Forget the mountains of books, articles, blogs, discussions, sermons, pamphlets and commentaries that try to "explain" it - the facts of the Bible are simple and easy to understand. Why would our God, who loves us deeply, and wants all of us to succeed make His word hard to understand?
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
I believe that if you talked to any child that has been taught about God and knows the stories from the Bible they can easily tell you how simple God's message is; God loves us, we should love Him and we should do what He says...
As we mature in our faith we learn to understand HOW we do that and start developing a sense of boundaries (WHERE God wants us) and WHAT we need to do. Then we start analyzing the word, trying to find that nugget of information that will get us closer in our understand of the God we love. This is awesome and worthy of our time and God is worth the effort.
Sometimes we get too smart for our own britches...
After living on this earth for over 4 decades ONE of the things I've learned is this:
Just because something is right
does not make it IMPORTANT.
Here's an easy one. We know that Jesus washed the disciples feet and we know that it was a powerful statement of how he wanted us to treat each other. However, I have never washed my brother's feet, nor has a brother washed mine. Why? Because we understand what that meant and that He was not telling us to specifically wash the feet of those around us, but to attend to their most basic needs. That there is nothing we shouldn't do for our fellow man. That one is easy...
This Sunday in our bible class we were talking about Joseph and the teacher took us off on a tangent that was more confusing than anything. IMHO, it was an attempt to look smart or at the very least just ill-advised.
Through a series of true statements and bible concepts the teacher showed that you could exchange the word testify for prophesy. That prophesying was simply bringing a specific message from the bible to someone that needs that message. It happens all the time...no doubt.
However, he muddied the lines between being a "prophet" and (as he described it) "prophesying". Christianity runs into this problem all the time...SEMANTICS.
You say "prophet" and I think Jeremiah, Abraham, John the Baptist, Jesus. Others (some who claim to be "Christian", others who do not) in our world think Jesus, Joseph Smith, Muhammad, Ellen G, White, Benny Hinn. Any responsible, mature Christian understands the rift between true biblical representations and the world view of "Christianity". Sunday, our teacher made it easy for less mature Christians and non-Christians in the class to make an erroneous connection between prophets declared by God in His word to "modern-day" prophets. I know that he did not tell the class that we have prophets today, but here is my question:
What USEFUL purpose is served by introducing such an extremely loaded word such as "prophesying" to our class when we already understand the concept and call it testifying or ministering.
My answer...none...other than to make yourself look smart or cause confusion. Leave such theological discussions for your trip to Starbucks with other mature Christians.