Prophet And Teacher In The New Testament Period -- By: W. Harold Mare

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 009:3 (Summer 1966)
Article: Prophet And Teacher In The New Testament Period
Author: W. Harold Mare


Prophet And Teacher In The New Testament Period

By W. Harold Mare*

Professor of New Testament Language and Literature
Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

According to 1 Corinthians 12:28, 29 and Ephesians 4:11 the προφήτης and διδάσχαλος are set forth in the same contexts as two positions in the New Testament Church, and the natural assumption is that the meaning and functions of the two positions are different. However, it has been suggested that prophet in the new Testament Church and in passages such as the above simply means teacher. 1 Is this suggestion correct? Is there a simple redundancy or tautology when prophet and teacher are used together in a description of offices and functions in the New Testament Church? This is to be doubted when a study is made of the usage of the two ideas and functions in the period of the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament.

What then, is the relationship between the two positions and functions of προφήτης and διδάσχαλος of I Corinthians and Ephesians? Furthermore, how has this relationship developed from the usage of these concepts in the earlier part of the Apostolic period and in the period represented by the Gospels? How does this earlier usage of the word, prophet, in the New Testament compare with the general understanding and usage of the concept in the extra-biblical material in the inter-testamental and early New Testament period as exemplified in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha? We shall begin with the last question first.

Although popular thought today conceives of a prophet and his prophecy as concerned only with predicting future events, the Old Testament Hebrew word, nabhiʾ, strictly means “a spokesman, speaker, prophet “ 2 while the Greek word, προφήτης, indicates “one who speaks for a god and interprets his will to man” (in the classical sense), 3 and as a proclaimer and interpreter of divine revelation” (in the LXX and New Testament). 4 In a few cases the LXX uses προφήτης as a transla-

tion for hozeh and

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