Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | August 6, 2007

Weighing prophecy

Accuracy targetAccuracy target

Jesse Phillips, on his excellent Resurgence blog, asks a great question ‘What makes a particular prophecy biblically sound?’

The judging of prophecy is a key aspect of the exercise of this gift, particularly when used in the church gathering.  This works in several ways – the most obvious is to determine whether the word, vision, demonstration or other prophetic expression is from God.  However, more important is the judging – or weighing – in order to determine its significance or practical application.

Certainly from my experience as an elder, this is absolutely key for the life and health of the church. Most people exercising the gift are genuine, Spirit-filled Christians using it to different degrees or ‘measures’ of insight or expression. Judging for correctness is therefore not usually a major issue – but weighing for its impact and influence is very necessary. Therefore in the shared life of the church, a leadership or eldership team needs to be skilled prophetically so as to respond appropriately to words or other revelatory gifts. 

Old Testament Israel required kings and leaders to pick up the words of the prophet and interpret them into their community, leading God’s people very practically into an appropriate response. Similarly, in the present day church, elders too must exerise a weighing of prophetic gift – not as some sort of spiritual censorship (although that is sometimes needed!), but as a way to ensure the word of God is heeded.

There are some very practical ways to do that … perhaps we can get to these in another post?



  1. Hugh, weighing prophecy is indeed key. However, 1 Cor 14:29 says that it is “the others” who should weight prophecy. In context I think this could either mean “other prophets” or “other members of the church”. I don’t see that it can mean “the elders” who aren’t mentioned at all.

    Do you think we have any justification for elders weighing prophecy?

  2. Matthew – your observation is absolutely right in that the weighing of prophesy is a function not limited to elders. However (unless I have mistakenly given that impression!) my article does not say that elders alone should judge the prophetic. I trust that in any mature body of Christians, they have grown up and are able themselves to distinguish God’s word.

    Nevertheless, God has placed elders with a responsibility to ‘direct the affairs of the church’ (1 Tim.5:17). They have an obligation as God-ordained leaders to respond and, if necessary, lead others to respond appropriately to God’s direction. To me at least, this is an important aspect of weighing prophetic gift.

    Is your question because you don’t think elders are justified in weighing prophecy? Or have you come across particular ‘weighing’ by elders that you feel is inappropriate and not sanctioned by 1 Cor.14:29?

  3. Sadly your article does give that impression. I agree with the first comment. Perhaps this was not your intention, but this is a perfect example of those who feel they have been ‘chosen’ to lead. You and i are the same. The best any of us can do is help others to live life, full of experience, maintained belief and above all hope.

  4. Thanks for your comment Anon. I’m sure there were limitations in how I expressed the original article and I was glad to be able to clarify following the first comment which highlighted some of those – one of the blessings of blogging I guess!

    However, I absolutely share your conviction that whatever role or place God has for us, all Christians are to help others ‘live life’ and to lead others into better, deeper, richer experiences of God.

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