What are the common characteristics of prophets?
Following are some traits commonly observed in those who have the motivational spiritual gift of prophecy. These traits can be used to benefit others, or they can be misused and thereby cause discord in the Body of Christ.
When a believer walks according to the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25), his unique perspective (in this case, prophecy) is demonstrated through traits that reflect the character of Christ. However, when a believer walks in “the flesh,” making choices that are determined by his sinful nature, his unique perspective is demonstrated through undesirable, ungodly traits. (See Galatians 5:16–17.)
Read these examples thoughtfully and prayerfully, and ask God to help you discern if your motivational gift is prophecy. If it is, be encouraged as you learn about the special virtue and wisdom that God has given you with this gift. Be warned of the temptation to misapply these Godly traits by failing to walk in the grace God gives you to use them righteously. (See Hebrews 12:15.)
Need to Express Themselves
Prophets need to express their thoughts and ideas verbally, especially when matters of right and wrong are involved. In the written account of the Gospels, Peter (who clearly had the gift of prophecy) spoke more often than any other disciple. He also became the spokesman for the early Church. (See Acts 2:14, 3:12, 4:8, 11:4.)
Misuse of this trait: Exposes without restoring
A prophet’s primary concern about stopping the spread of evil tends to motivate him to expose a sinner rather than restore him. However, the Bible instructs us as follows: “If any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). The prophet believes that exposure of sin is the first step of restoration and he should work to complete the process.
Quick Impressions of People
Prophets tend to make quick judgments about what they see and hear. They also tend to express their views before others speak. In the Gospels, Peter spoke first more than any other disciple did. (See Matthew 14:28; 15:15; 16:16, 22; 17:4; 19:27; John 6:68, 13:6.)
Misuse of this trait: Jumps to conclusions
Prophets tend to draw conclusions from a few known facts. Once a hasty conclusion has been made, prophets tend to look for confirming evidence. This action can result in their taking words and actions of the accused out of context in order to prove their points.
Alertness to Dishonesty
Prophets have an amazing ability to sense when someone or something is not what it appears to be. They react strongly to any form of deception or dishonesty. Peter may have sensed deception in Ananias and Sapphira, because he was prompted to question them about it. His condemnation resulted in their deaths. (See Acts 5:3–10.)
Misuse of this trait: Reacts harshly to sinners
When a prophet sees sin, he tends to denounce it so strongly that it can appear to others as “overkill.” After exposing the sin, the prophet tends to expect immediate repentance regardless of whether his rebuke was given in love or was even fully accurate. His motive in magnifying sin is to promote repentance.
Desire for Justice
Prophets tend to cut off those who sin so that justice will be done, others will be warned, and evil will not spread. Peter desired to cut off his offenders, and he asked Jesus how often he would have to forgive them. (See Matthew 18:21.)
Misuse of this trait: Being unforgiving and ending relationships with those who fail
It is difficult for a prophet separate the sin from the sinner. Therefore, he tends to reject them both with equal vigor. Those who hear his harshness interpret his denunciations as angry tirades and proud reactions. Peter’s epistles provide a balance of truth and love.
Open About Personal Faults
Prophets are as open about their own failures as they want others to be about theirs. When Christ appeared to the disciples, Peter fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8).
Misuse of this trait: Condemn themselves
The harsh judgments that prophets have for others, they also have for themselves. They tend to be extremely self-critical and feel worthless when they fail. After Peter denied Jesus, the heavenly messenger who proclaimed the Lord’s resurrection knew Peter’s need for extra reassurance of God’s love and said, “Go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there you shall see him, as he said unto you” (Mark 16:7).
Once prophets are committed to a cause, they are wholeheartedly involved in it. Within the context of their commitment, they are quick to respond to situations and opportunities. When Peter recognized Jesus walking on the water, he asked Jesus to bid him to come. (See Matthew 14:28.)
Misuse of this trait: Being impetuous
Because of his tendency to make quick decisions, a prophet can be impulsive and can vacillate between extremes. At first Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet; then he asked Jesus to wash his whole body! (See John 13:6–10.)
Loyalty to Truth vs. People
Prophets are loyal to truth even if it means cutting off relationships. When Jesus asked the disciples if they were also going to leave Him, Peter replied that he would stay because Christ had the words of eternal life. (See John 6:67–69.)
Misuse of this trait: Inappropriately speaking out
Whenever prophets see or hear something that is wrong, they feel responsible to speak out against it. It usually does not occur to them to ask, Whose responsibility is this? Do I have all the facts? Would it be best for me to take action at this time? Their primary focus is on the sin that needs to be dealt with—not on whether or not it is their responsibility to deal with it.
