” a “word of knowledge.”

Prophecy = to speak before, to speak forth; 1. by divine inspiration, 2. a testimony (Rev. 19:10), or 3. the Word (scripture).

  • Prophecy (in a known tongue) = tongues and interpretation.
  • Tongues & interpretation = prophecy (in a known tongue).

Forth-telling vs. fore-telling:

Forth telling (usually in a Biblical context) means telling forth – as in spreading the word, whereas foretelling means predicting the future.

In the simple gift of prophecy there is no prediction or revelation of the future. The simple gift of prophecy operating through a person does not make them a prophet.

Kenneth Hagin: The Holy Spirit and His Gifts: The simple gift of prophecy should not be confused with the prophetic office or with prophetic utterance that may come forth in the prophet’s ministry. By reading 1 Corinthians 14:3 we can see that the simple gift of prophecy is given for edification, exhortation, and comfort. In the Old Testament prophecy was essentially foretelling, but in the New Testament we see that the gift of prophecy shifts strongly to forth telling.

Doctrine, Reproof, Correction, and Instruction:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Correction and instruction whether it is doctrinally, for instruction, or due to sin, must be handled with proper Godly ethics, spiritual etiquette, and love. Although this manifestation can come through the “5-fold ministry gift of the prophet” to a church in general when necessary, rarely are these issues ever handled publicly by the Holy Spirit through the simple gift of prophecy. Typically, these types of problems do not pertain to the “church” in general, but apply to one or a few individuals. As we have stated before, the simple gift of prophecy is for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church as a whole.

In the New testament Church, correction and reproof is typically handled privately, by the leadership within the church, with the individuals they concern, and through the Word of God. If you feel you have a reproof or corrective word you should counsel with the Pastor or ministry leader to see how it should be handled in advance. It most likely does not pertain to the “whole church” at large.

The general New Testament flow of the Spirit with the “simple gift of prophecy” is for the edification of the church publicly. For the Holy Spirit to correct one or a few individuals within the church, His general flow would be to use the leadership in place through the Word.

Three important questions:

Ask yourself before you speak an inspired word from the Lord:

  1. Is the word is for me personally?
  2. Is the word for another individual?
  3. Is the word for the church at large?

If you are not totally confident the word is for the church at large do not share it. If you are not sure, consult the leadership of the meeting for direction.

Warren D. Bullock: Making Sense of Tongues, Interpretation & Prophecy

There are three criteria that a vocal spiritual gift, must meet.

  • It must bring honor to Christ.
  • It must edify the believers.
  • It must be a positive influence on unbelievers present.

If it fails any of these three tests, then what was expressed was really not in accord with Scripture.

Following the voice of the Spirit is a skill that is honed through both prayer and error.

Regarding vocal gifts, consider these positive outcomes, some for believers and others for unbelievers, as delineated in first Corinthians 14:

  • We speak to God and utter mysteries with our spirits (verse 2).
  • We are strengthened (verses 3, 26).
  • We are encouraged (verses 3, 31).
  • We are comforted (verse 3).
  • We are edified and built up (verses 4, 12).
  • We pray and sing with our spirits (verse 15).
  • We praise God with our spirits and give thanks (verse 16).
  • The unbeliever is convinced that he is a sinner (verse 24).
  • The secrets of the unbeliever’s heart are laid bare, and he falls down and worships God (verse 25).
  • We receive revelation (verse 30).
  • We are instructed (verse 31).

Paul said, “The manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).

The gift is for the church; the church is not for the gift.

A supernatural vocal gift should never interrupt Holy Spirit inspired preaching.

A message in tongues with interpretation or prophecy are supplements to the Word, not substitutes for it. The Scriptures are infallible, but supernatural vocal gifts or not.

Proper timing of vocal gifts allows for the priority of the preached Word and the strengthening and confirming words of the spirit.

We believe that the Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit, God-breathed, imbued with divine wind (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). So the Spirit will not prompt a vocal gift that would interrupt the powerful word He has inspired. As we commonly say the Holy Spirit will not interrupt Himself.

