The Purpose Of Prophecy
by Philip Jones
The Bible says this about itself: ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Do we believe that all Scripture is ‘God-breathed’? Let us think through the implications of this statement for a moment. If God actively inspired each book, chapter and verse that we have in the canon of Scripture, then each passage of text has a divinely-inspired purpose, i.e. each passage carries a message that God wants us to know.
This assumption leads us to believe that God also determined that Scripture should contain each of the different types of literature that we find there, for example the Law, the Gospels and the Wisdom Literature, and that each has its own unique (although sometimes overlapping) purpose. So, ask yourself this question: what is the unique purpose of prophecy, as a class of Scripture? It is not as easy to give an answer to this question as it is for some of the other types of Scripture. It is relatively easy to see the unique purpose of the Law, or the Gospels, but what of Prophecy? A simplistic answer might be that prophecy tells us about future events, so that we can be better prepared for them. But this answer does not explain the purpose of the vast majority of prophetic scriptures, which deal with events that have long-since passed. So how might we answer this question? The following are fairly typical responses.