Understanding a Prophetic Word


I have noticed many people are confused about receiving prophetic words…even from genuine people…and really don’t know what to do about it. So I thought I’d explain a bit.

Here is a short excerpt from my book…Pastor, How do I receive a Prophetic Word? (Available at the Community of Hope Office).

Prophetic words are for the purpose of strengthening of character, encouragement against the storms of life and comfort in the midst of trials

God is not the author of confusion…says Paul to the Corinthian church, which was having its own share of problems, and here the Apostle drives home a powerful point in saying this to them.

1 Cor 14:33

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints

This above Scripture pertains largely to a church service and the order therein, but it also applies to our life in general. In confusion no one knows what is going on. In organized chaos, like our Mumbai roads…God knows what is going on and dispenses information on a need to know basis. You will always have part of the equation but not all of it.

But just a bit earlier he Paul says…

1 Cor 14:3

But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.

If we take a closer look there are three key words to consider. Those words are edification, exhortation and comfort.

  • Edification (strengthening NIV) – oikodome in the Greek, which means…the promotion of spiritual growth, literally; the things of building up (Vines Expository Dictionary)- the building up of character (Greek Dictionary of the New Testament – James Strong)
  • While exhortation (encouragement in the NIV) – paraklesis in the Greek, which means…a calling to ones aid, thus giving the sense of helping another.
  • The word comfort – paramuthia in the Greek, from para- near or beside and muthos- speech; or primarily a speaking closely to anyone, denotes consolation or comfort with a greater degree of tenderness than in the aforementioned ‘edification’

A prime example of this are the words we get to help us through difficult times that we are already in or coming through.

Look at 1 Cor 14:3 in the Message Translation…

But when you proclaim His truth in everyday speech, you’re letting others in on the truth, so they can grow and be strong and experience His presence with you

And again in 1Cor 14:12, Message Translation

…‘try to excel in the gifts that build up the church’. God is all about building His people up not tearing them down. He wants only good for us not evil. Even though bad things happen in our lives He constantly orchestrates turnaround plans that perpetuate His will for us. Our only responsibility is to seek Him first and follow His Word and Spirit.

If a prophetic word leaves you confused you have two options.

  • You can discuss it with your leadership or a prophetic voice that you trust or even the giver of the word. Sometimes it is just a matter of simple data clarity or even cultural differences that makes the word confusing to you.
  • You can put it on a shelf and ask God to reveal anything that He wants you to know from that word through other methods in time to come.

Be Blessed!