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What is the gift of prophecy?

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.  Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.  I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified. 1 Corinthians 14:1-5

            The gift of prophecy is twofold.  Some prophets speak of future events, warning the listeners, preparing them, encouraging them.

            The other purpose of prophecy is divine inspiration, God telling his people some truth that they need to hear to live better.

            Is the gift of prophecy active today?  Yes.  God can speak a deeper truth through people with this gift, warning them, encouraging them, teaching them.  The gift is rarer than others, but still useful.

            Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14 that the gift of prophecy is for all believers.

Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?  But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” 1 Corinthians 14:22-25

            Prophecy wakes the church up, humbles them, understanding that God is speaking directly to them.  It can awaken non-believers to God’s reality too.

            Today, for the most part, God uses the Bible, His word, to speak to us, doing all the things someone with the gift of prophecy does.  But we should still be aware of those God uses with this gift and what they have to say.