One Spirit Many Superpowers – Part Three

Jul 2, 2023

1 Corinthians 12:10 – prophecy and discernment

The Holy Spirit gives us special abilities that help us strengthen our spiritual family and participate in the cause of Jesus Christ.

We can all find fulfillment and growth as we better understand the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.
Unpacking 1 Corinthians 12-14, for the purpose of increasing our understanding of the Spirit-given gifts mentioned, their motivation, purpose, function, and fulfillment within the church.











“to another the ability to prophesy. And he gives to another the ability to know the difference between good and evil spirits.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10 NCV

1. Prophecy – the ability to speak under the influence of divine inspiration, ability to speak a fresh message from God

From its start, the Corinthian church included Gentile and Jewish believers. Paul had stayed in a Gentile home next door to the Jewish synagogue. The families of both made up the beginning of that church. The Gentiles would have first been exposed to prophecy from oracles who brought “prophetic” messages from the Graeco-Roman gods. This included the practice of interpreting dreams and inspired speech received in a trance or a vision. The Jews were familiar with Yahweh, the God seen in our Old Testament, sending messages through prophets.

David’s definition – “The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue.” – 2 Samuel 23:2

Moses was an example of God speaking directly to one person with a message to deliver to people.

“29 “But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all!’” – Numbers 11:29

The prophetic gift was predicted for Jesus-followers.

28 “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. 29 In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.” – Joel 2:28-29

Peter recognized the fulfillment.

“What you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel,” – Acts 2:16

We learn more from 1 Corinthians 12 – 14. These chapters were not meant to be exhaustive and definitive, but to help clear up confusion.

“You should seek after love, and you should truly want to have the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.” – 1 Corinthians 14:1

“those who prophesy are speaking to people to give them strength, encouragement, and comfort. …those who prophesy are helping the whole church.” – 1 Corinthians 14:3-4

“Since you want spiritual gifts very much, seek most of all to have the gifts that help the church grow stronger.” – 1 Corinthians 14:12

2. Spiritual Discernment

“to another the ability to prophesy. And he gives to another the ability to know the difference between good and evil spirits.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10 NCV

Jesus-followers shared this caution.

“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” – 1 John 4:1 NLT

We learn more from 1 Corinthians 12 – 14.

“to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits,” – 1 Corinthians 12:10 ESV

“He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10 NLT

Spiritual Discernment – know the difference, distinguish between, discern,

Spiritual Discernment – the ability to evaluate and judge between what is from God and what is not

29 Only two or three prophets should speak, and the others should judge what they say. 30 If a message from God comes to another person who is sitting, the first speaker should stop. 31 You can all prophesy one after the other. In this way all the people can be taught and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are under the control of the prophets themselves. 33 God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace.” – 1 Corinthians 14:29-33 NCV

“let the others weigh what is said,” – 1 Corinthians 14:29 ESV

Weigh – to evaluate carefully, to make a judgment based on the basis of careful and detailed information

(after initial prophecy) “If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” – 1 Corinthians 14:30-33 ESV

Revelation – to uncover, take out of hiding, the true meaning of something so that it can be fully known

“subject to” – mutual submission, respectful deference, collaboration

Spiritual Discernment of prophetic words should be a team sport.

Some evaluation questions from: “Your Sons & Daughters Shall Prophesy” by Ernest Gentile

Does the message glorify Jesus and edify the church?

Is it in accordance with the letter and spirit what God has said in Scripture?

Is the theological or doctrinal content solid?

Does the message have substance?

Does the prophecy have value within specific limits of time and space?

Do predictions come to pass and lead people to God?

Does the message give hope to the people?

What do we learn?

God speaks. We listen carefully.

God gives spiritual gifts with purpose and design.

This purpose and design include salvation and growth.

It also includes increasing strength and unity.

God’s people have wonderful variety expressed for God’s purpose and design.

People with gifts of the prophetic and spiritual discernment may team up for the benefit of the church.

What should we do?

Read 1 Corinthians 12-14. Pray. Listen. Ask questions. Share the journey.

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