Q. I have a question about the term “prophesying” in the Bible. Although I am clear on what “Prophecy” itself is, specifically as it relates to the hundreds of prophecies about the Lord in the old and new Testaments and the “forth-telling” of coming events , when I read how people began to “prophesy” as the Spirit of the Lord came on them, I’m not too clear on it’s meaning. I am confused about what that means in a practical sense. Specifically, I am reading the book of 1 Samuel and would like to reference these verses, 10:6, 10:10-11, 10:13, 19:20-24 and also in the NT Act 2:17. Paul also says that he wishes we all would prophesy and that it’s something we should want to do and that it “speaks to men for edification and exhortation (1 Cor 14:3).
If I was prophesying, what would I actually be doing in these incidents?
A. In 1 Sam. 10 and 1 Sam. 19 the band of prophets consisted of men who joined together in enthusiastically praising God as the Holy Spirit inspired them. It was not the same as the Old Testament Office of Prophet, where from time to time God appointed a man to be His official spokesman to the people.
As for the New Testament application, You’ve answered your own question. When you’re prophesying you’re speaking to men for edification, exhortation, and comfort. (1 Cor. 14:3) Edification means building them up by promoting their growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, and holiness. Exhortation means consoling or encouraging them, and comforting is self explanatory.