What Is the Meaning of ‘Prophecy’ in the Bible?

meaning of prophecy in the bible

What image comes to mind when you think of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible? When I think of the Old Testament prophets, I often have a limited perspective and mainly focus on how their God-inspired declarations connect to other passages of Scripture. In the margins and footnotes of our study Bibles (and certainly in Logos!), we have tools to help us do just that, quickly linking related passages of the Old and New Testaments. But when we simply move from one verse to another, jumping between prophetic foretelling and fulfillment, are we missing out on important scriptural context and application?

In this clip, Dr. Paul Ferris examines the fundamental question, “What does ‘prophecy’ mean?”

Modern-day implications

The points Dr. Ferris raises have implications for how we should live in our present day before a holy God. Through a study of the Major Prophets, we see their primary focus anew: addressing their contemporaries, not simply predicting the future! By limiting our study on the prophets to their foretelling of future events, we miss out on their contemporary witness during their lifetime and how that witness speaks to our own sins and struggles.

Learn more about Dr. Ferris’ new course!

The prophets have much to teach us about how to live in a fallen world. When our newspaper headlines remind us daily that our world is changing beyond our control, we can become disillusioned; but the prophets point us to God’s plans—plans that span all of history and challenge us to live faithfully in our present day. There is much that we can learn from the biblical context of the prophets to strengthen our faith in God.

Get started with your study

In Logos Mobile Ed’s OT231 Survey of the Major Prophets, professor and author Paul Ferris is your guide to the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. For each book you’ll learn about these individuals who were drafted into God’s service came to understand the geopolitical and spiritual settings of their messages. You’ll observe key features and connections between the Old Testament Prophets and New Testament.

Study the identity and mission of the suffering servant of Isaiah 52–53, the theology of calling and renewal of covenant in Jeremiah, restoration proclamations in Ezekiel, and prophetic dreams and prayers in Daniel. Learn of the prophets’ role in God’s mission to restore his creation, tracing themes such as presence, blessing, and reconciliation leading to glory. Dr. Ferris concludes his engaging course with reflections on how to preach and teach the Prophets, using Jeremiah 17 as an example.

Join Dr. Paul Ferris on an adventure in the Major Prophets. Pre-order OT231 today!

Written by
Daniel Snoek
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Written by Daniel Snoek
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