It will not be uncommon for a word from God to be received in our spirit during the course of a service to be delivered at some appropriate point later in the service. This does not go against the general Pauline principle of spontaneity of the gifts in public worship. Rather, it aligns itself with Paul’s teaching on control and order.

If the Lord has a word to speak through you, always be obedient, but also be sensitive as to when to speak. When delivered at the right moment, the vocal gift will accomplish its desired end – the building up of Christ’s church.

Judgment of Vocal Gifts:

Our judgment of vocal gifts is not for the purpose of quenching what the Spirit is doing, but to encourage His mighty works. “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22). While it is possible to be so judgmental in a negative sense that we stifle the Spirits work, it is also possible to put out his fire by failing to test everything. It is interesting that the phrase in 1 Corinthians 14:29, “weigh carefully what is said,” uses the same verb found in the expression “discerning of spirits.” (1 Corinthians 12:10, KJV) or “distinguishing between spirits” (NIV), which is one of the nine supernatural gifts. The same discerning ability used to know whether certain spirits are of God or not also helps us determine the validity of a vocal gift.

Judgment of vocal gifts can be done by the following:

  1. The Word of God.

Does the content of the message align itself with the word of God? A modern prophetic vocal gift can legitimately neither contradict nor add to the Word.

  1. The Fruit Produced by Vocal Gifts.

Their effect on the people should be to strengthen, encourage, comfort, and edify them (1 Corinthians 14:3,4). If they tend to beat down, castigate, and upbraid God’s people, they are not inspired of the Spirit. The overall impact of these gifts must always be to build up and strengthen. Revelation 19:10 “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Prophecy has Jesus at its heart and center.

  1. The Ring of Authority.

Does it witness with our spirit? Some vocal gifts certainly do not contradict the word, nor do they drag us into darkness. But neither do they lift our hearts toward God.

  1. The Flow the Service.

Is the vocal gift in keeping with the general tenor of the service? For instance, if an evident spirit of joy is in worship, and the Spirit is leading God’s people to rejoice, a vocal gift on the responsibility to reach the lost would seem out of place. The right moment is when the flow of the service and the prophetic word are consistent.

Correction or rebuke: We must first accept that part of the pastor’s function is to give correction. We know that preaching the Word involves correction, rebuke, and encouragement. If you are willing to give a word publicly, you should be willing to be gently corrected publicly if leadership deems it necessary.

If pastors want to lead Spirit-filled fellowships that encourage the vocal gifts, several Biblical guidelines may be helpful.

  1. Provide teaching
  2. Offer correction
  3. Guard the flock

Responding to correction: Don’t be disheartened! God can still use you. He is not given up on you. However, your need for correction means you still have some maturing to do in relation to the Spirits work. Errors in substance and delivery do not disqualify you from future manifestation of the gifts, but you need to grow. Receive with grace and submission the correction is offered. Remain under the spiritual authority of your pastor. Maintain a humble and teachable spirit. Acknowledge your blunders and ask God to help you be more sensitive to his voice. Engage in a series of detailed study of 1 Corinthians 14.

The Flow of the Service, the Direction of the Service, and Prayer Lines:

When giving a prophetic word, do not take direction of the service and/or call people up front for prayer lines etc. Allow the direction of the service and prayer lines to be managed by the Pastor or leader of the meeting.

Only the leader knows what needs to be accomplished in the time frame allotted for the service, and they have to be respected with the right to do so. This is the responsibility of the leader not the congregation.


  • When prophetic words should be allowed or ended
  • When prayer lines should take place or not
  • When the laying on of hands, kneeling, singing another song, or dancing, should take place or not.

Don’t do an “everybody” command! Example: “everybody” raise your hand, “everybody” get on your knees and pray, “everybody” jump up and down.” There are always those who will not enter in. Leave the choice up to those who desire to enter in without condemning those who don’t.


Pastor Jim Langlois is the Senior Pastor of The Master’s House, President of MKEA (The Master’s Kids Evangelistic Association), and founder of The Family Bible Revolution You can follow him at docinthehouse, on Twitter at jimlanglois, and on Facebook at jim.langlois. His most recent books are “Is it Okay to Pray in Tongues in Church?”  “Will the Real God Please Stand Up!” and The Family Bible Revolution. Both are available at and


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