Willingness to Suffer for Right
Prophets are eager to embrace suffering when it comes as a result of standing for the truth or doing what is right. When he was beaten for obeying God rather than men, Peter rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus. (See Acts 5:29–42.)
Misuse of this trait: Lack tactfulness in rebuke
Prophets tend to be painfully direct when correcting others, regardless of who they are. This bluntness can cause the prophet embarrassment, as when Peter rebuked Jesus. (See Mark 8:31–33.)
Persuasive in Defining Truth
Prophets have a special ability to be articulate in defining what is right and what is wrong. Great conviction was brought to thousands on the Day of Pentecost when Peter pointed out, “Ye have taken [Jesus], and by wicked hands have crucified and slain [Him]” (Acts 2:23).
Misuse of this trait: Dwell on the negative
Prophets tend to divide everything into two classes: right or wrong. Once they label a person or activity as evil or wrong, that judgment tends to be fixed in their minds, and they often feel compelled to persuade others to agree with them.
Are You a Prophet?
Do you recognize any of these positive characteristics or their misapplication as ones that you have demonstrated? Do the motivations of a prophet guide your decisions and actions? If so, rejoice, because God has given you a unique responsibility in the Body of Christ!
If these characteristics, and their misuses, do not reflect your motivations, we encourage you to read and study similar information about each of the other six spiritual motivational gifts (serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, organizing, and mercy). Ask the Lord to reveal your spiritual gift to you. God will show you how He has gifted you. Be diligent!
As each of us identifies his or her motivational gift, he or she will be better equipped to achieve maximum fruitfulness with minimum weariness. As we exercise our gifts, we experience personal fulfillment and a deep sense of joy.
Russell Kelfer, in his excellent book titled Discovering Your Spiritual Gift, gives us an excellent word picture related to the motivational spiritual gifts assigned by God: “This isn’t a gift for you to put on the mantle like a trophy to admire. It is like a certain kind of glove that you put on that allows your hands to do the work of the ministry they were called to do. It is like a certain kind of spiritual shoes you wear to take you where you need to go” (Kelfer, page 10). Let’s put on those custom-designed gloves and shoes and get to work!
The articles on spiritual gifts have been developed from a variety of sources, including the booklet, Understanding Spiritual Gifts.
Praise God for letting me know this.. Godbless u
This was so helpful to me! For quite some time, I have wondered why the attributes you've mentioned are so ingrained within me, why others did not see things as I did, and why they couldn't understand or relate to me. This has greatly assisted in further confirming my gift, as well as the needed areas of maturity that I thought were just the way I was built as a prophet. The grace of JESUS Christ of Nazareth is needed to function completely/properly in this gift. It is so easy to operate in the arm of the flesh. Thank you for sharing the revelation that the Holy Spirit provided!
May our Lord bless you for your help. Before reading this article, I was feeling completely misplaced and frustrated. This article simply described me, so I could understand why I am how I am and why I do what I do, despite the consequences. Now I finally realize what our Lord has made of me and what I shall do. May Christ keep you in his faithful love and guidance of the Holy Spirit!
I cried after reading this. I have been wondering for SOOO long why I would always seem so different than everyone else around me. I was always told that prophecy was "future telling" so I just discounted myself from that. After reading through this, and praying for a bit, I realized that God has been calling me "prophet" for years now! I'd not made the connection since I was given a false (or at least incomplete) version of what this gift is about. Also, after doing some more reading...I also found that feeling "misplaced" within the church community seems to be quite common for people with this gift, at least until they find out what prophecy is and how they fit into God's plan for using this gift within His church.
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, I have greatly suffered for many decades being ostracised by 'normal family and other enemies' and often referred to as a misfit, unable to relate to the average person. Last night, the LORD confirmed that HIS will is being done, whether man approves or not. The ONLY way to find solace and total peace is to rest in the conviction that man is not my judge, but the ONE WHO formed and called me in wisdom. May all who go through the crucible of human rejection as a result of their authenticity, be strengthened by this conviction: HE Who is your MAKER, finds delight in seeing you fulfill your heavenly purpose. Look not to man, pitiful in stature, but to HIM WHO knows all and deserves our praise.
