The Office of the Prophet in New Testament Times -- By: James L. Boyer

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 01:1 (Spring 1960)
Article: The Office of the Prophet in New Testament Times
Author: James L. Boyer


The Office of the Prophet in New Testament Times

James L. Boyer

Head of the Department of Greek
Grace College

This article was read before the National Fellowship of Brethren Ministers, Winona Lake, Indiana, August 19, 1959.

The subject of this study has its primary reference to a specific aspect, namely, the office of prophet in the New Testament church. However, for the sake of thoroughness, and in order to see this particular office in its proper light, we need first to look generally at the whole teaching of the New Testament regarding prophecy. Accordingly, I shall divide this study into two parts: first, generally, the office and function of prophecy in the New Testament; and second, specifically, the office and function of prophecy in the New Testament church.

I have attempted to study and to include every reference to prophets or prophecy or to prophesying in the entire New Testament, with the exception of those many passages where the reference is obviously to the prophets of the Old Testament. Not all of these references will be cited, but it has been my purpose not to omit from consideration a single scripture pertaining to the subject.

I. Prophets and Prophecy in the New Testament.

A. Meaning of terms.

To begin with, prophecy in the New Testament is the same as prophecy in the Old Testament; it is a continuation of the some office and function. Evidence of this is to be seen in that the expressions are used as well-known terms without any need to explain them or any effort to alter them. The New Testament opens with John the Baptist preaching to multitudes who have gone out to hear one who they thought was a prophet. By for the majority of the references in the New Testament to the words prophet, prophecy, or to prophesy, are direct references to the Old Testament prophets or to their words or writings. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Daniel, Enoch, Samuel, Elijah, and Zachariah are referred to as prophets, and one of the commonest expressions in the Gospels calls attention to the ways in which Christ fulfills the words or writings of the Old Testament prophets.

Thus, the paper which has preceded this one is actually the foundation on which this or any study of New Testament prophecy must be built. (Note: See article by S. H. Bess.)

B. Prophetic function not lost in Gospel period.

When the New Testament period opens, the prophetic function was not entirely lost or forgotten. The years between the close of the Old Testament and the opening of the New are often referred to as the silent years, when the voice of the prophet was no longer heard in Israel. And there is a sense in which this is true, for from Malachi until John no one is to be found w...

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