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New Defender's Study Bible Notes

5:20 prophesyings. At this time of writing, the New Testament was not yet given; in fact, this epistle was quite possibly the first New Testament book written. Consequently, the Spirit gave the gift of prophecy to chosen individuals in the churches for divinely inspired instruction of the different congregations. This gift was considered next in importance to that of the apostle (I Corinthians 12:28), because of the need for establishing these early churches on a strong Biblical and Christ-centered foundation, free from the influences of both paganism and legalism. Evidently, however, some of these prophetic revelations were uncomfortable—just as is sound Bible teaching today—and there developed a tendency for the churches to pay more heed to those with spectacular gifts such as gifts of miracles, healings and tongues. Hence it was necessary for Paul to admonish the Thessalonians to “despise not prophesyings.” Later he also gave a mild rebuke to the Corinthians for putting too much emphasis on the gift of tongues: “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:39-40). For “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (I Corinthians 14:3). Prophesyings were thus vitally important in the apostolic churches, but they would soon cease, evidently after the New Testament was completed (see I Corinthians 13:8; Revelation 22:18-19). The gift of teaching would then take over this type of ministry, for this gift is needed in all churches of all times to convey, explain and apply the full and complete teachings of the Scriptures. The message of this verse for today’s church, therefore, is: “Despise not the teachings of the Word and those who teach them.”

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