Wow...I thought my prophesy was a personality flaw. It's cool to know and understand
This break down described my build up in detail which provided me with understanding of why I am the way that I am. My experiences in this pilgrimage life involves the inability of people to quite put their finger on it which makes it hard for them to understand my personality. These characteristics, which are all fitting is the answer to why I experience it. The However, the beauty of Christ's love that dwells in me attracts which gives me the opportunity to be a loving vessel to others. God is love. However, I see no grays because there is either light or darkness. This is what makes me honest when approached with questions. Some people find it hard to handle truth because truth is often the opposite of what one desires. But love extended after truth is granted seals a heart with the seed of truth planted. A bleeding heart once pieced with the sword must be stitched to heal properly or else the bleeding will drop out the medicine that once was planted and there is no restoration. This is not an example of a good job when dealing with people because the gifts of God is to draw men closer to God and not from Him.
Thank you for the spiritual in site. This insite has help to understand my gifts and why i am as i am. There were things i didn't understand about me. Your teaching clear things up in my walk as a Prophet.
This article really helped explain why I am the way I am. My question is now what? What do I do with this gift? Where in the body of Christ do I fit in (in what area of church would I better serve)? Thank you!
Re Linda Coronado
Linda, I think the prudent step would be to get comfortable with your newly found identity in Christ and with respect to ministerial direction, wait for His leading.
In the meantime, get an understanding of the other gifts. And be ready to serve in *all* capacities in which ever door opens. Just remember who is the pilot and who is the co-pilot - God can use anyone whose heart is in the right place!
Wow thank you so much for this article, I have been asking myself why I am the way I am and people seem to find it difficult to be around me because they don't want to hear the truth, some even call me miss perfect now this article made me understand my true identity. Today before I read this article I prayed to God asking him who am I? Why was I born? and for what? He answered and this was a greatest confirmation for me.
Ok .....so I pretty much fit into all those traits ......I still feel like there is an invisible hedge stopping me
From breaking through ....its so frustrating to the point of giving up ......its like I am being held at an arms length away
Thank u so much it really helps to explain a lot of things & of my many clashes with people. May God's Holy Spirit guide us to all truth & give us mercy to those whom He calls us to.
Thank you for this. It is important for those with this unique gift to not confuse pleasing God, with pleasing men. By its nature, the gift of prophecy is uncomfortable to most, and criticism from men is not always evidence that a prophet has sinned. That being said, that does not mean that prophets should just do whatever their impulse. Just like every other human, a prophet will fall short of Christ. I love the way this article puts those "misuses". When a gift is so opposed in general it's very difficult for the souls with the challenge to know where they've come up short.
I am so grateful that after all these years I have truly came to turns with who God has called me to be. I am this description, the good and the bad.,but as I continue my journey in the Lord I ask him to give me more Grace to walk correctly in my call.I have been shunned, left out,misunderstood and so many other things. BUT I WONT COMPROMISE. Gods mouthpieces are needed in this hour. Let's stans up and be counted.
Although these are common traits listed here, it is of utmost importance to etch the Word of God into our hearts, mind and soul. The traits or personality habits listed here must not be a way of justifying how we always react to a certain situation. We must still rely on the Word of God as an absolute to prompt us to act appropriately.
Wow! This is so accurate! I needed to read this. All of the judgement, rejection and abandonment makes sense. I've felt so out of place for so long and Ilike I needed to change. I did and still do need to mature in the gift, I suppose that's a life-long quest, but who I am is a prophet and I accept that now wholeheartedly, even if that means walking alone.
God is so good to leading me here. This article explains me perfectly. I've always felt and been different than everyone else, but never really understood why. My mom has told me that she never in her life has ever met anyone like me, and she didn't mean that in a bad way. She thinks I'm special. I have felt isolated and lonely at times and have had a hard time making friends and keeping friends, even though I love people and the Body of Christ very much. I will be praying that the Lord will show me how to use this gift, in conjunction with the gift of mercy that he has blessed me with. An interesting combination to be sure, almost seems contradictory.
This was very good info. I have known for years the calling and mantle. Walking it out is another thing. Its a wonderful calling but with discernment we must walk before God handling all He gives us with care. Those of us with this calling are meant to be prayerful before speaking and releasing words to those around us. It has to be with the right spirit not out of our flesh. We can speak the truth and yet it come out of a wrong attitude/spirit. We must wait on God and speak as He speaks to avoid the pitfalls or negative traits that can come with this calling. Most of the negative can be avoided by submitting to God first and foremost. Many times when we hear a word we need to submit it to God and He may just want us to pray for a while before releasing the word. It could be days or months before we can release or never. I have felt so many times like a wrecking ball. But that is what we are called to do, under the hand of God that is the difference between walking in the flesh and letting God speak through us. Pulling and tearing up those things that need to go... but ... we do it with God's heart for those we are sent to. Not with what we believe needs to be done. So much damage has come from those who may have this calling and never allow the Holy Spirit to refine them in this area. Thank you, loved this teaching! God bless.
