Romans 12:6-7

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;". ESV [My emphasis].

John 11:51

"...being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation".

The high priest prophesied about Jesus. Does "prophecy" in Romans 12:6 have to be direct reference to Jesus? [ What about correct predictions re: football matches?]

Matthew 5:17

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

Jesus' coming fulfills "them". Does that include prophecy which occurs after His coming? What is the point of New Testament Romans "prophecy" if not to predict His coming?

[For some, I gather, prophecy is of interest in that Ruth Graham wrote this in The New York Times: "Prophecy is a facet of the fast-growing charismatic Christian movement, which has an estimated half-billion followers worldwide and is characterised in part by the belief that the "gifts of the spirit"... continue into the present day rather than being an artifact of Biblical times". A brief extract from a much longer article.]

1 Answer 1


The second last paragraph of the OP is not supported by the facts. Let me illustrate with some specific examples:

  • Acts 11:28 - One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted through the Spirit that a great famine would sweep across the whole world. (This happened under Claudius.)
  • Acts 19:6 - And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
  • Acts 21:4 - We sought out the disciples in Tyre and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they kept telling Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.
  • Acts 21:10-12 - After we had been there several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands, and said, “The Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and hand him over to the Gentiles.’ ” When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.
  • 1 Cor 14:4 - The one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.

Note the specific examples of prophecy above - the NT prophet Agabus gave inspired prophecies to edify the church as per 1 Cor 14:4, unrelated to to second coming of Jesus.

According to BDAG, the noun, προφητεία (prophéteia = prophecy) has three basic meanings:

  1. act of interpreting divine will or purpose, prophetic activity, eg, Rev 11:6
  2. the gift of interpreting divine will or purpose, gift of prophesying, eg, Rom 12:6, 1 Cor 12:10, 13:2, 8, 14:22, 1 Thess 5:20, Rev 19:10.
  3. the utterance of one who interprets divine will or purpose, prophecy, eg, Matt 13:14, 2 Peter 1;20, 1 Cor 14:6, 1 Thess 5:20, 1:18, 4:14, Rev 1:3, 22:7, 10, 18, 19.

The OT prophets wrote far more than mere prophecies about the first coming of Jesus as Messiah. OT prophets (and NT prophets) also wrote rebukes, prophecies about coming disasters upon Israel, exhortations for fidelity to God, entreaties, morality and the law, etc.

Lastly, there are more than the charismatic movement that believes the gifts of the Spirit continued beyond the NT and throughout the Christian era as per many other questions on this site as per Paul's instruction to all Christians to eagerly desire the best Gift of prophecy (1 Cor 12:27-31, etc).

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