1 Corinthians 13:9 Is Not A Get Out Of Jail Free Card for False Prophets and Prophesies.

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part,” – 1 Corinthians 13:9 (NIV) Saint Paul

Many people teach that the interpretation of this verse is that a person can give a prophecy while claiming that their words of from God, and still get some or all of the words that they attributed to God wrong and still be called a prophet.

This is nowhere near what the verse means nor the idea that Saint Paul of Taurus was trying to convey when he penned these words.

The spirit filled and word of faith church has had a major teaching problem for some time. They take a scripture out of it’s context by only reading that one verse and not the context supporting and surrounding it. Then using it alone as a proof text and foundation for a new doctrine. When this happens, by removing the context, it allows the preacher/teacher to change the interpretation and application of the scripture without the surrounding text conflicting with their new interpretation and application.

The context around the verse 1 Corinthians 13:9 has to do with knowledge, prophecy, and “tongues” as they are in the process of fading away, slowing down, or even ceasing to be used by the Holy Spirit because of the greater revelation of who is God through Jesus the Christ and the returning of Jesus the Christ.

The meaning of the verse is connected to the previous verse, and then continuing with the thought the Author is conveying in the following verse.

1 Corinthians 13:8-12 (NIV)

[8] Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. [9] For we know in part and we prophesy in part, [10] but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. [11] When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. [12] Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

When read in context we can see that author’s main thought is centered around the idea that spiritual gifts will be needed less and many will fade away as we know Jesus better. Saint Paul’s main theme in this section of the letter is that the true sign of maturity in Christ is not one ability to function in spiritual gifts, but a growth in the grace of Charity/Love.

Making the verse say that it is “ok to be completely wrong while claiming God said something”, which he did not, is not the intention of this verse, nor is it the proper application, but instead it give a very dangerous application to not bring correction to whom would use the Lords name in vain using “God Said” or God told me” to imply God’s authority to their own words from their vain imagination.

The idea that people could build ministries that take in large amounts of donations and gather large amounts of followers to people who claim to be prophets who sometimes get there prophecy right and sometimes get it wrong, has become the fruit of this wrong interpretation and application of this verse. This is not good fruit for the body of Christ.

Wrongly applying the interpretation and application of this verse as a pass on missing words attributed to God is not consistent with who scriptures throughout the Bible have given clear instructions on how God describes what is false prophecy and what should be done with false prophecies and false prophets. This is why it’s so dangerous to preach and teach this verse out of context.

Many will claim that this verse is proof that there is an “Old Testament prophet” and “New Testament Prophets”. Which is not true, no where in the New Testament is there any verse or teaching that claims that the gift of the prophet or the standard to judge prophecy has changed. Many will agree that the “Old Testament standard” of a true prophet is that the all the words come 100% to pass and false prophet’s words don’t. Even the serpent in the Garden and Satan temping Jesus in the desert were only partially correct when claiming “God said”.

The test for prophecy is Pass or fail, there is no partial pass. But many who are not 100% accurate in the words they attribute to God still want to be called prophet, and still want to have their influence, their teaching platforms, their conferences, and their financial donations to keep coming in.

This is why there is a wide spread misuse and wrong interpretation and application of this verse. It allows for major ministries to claim there is the Old Testament standard for prophetic ministries but they don’t apply to them because they are a “New Testament Prophet”.

The Bible simply doesn’t teach that there are Old Testament and Then New Testament Prophets with two different standards of Judging their prophesies. John the Baptis was in the New Testament and was called by Jesus a prophet.

Luke 7:26-28 (NIV) But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

And in Acts in one example when Luke writes about prophets he doesn’t say the where “New Testaments Prophets”, but instead just the Prophets.

Acts 11:27-28 (NIV) During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)

Notice Luke was careful to include that not only did he use the term prophet to describe them, he makes sure to let his reader know that the Prophet’s prophecy did come to pass.

Later Luke again use the term Prophets and does not say “New Testament Prophets” in referring to Judas and Silas.

Acts 15:32 (NIV) Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.

We can go own with other authors of New Testament and find that they don’t make a distinction between Old Testament Prophets and New Testament Prophets. In the early church there were prophets with the same ministries by the Holy Spirit that came before the birth, death, and resurection of Jesus.

There is just no such thing as a so called “New Testament Prophet” with a different standard of judging false prophecy as false prophets. There are just Prophets.

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