Prophesying in the New Testament assembly
But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
1 Corinthians 14:3 (KJV)
Ted J McDonald
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|Edification||is for||building up the Mind||to know intellectually the||Truth|
|Exhortation||is for||convicting the Conscience||to live morally in what is ethically||Good|
|Comfort||is for||encouraging the Heart||to rest in God’s||Love|
When I think of 1 Corinthians 14 verse 3, I think this verse is a good standard for ministry to the saints of God.
- Does the speaker’s message build up (edify) the mind in the truth of God’s word?
- Does it exhort the listener’s conscience to avoid evil and live in a manner that is morally commentable?
- Do the words comfort believers with God’s love and care as they pass through this fallen and sinful world? Does the talk reassure a saint who may be experiencing pain, tragedy, loss, and grief?
Also, it would seem that one who prophesies in the assembly should present a balanced message that includes all three aspects of prophesying: edification, exhortation, and comfort.
Also, the order seems significant.
- Firstly, the truth is foundational and provides the intellectual justification for living a morally righteous life and the knowledge that, "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (KJV).
- Secondly, if we live a morally degraded life, we cannot expect to enjoy the love of God. Hence, we need to be admonished to turn from our evil behavior to enjoy truly God's love.
- Thirdly, knowing the truth and living a godly life does not mean that we will have a life free from all sorrow, pain, or disappointment. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV). So, during our journey homeward, we need to be especially comforted by God's strengthening promises and heartening love. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35