Pentecostal Apologetics

Prophetic Gift
Prophesying by The "Gift" of Prophecy

There is a difference between speaking prophetically by one's own power or speaking by a spiritual "gift."

  Do the girls mentioned in Acts 21: 9  speak by their own spiritual power, or do they speak by using a spiritual gift?

Acts 21: 9 "And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy"

Tongues and prophecies that all may do:

Acts 2: 4 "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

Acts 2:33, 38-39 "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hatn shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." "be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
In context of Acts 2:33,38,39; all of the people who Peter is speaking to are hearing massive amounts of tongues. If the science of hermeneutics means anything; Peter was showing that the "gift" of the Holy Spirit which was "promised" (to all) is the tongues speaking that the crowd saw. The crowd understood tongues-speaking to accompany salvation--and Peter knew that was what they were understanding it to be.

Acts 4: 31 "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."

They were all filled, not just some of them, but they were already believers; many, or all of them were at the Acts 2 Pentecost earlier. It is not a stretch of the imagination to say that they all must have spoke in tongues and prophecies because it was a powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit because the house was actually "shaken."

Acts 8: 16-17 "(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."

In recent years, many Pentecostals have pointed out that the Samaritans of 8: 16 must have spoken in tongues and prophecies because Simon the sorceror was there and he was impressed with what he saw (tongues and prophecies--presumably) and wanted to buy that power.

"Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost." Acts 8: 17-19

Acts 10: 44-46 "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God"

Acts 19: 6 "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

There is a tongues and prophecies that all may speak in church services (or anywhere); But there is also listed tongues as a gift and prophets as a gift. Perhaps such gifted persons have the ability to prophesy more often then others. They certainly (if they are men) are to have authority in the church; as opposed to the rest of the church who are not "prophets" but still receive prophecies or other revelation from God from time to time.

Speaking By a "Gift"

Acts 15: 32 "And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them."

Acts 21:10-11 "And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles."

Acts 11: 27-28 "And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth [famine] throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar."

There are tongues that all may do and there are tongues that only those with the gift of tongues may do. There are prophecies that all may speak and there are prophecies that only those with the gift of prophecy may speak. The gift of tongues that only some can do is manifested during a church or prayer service, and it is a message in tongues from God to man. This is the tongues-speaking that Paul would like to be interpreted for others' learning (it is not simply praise). This, of course, would require the interpretation to be spoken.
     The tongues that all may speak is a prayer and praise language to God. This is seen in Acts 2, Acts 10, and Acts 19 where "all" spoke in tongues when they got saved (not just those with the "gift" of tongues). The prophesy that all may do is also during a church or prayer service (or anywhere else). In this environment anyone may speak a "prophecy," a "word of wisdom," a "word of knowledge," an "interpretation," etc--not just those with the "gift" of prophecy.
      The gift of prophecy that only some can do (those who receive the gift of "prophecy," like Agabus in the verses above) may be manifested inside, or outside the church. The "gift" of tongues and prophecies (as well as other gifts) are referenced in 1 Cor. chapter 12: 

"And God hath set some in the church, firts apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?" 1 Cor. 12: 28-30

Ordinary belivers may prophesy in church, or they may receive the gift of prophecy, and may be called "prophets." Paul encourages believers to seek spiritual gifts; therefore, it is possible to be given additional gifts. Paul says:
"Eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy" 1 Cor 14:1
The above verse makes no sense if there is not a possibility of God granting extra gifts to the believer at his asking. Paul also says:
"Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church. For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret." 1 Cor 14:12-13

The inescapable conclusion of Paul's words is that we may be given gifts at the asking. Yes, indeed, all can prophesy, as Paul says, "For you can all prophesy in turn...the spirits of the prophets are subject to the control of the prophets."1 Cor 14:31-32

Copyright 2006 - 2007. Peter Kwiatkowski. All rights reserved.