It is our responsibility to judge prophetic words we get, read, or hear for ourselves, the nation, and nations. It doesn’t matter who gives it. It can be the most trusted, accurate, and proved prophet in the land, and we have the duty and responsibility to test the Word. Even the most accurate prophets and prophetic people can miss it. No “word” is infallible except the Word of God we find in Scripture.
Purpose of Prophetic Words
The purpose of a prophetic word is revelatory in nature. It reveals what is concealed and declares the future. A prophetic word should edify, comfort, and encourage. They can also bring a warning, correction, confirmation, and instruction. Instructional or directional words require more for us to do, which I will mention further down. Whatever the Word, we are responsible for judging prophetic words, also referred to as “testing a word.”
3 Tips to Testing a Word
Judge the Word, Not the Person. The spirit of God is in us, but it comes through a human filter. God is infallible. We are not.
Determine the Source. Words can come from three sources—the spirit of God, the flesh, or the enemy. Not everyone who prophesies to you is prophesying in the right spirit, intentional or not.
Take the Word back to God. The simplest version of testing a word is to ask Holy Spirit a few questions. Was this you? What parts of the word were from You, and what was from another source?
Since prophecy comes through a human filter, there can be a mixture. Most of it can be God, but some parts could unintentionally source from the minister’s flesh. For these reasons, we must learn to judge prophetic words.
How to Judge Prophetic Words
Now that we have a few tips for testing words let’s dive into some specifics about judging words. Here are 14 questions to ask.
Does the prophetic word…
- Glorify Jesus, you, or the person giving the word?
- Line up with Scripture and the character and heart of the Father?
- Point you to Jesus?
- Lead you into idolatry?
- Establish a new doctrine?
- Produce freedom or fear, life or death?
- Seek to Control?
- Seem generic or ambiguous?
- Bring confusion?
- Confirm what God has already been saying to you?
- Bear witness to your spirit?
- Stir your spirit to seek God?
- Edify, comfort, or encourage?
- Exalt the person giving the prophetic word, or God?
Now it Comes to Pass. Right?
Once you’ve received a word, it’s automatically going to come to pass, right? Not exactly. The only prophecy that is guaranteed to come to pass in God’s sovereignty is the Biblical prophecy found in Scripture.
According to John Paul Jackson, only a very small percentage of prophecy today will come to pass without any action on our part. He says that approximately 90-95% of prophetic words require something of us. If this is true, which I believe it to be, then we need prophetic wisdom for our prophetic words, especially if it’s directional, instructional, or a word pointing to the future.
Prophetic wisdom is insight from the Holy Spirit. Where we often miss it is in the interpretation and application of a word. So once we have tested the word, what’s the next step? Ask for prophetic wisdom. Here are some questions to start.
- What does this prophecy mean to me and my life?
- What do you want me to do with this prophetic word?
- How do I apply the word to my life?
- What’s my next step?
- What is my part in bringing it to pass?
Prophecy is a Weapon of Warfare
Prophecy is a weapon of warfare. We have to “make war” with the words spoken. 1 Timothy 1:18 says to use prophetic words to wage warfare. Whether it be a word spoken in a sermon, from a prophetic minister, a prophet, or Scripture, we are charged to decree it. Say it out loud. Pray it. Speak what has been spoken. If it came from the Father, He will join the fight with you.