Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

How do Cessasionists understand "despise not prophesyings" in this context?

  • 2
    Prophecy has a wide spectrum of meaning and scripture itself lends the word 'seer' emphasis in this regard and an 'overseer', overseeing a congregation will 'see' their condition and speak to it, just as did the Son of man to the seven churches of Asia, discerning their states and judging them. This is a gift, but it is not a 'miraculous' gift. It is a gift of discernment. Continuationists usually argue for more spectacular a gift. Cessationists contend for a gift of maturity, spiritual acuity, and discernment. They define the gift differently so that needs to be part of your question. +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


When speaking of a particular gift of prophecy, a Cessasionist does not understand it to imply predicting the future or manifesting miraculous knowledge. It is something a gifted preacher may still do today. But even so, that one should not 'despise something from God', does not carry with it the argument that one might suppose. One should not despise any gift, even those temporary gifts. Whenever God's gifts appear - one should not despise them.

And this prophecy, as to its exercise, is considered two ways:—First, precisely for the prediction or foretelling things to come; as the Greek word, and the Latin traduced from thence, do signify. So prophecy is a divine prediction of future things, proceeding from divine revelation. But the Hebrew נָבָא,—whence are נָבִיא, “a prophet,” and נְבוּאָה, “prophecy,”—is not confined unto any such signification, although predictions from supernatural revelation are constantly expressed by it. But in general, secondly, the word signifies no more but to speak out, interpret, and declare the mind or words of another. So God tells Moses that he would “make him a god unto Pharaoh,”—one that should deal with him in the name, stead, and power of God; and “Aaron his brother should be his prophet,” Exod. 7:1,—that is, one that should interpret his meaning and declare his words unto Pharaoh, Moses having complained of the defect of his own utterance. So prophets are the “interpreters,” the declarers of the word, will, mind, or oracles of God unto others. Such a one is described, Job 33:23. Hence, those who expounded the Scripture unto the church under the New Testament were called “prophets,” and their work “prophecy,” Rom. 12:6, 1 Cor. 14:31, 32; and under the Old Testament those that celebrated the praises of God with singing in the temple, according to the institution of David, are said therein to “prophesy,” 1 Chron. 25:2. And this name, נָבִיא, a “prophet,” was of ancient use; for so God termed Abraham, Gen. 20:7. Afterward, in common use, a prophet was called רֹאֶה and חֹזֶה, “a seer,” because of their divine visions (and this was occasioned from those words of God concerning Moses, Num. 12:6–8; and this being the ordinary way of his revealing himself,—namely, by dreams and visions,—prophets in those days, even from the death of Moses, were commonly called seers, which continued in use until the days of Samuel, 1 Sam. 9:9); and אִישׁ־אֱלֹהִים, “a man of God,” 1 Sam. 2:27; which name Paul gives to the preachers of the gospel, 1 Tim. 6:11, 2 Tim. 3:17. And it is not altogether unworthy of observation what Kimchi notes, that the verb נָבָא is most frequently used in the passive conjugation niphal, because it denotes a receiving of that from God by way of revelation which is spoken unto others in a way of prophecy. And as it lies before us as an extraordinary gift of the Holy Ghost, it is neither to be confined to the strict notion of prediction and foretelling, nor to be extended to every true declaration of the mind of God, but only to that which is obtained by immediate revelation. (Owen, J. (n.d.). The works of John Owen. (W. H. Goold, Ed.) (Vol. 3, pp. 129–130). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.)

  • And the immediate revelation may be by the Spirit of God to the mind of man through the Scriptures which, when relayed to others, becomes prophesy but can never contradict what is written? Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 12:35
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    @MikeBorden - Personally I see this 'inspired speaking' as within the framework of scripture as you 'describe in the comment but also extending out from it a bit in application related to a current situation. Nothing true can contradict the scripture. A dead soul can quote the Bible and communicate something but an inspired person who quotes the scripture may multiply understanding from the hearer like Jesus multiplied the fish. An inspired person is more powerful than a 50 theological professors that do not know the power of God in their life. Personally I put high value on this gift.
    – Mike
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 1:45
  • I did not know cessasionism allowed such a powerful working of the Spirit. Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 12:58

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