“I am Elizabeth” Bible Study
Lesson 9—I Prophesy
Early in my Christian walk, I took part in a Bible study about spiritual gifts. I giggled out loud when I read that one of the gifts a person could have was the gift of prophecy. To my secular understanding, prophecy meant the ability to foretell the future. I definitely wanted that gift! Forget a crystal ball or tarot cards, just ask Carol.
During that study however, I learned that prophecy, in the Biblical meaning, is simply speaking on behalf of God. A prophet is someone who speaks for God or teaches or spreads the word of God. Sometimes that includes visions of future events. But not always.
Elizabeth raised a prophet. Her son, John the Baptist was the last Old Testament prophet recorded in Scripture. Even though his ministry is recorded in the New Testament section of our Bible, his ministry foretold the coming of Jesus, the Messiah—just like all those Old Testament prophets did. After Jesus came, any subsequent prophets come under God’s New Covenant and are thus New Testament prophets.
Elizabeth’s husband, says Scripture, also prophesized.
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied (Luke 1:67).
Bible prophecy is not simply defined as speaking of future events. Rather, prophecy is more typically an utterance or instruction, inspired by God through the Holy Spirit. Thus Bible commentaries often refer to Elizabeth’s greeting of Mary as prophesizing:
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:41-43).
Here we see that first, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she exclaimed loudly that Mary was carrying her Lord. That’s prophesizing the coming of the Lord for sure, whether Scripture uses the specific word prophesy or not. She was allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through her and acknowledge the very presence, along with the future birth, of her Lord.
What if we take Elizabeth’s example one step further? As Christians the Holy Spirit lives within us. Our bodies are the Holy Spirit’s temple where He resides. He can speak through us. He can use us to share God’s truth with others.
Using Elizabeth’s example, what if we, too raise our children to speak for God or teach or spread the Word of God? What if we allow the Holy Spirit to speak loudly through us? What if we do nothing more than allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us?
If Elizabeth were here, she would say this was her story. She raised a prophet who foretold of the coming of the Messiah. And she prophesized herself.
Who are we to God? When we recognize that God desires us to share His teaching with others and to be a prophet of the Gospel, we understand how God might see His women of faith. We can respond:
I am like Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
- Do you speak for God; share His teachings; spread His word?
- How might you begin or do more of this type of prophesizing?
- How does this idea of being a prophet correspond with Jesus’ commission for us to go into the world and make disciples of Him?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, we know that every word you ever spoke is a truth people need to hear. Please help us speak for you. Help us share you with the world. Amen.