i agree with just about everything if not everything that has been mentioned about the traits of prophets. Don't forget that God can deliver messages via the mouths of donkeys and even rocks so keep your pride at bay. My brothers and sisters let me encourage you the prophets to continue to seek holiness, righteousness, and your undying love for our God who is the holy and righteous one. You are prophets because you seek and love him, and are willing to go above and beyond what most will do. I pray for you all that God give you strength and wisdom in increasing measure so that you all may serve him on a higher level. We are in the last days so take your places according to his good and perfect will. Amen
Andrew, I'm not certain if you will ever see this. But I feel convicted to speak a message of revelation to you. You speak of an invisible force that is stopping you, and indeed there is. In fact it's only objective is to influence you to give up so at the moment, it is winning. However there is a victory offered through your struggle.
First we must appreciate the certainty in God's Word in the way it is delivered. We are given Promises of redemption, resurrection, and restoration. In this alone we should find peace and rest within our proclaimed identity in Christ. If you are feeling restless due to lack of breaking through, it is not because His Promises have changed, It is simply that your understanding of these Promises have changed. Through Jesus we see moments where He pauses in His ministry to pray in a private place. We also must take note of an entire adolescence of growth that Jesus endured before beginning His ministry.
So there is a time to be still and a time dedicated for growth alone.
If you feel immobilized spiritually, have certain faith that He is still in control. His use for you is not determined by your own desire to reach a certain level or produce a certain fruit. While it is admirable that you yearn for something greater, you mustn't allow your driven subconsciousness to dictate your peace in His control over your life.
I urge you to stop trying to reach for what's in front of you, and instead have faith that God will bring it directly to you. Focus on growing in Christ, and when you are meant to reach it, He will have brought it down to arms length
Good luck on your journey my brother
This was very helpful. Thank you.
I have felt for a long time that God has given me this spiritual gift but have questioned many times my pride perhaps desiring this to be true. I'm afraid sometimes my speaking up at church is simply my arrogance thinking I have all the answers and worrying that others perceive me that way. I use to never say anything in church and have been saved since I was a child but now as an adult I sometimes have a hard time staying silent. I can rarely contain what is in my heart and sometimes I feel as if it would burst if I didn't speak. I fear I enjoy hearing myself speak to much and feeling the exhilaration of speaking boldly in a large crowd is only to appease my own selfish desire to feel special or needed. I'm so frustrated with church these days and feel my role in the church body is not needed and their is no place to serve. I feel a desire to teach and speak forth what God has layed on my heart but it seems as if the church doesn't think very highly of spiritual gifts. I feel as those they place in teaching roles are only put their because of man made institutions that teach theology and has given them authority in the eyes of the church to teach. Gods word makes it very clear though that spiritual gifts have nothing to do with education and it is God who anoints and calls alone. I pray for revival and that Christ will soon reveal his role for me in the church.
I, like many others who have commented on your article before me, agree that this is an exceptional article. It was greatly appreciated; for it more fully explained all that I have experienced, for I have experienced much. The Lord called me into service in early 1988; and even though I may not have fully understood the implications of the calling, I have learned much since that day. I thank you for your article which has enlightened me further.
good word thank you...i knew i was wired differently ..didnt know why ..Lord said "its your call daniel, it will not look the same as others".. your post helps a lot thank you!!
Praise the Lord for this information and all of these people who have commented!
The best article to date that I have read.It is very accurate. Please write an article on how to develop in this gift. I would like a better understanding on how to use it.
Thank you for your comment. For more information on spiritual gifts, check out the book Understanding Spiritual Gifts, available in our store.
It helped me alot. Thank you.
Am really blessed, and incouraged
This was so good and very informative. I relate to so many comments on here. I teetered between this gift and exhortation a bit. People have told me my tone and delivery can be harsh, then I condemn myself and don’t feel I can be used. I submit to God daily. Sometimes I want to muzzle my mouth bc I don’t seem to always say the right things or I sugar coat the truth so it doesn’t come out as bad, which is not good either. I continue to pray and ask Holy Spirit for guidance.
Prophecy is my gifts and (misuse of this trait), I have done too. I pray from this day forward, I will have an open heart ❤ to do it God’s way from this day forward. Thank you - now I see.
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