The church in Corinth was ‘not lacking in any spiritual gift’ (1 Cor 1:7) and Paul acknowledged the ministry of prophets there. And yet, even in that strong prophetic environment, prophetic accuracy was not taken for granted. Weighing up prophecy was considered necessary.
‘Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.’ (1 Cor 14:29)
The word translated here ‘weigh’ or ‘judge’ means to determine, to try, decide, to separate and make a distinction. 
‘Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.’ (1 Thess 5:19-22)
The word for ‘test’ Paul uses here means to examine, to see whether something is genuine. 
Paul wrote these instructions to churches operating in spiritual gifts and to Christians who sincerely desired the true ministry of the Spirit.
Don’t Take Prophetic Accuracy for Granted
In order for prophecy to be accurate we have to:
- Hear God’s voice clearly
- Comprehend His intention—without that being clouded by feelings, judgments, biases and preconceived ideas (personal or that of others) and
- Convey it in such a way that the recipients of the word fully understand it in the way our Father intends
This is something that those of us in prophetic ministry should always be aiming for.
The Apostle Paul teaches that we should never take accuracy in our prophetic ministry for granted.
For those of us who minister in prophecy, this is the discomfort zone, the faith zone. We desire to bring the true and pure word of God—and therefore we must surrender what we believe God has given to us to be weighed up by others.
At the point that prophets believe that they do not need to have their prophecies scrutinised and weighed up, they have strayed from the Biblical mandate and become open to deception.
Why Should Prophecy Be Weighed Up?
1. There are Voices Other Than God’s to Filter Out
There are different sources of thoughts and insights in the natural and spiritual realm—all seeking our attention:
- The Holy Spirit
- Our own feelings and biases
- The opinions and thoughts of other people
- The demonic realm
A well-known example of these ‘many voices’ can be found in Matthew 16:13-23. First, Jesus asks the disciples what other people’s opinions are of Him. Then, Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah and is commended by Jesus for receiving that revelation from the Father. Shortly afterwards, Peter earns a rebuke from Jesus for being the mouthpiece of the devil.
As we are faithful to practice in this area, we gradually mature in discernment. (Heb 5:14) However Paul indicates that even those with a strong prophetic ministry should always have their prophetic insights weighed up. 
This is a means of protecting the church as well of those of us who desire to grow in prophetic ministry.
We must keep in mind that the enemy knows the power of prophecy and seeks to discredit, distort and counterfeit it. (Matt 7:15, Rev 2:20)
2. Personal Biases can Affect the Accuracy of a Prophecy
Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke of so-called ‘prophets’ who spoke from their own minds and imaginations, bringing false hope to people. (Jer 23:16, Ezek 13:2)
The people of that time strongly desired peace and deliverance, and those are the promises they gravitated towards. This serves as a reminder of how the desires of the giver or receiver of a prophecy can affect a prophecy or its interpretation.
Prophecy is a partnership of pure Divine thought and imperfect human process.
As we share a prophecy, we must filter out personal biases, desires, values and feelings. We also need to be free of judgments (opinions) towards others if we are going to accurately discern and convey Father’s prophetic purpose for a person or a group.
3. Levels of Maturity and Giftedness Affect Prophecy
The wonderful thing about prophecy is that even a young child or new Christian can share an insight from the Holy Spirit. 
However, God calls us those of us with a prophetic ministry to pursue qualities that help sharpen and mature our gift:
- Increasing faith (Romans 12:6)
- Intimacy with God—determining the clarity of hearing Father’s intention (John 5:19)
- Wisdom, which addresses the timing and manner of sharing a word, as well as how it is framed, along with the choice of words and media used
- Spiritual authority
- The level of giftedness and anointing
‘Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith.’ (Rom 12:6, NKJV)
Pushing too quickly beyond our current levels of faith, wisdom, authority and anointing can affect the accuracy—and impact—of our prophetic ministry.
4. Father’s Allowance and Design
Why leave room for doubt? Why is prophecy not considered accurate until it has been tested? And why does God allow this—after all, isn’t His reputation at stake?
There are aspects that are mystery—but I believe there is one important key.
In the New Testament, the cross has changed everything. 
The church is like a great big family, where there are children at different stages of development and comprehension:
- There are those who have walked with God for years and hear the Spirit’s faintest whispers
- There are those who are still learning to hear God’s voice and distinguish the voice of the Spirit
It is messy—and glorious. It makes the Father’s heart rejoice.
Those who are young in the faith and new to hearing God’s voice need the assistance of those who are mature. And those who have prophetic gifts and ministries need those who have gifts of leadership, discernment and wisdom to complete their ministry.
It is the Father’s design that we cannot operate in prophetic ministry in isolation—that we need each other, and our leaders.
If prophecy was 100% accurate and did not require weighing up, those who had prophetic gifts could operate in isolation. If prophecy was always accurate, Christians would not need to hear from God—they could rely on someone with a prophetic gift.
The process of prophecy may be something we never fully understand this side of Heaven. But when we lean in to hear His Father’s heartbeat, we are closer to comprehending this mystery more than any other time.
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