This is my 8th post in a series on 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25. This week we are looking at what I’ve numbered as the 16th (out of 22) commandment/guideline Paul lists on how to live our lives worthy of the gospel.
Do not despise prophecies (ESV) Do not treat prophecies with contempt (NIV) don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master (MSG) 1 Thessalonians 5:20
Prophecy is defined as “the foretelling or prediction of what is to come, something that is declared by a prophet, especially a divinely inspired prediction, instruction, or exhortation; a divinely inspired utterance or revelation” Based on this definition I have personally concluded that the prophecies Paul is referring to is God’s written word (the Bible). God didn’t write each book of the Bible Himself, with pen in hand, but He divinely inspired the writers of this great collection of books. The author of 1 Thessalonians (Paul) is one of those who God divinely inspired.
If we are to live lives worthy of the gospel, one of the commandments Paul includes in his instructions is “do not despise the Bible and what it says.” This struck a chord with me as I started to roll those words around in my mind. Let me drive it home. Paul is saying: Do not abhor the Bible and it’s Biblical teachings from the prophets He divinely inspired. Do not detest it. Loathe it, contemn it, scorn it or disdain it. Do not consider the Bible and it’s teachings unworthy of regard or meaning.
Whoa! Did that raise a feeling within you as you read those words? My first instinct is to say, “No problem, I can cross this one off my list. I don’t disregard, despise or detest the Word of God. Next!” However, the Holy Spirit quickly reigned me in as I considered the possibility that when I don’t study God’s word and know it as I should I can’t treat it with the love it deserves. We should never consider ourselves above studying God’s word, living by it and using it as our guiding force. If we brush God’s divinely inspired Words that He wrote to us aside, ignore them, save them for a rainy day, just listen to what others tell us about it or dismiss them as irrelevant in our daily lives we are failing to live in a way that honors Christ. Paul is very clear when he states, “Do not despise prophecies.” This ancient text is still alive, relevant and active. It’s God STILL speaking to us!
What can you do this week to start loving more prophesy, prophets and scripture? How can you work God’s divinely inspired word into your daily life so you are loving it and not despising it? I would love to hear from you and how you are planning to make a difference in studying God’s word. I always need all the tips I can get. Let’s work together!
Therefore (1) encourage one another and (2) build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to (3) respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and (4) to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (5) Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, (6) admonish the idle, (7) encourage the fainthearted, (8) help the weak, (9) be patient with them all. (10) See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but (11) always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (12) Rejoice always, (13) pray without ceasing, (14) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (15) Do not quench the Spirit. (16) Do not despise prophecies, (17) but test everything; (18) hold fast what is good. (19) Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, (20) pray for us. (21) Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I put you under oath before the Lord to (22) have this letter read to all the brothers. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25