Prophetic Words

by Robert Morris

“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”

1 Corinthians 14:1

The God I Never Knew

Every year at Gateway, we have a time of presbytery at all of our campuses. At these presbytery services, pastors give prophetic words to individuals—some of whom have been selected beforehand and some who are simply attending the service. One of my favorite things about these services is to watch where people sit. People who normally sit near the middle or back of the auditorium are suddenly sitting in the front row! There’s a good reason for this, and it has to do with the nature of prophecy. The gift of prophetic messages is one of the declarative gifts, and they are designed to encourage the people receiving them. And who doesn’t want to be encouraged?

Many people think the word prophecy means predicting the future, but that’s only partially correct. Prophetic messages can tell the future, but in 1 Corinthians 14:3, Paul says there are three things a prophetic word must have: “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation, and comfort to men.” A good way to know if a prophetic word is credible is to ask yourself if it edified, encouraged, or comforted the recipient. If a word discourages, corrects, rebukes, or brings judgment, it’s not a prophetic word.

Knowing the nature of prophecy gives us a better look at the personality of the Holy Spirit. He wants to encourage, teach, and comfort us—so much so that in today’s verse, Paul tells us it’s one of the most important spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit gives. Paul encourages all of us to operate in this gift. It’s not just for a select group of pastors or highly spiritual people—it’s for every believer.

Imagine what it would be like if every Christian brought encouragement to everyone around them. What if the people in your life who are having a difficult time felt encouraged and blessed? That’s what the Holy Spirit wants to do through you. Who will you encourage today? 


Holy Spirit, thank You for using us to bring words of encouragement and comfort to others through prophecy. Thank You that all believers can speak or receive a prophetic word. Speak through me today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For Further Study

  • Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:4
  • 1 Corinthians 12:10–11
Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:41 Corinthians 12:10–11
Robert Morris
1 Corinthians 14:1