Word Study propheteia, prophesy

This is a summary developed from the table below. It provides the possible meanings of the Greek word προφητεύω prophēteúō as it occurs in all verses in the New Testament.  Of course, developing universally acceptable categories isn’t possible since some usages are ambiguous. Nevertheless, I looked at their contexts and tried to determine a reasonable meaning for each occurrence. Here are the results.

Greek word: προφητεύω, prophēteúō
Meaning:   prophet, to prophecy, prophesied, prophecying, prophetesses
Strong’s #: G4395
Frequency:  28 occurrences

Have knowledge of the present

Luke 22:64

Predict the Future

Matt. 11:13; 15:7; Mark 7:6; John 11:51; 1 Pet. 1:10; Jude 14;

Proclaim and/or Predict

Matt. 7:22; Luke 1:67; Acts 2:17-18; 19:6; 1 Cor. 11:4-5; 13:9; 14:1, 3, 4, 5, 24, 31, 39; Rev. 10:11; 11:3

Prophetesses

Acts 21:9

Reveal the present

Matt. 26:68; Mark 14:65

Here’s more information gleaned from the Scriptures.

Men and women can prophecy (1 Cor. 11:4-5)
Prophecy can be from the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:67; Acts 2:17-18; 19:6)
Prophecy can be predictive (Matt. 11:13; 15:7, etc.), exhortative (1 Cor. 14:3), and reveal the present (Matt. 26:68)
Prophecy convicts unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:24)
Prophecy edifies the church (1 Cor. 14:4)
Prophecy is for edification, exhortation, and consolation (1 Cor. 14:3)
Prophecy one after another in church (1 Cor. 14:31)
Prophecying is greater than speaking in tongues unless the tongue is interpreted (1 Cor. 14:5)
The gift of prophecy should be sought by believers (1 Cor. 14:1, 39)
Unbelievers can prophesy (John 11:51)
Women can be prophets (Acts 21:9)

The following table presents every occurrence of the Greek word προφητεύω, prophēteúō, which means prophet, to prophecy, prophesied, prophecying.

 

Address
“prophet, to prophecy, prophesied, prophecying”
Strong’s # 4395, προφητεύω, prophēteúō

Possible
Meaning

Matt. 7:22
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’”
Proclaim and/or Predict

Matt. 11:13
“For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.”
Predict the future

Matt. 15:7
“You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you.”
Predict the future

Matt. 26:68
“and said, ‘Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?’”
Reveal the present

Mark 7:6
“And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.”
Predict the future

Mark 14:65
“Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.”
Reveal the present

Luke 1:67
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying”
Proclaim and/or Predict

Luke 22:64
“and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, “Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?”
Have knowledge of present

John 11:51
“Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,”
Predict the future

Acts 2:17
“‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS.’”
Proclaim and/or Predict

Acts 2:18
“EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

Acts 19:6
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

Acts 21:9
“Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.
Prophetesses

1 Cor. 11:4
“Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 11:5
“But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 13:9
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 14:1
“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 14:3
“But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 14:4
“One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 14:5
“Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 14:24
“But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 14:31
“For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Cor. 14:39
“Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

1 Pet. 1:10
“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,”
 Predict the future

Jude 14
“It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones,’”
Predict the future

Rev. 10:11
“And they said to me, ‘You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.’”
Proclaim and/or Predict

Rev. 11:3
“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Proclaim and/or Predict

 

Dictionaries and Lexicons consulted

 

“To foretell things to come…to declare truths through the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit whether by prediction or otherwise…To tell forth God’s message.”

Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000

“to speak under the influence of divine inspiration, with or without reference to future events—‘to prophesy, to make inspired utterances.’ προφήτευσον, τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας σε; ‘prophesy, Who hit you?’ Lk 22:64; ἐπροφήτευσεν ὅτι ἔμελλεν Ἰησοῦς ἀποθνῄσκειν ‘he prophesied that Jesus was about to die’ Jn 11:51.”

Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.

 

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