Prophecy As A Means Of Grace

Means of grace?

Sacraments. Prayer. Baptism. Scripture reading. Spiritual friendship. But prophecy? Save that for the Benny Hinn’s on TBN.

Now here’s a problem.

Read 1 Timothy 1:18-19. And read slowly.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.

How does Paul encourage Timothy to wage war here? By remembering and meditating on the prophecies that were made about him. We’re good at talking about what Paul said about waging warfare in Ephesians 6, but to get a complete picture of Paul’s theology on the topic we need to consider this verse.

Sam Storms speculates (helpfully I think) on some possibilities for the content of Timothy’s prophecies:

In Timothy’s case, perhaps someone spoke powerfully of a biblical promise, drawn from a particular biblical text, that applied directly to him. Someone may have had a vision or dream that reinforced to Timothy his fitness and giftedness for ministry which would prove especially helpful when those older than he began to question his qualifications.

Regardless, in Paul’s mind it was inconceivable for Timothy to fight the fight of faith apart from the consolation those prophecies ought to have provided.

The unfortunate problem with anti-charismatics is they are depriving their people of a potentially essential means of grace. Putting all the showiness of ‘Charismania’ aside, prophecy, when correctly practiced, is a great help to the people of God. It’s a shame that many will not even consider this as they’ve ruled out the possibility of charismatic theology being true due to nothing more than a socioeconomic prejudice against charismatics.