For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not
a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom
of God is greater than he
No greater prophet than John? That would include, apparently, Isaiah, Jeremiah,
Amos, even Moses. Yet, according to Jesus, John was the greatest of them
all? How fascinating, especially because, unlike Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos,
and MosesJohn the Baptist had no writings in the Bible, and yet John
was a greater prophet than all those who, at least before him, did!
The point? The prophetic gift wasnt limited only to the prophets whose
writing became Scripture. No, the prophetic gift included those whose work
for the Lord involved something other than writing books of the Bible.
The whole question of the prophetic gift, and of inspiration in general,
has been a source of discussion and debate throughout church history. How
were the prophets inspired? How do inspiration and revelation work? How much,
if any, of culture and personal views appear in the writings of the prophets?
If these questions still generate discussion within Christendom after centuries
of debate, were hardly going to solve them all in the Adult Bible Study
Guide this quarter. But well sure do our best to try.
Issues regarding the nature of the prophetic gift and inspiration have been
especially important to Seventh-day Adventists. In the book of Revelation,
God promised that there will be a special manifestation of the prophetic
gift at the time of the end
9). Seventh-day Adventists believe that the gift of prophecy has been
manifested in the ministry of Mrs. Ellen G. White (1827-1915). For seven
decades she gave messages of counsel and warning to our church; and though
she died in 1915, her books, full of spiritual insights and counsel, have
been a source of tremendous blessing to countless millions whose lives have
been, and continue to be, spiritually and theologically enriched through
them. We truly have been given a gift.
Yet, questions remain. What is the role of the prophetic gift? If we claim
the Bible as our final authority, what authority (if any) should the Spirit
of Prophecy have? How should these writings be interpreted? Though this gift
has been a blessing, in what ways has it been misused?
More than three decades have gone by since we last studied in Sabbath School
the topic of the gift of prophecy. Since then the church has grown from 2.5
million members to more than 14 million (as of this writing). And though
there are questions about the Spirit of Prophecy (along with the prophetic
gift in general) that remain unanswered, we believe weve been given
more than enough reasons to believe in this special manifestation of prophecy
However, the real focus of this lesson isnt just on the gift but on
the Gift-Giver. As we study the question of inspiration and revelation,
well learn about the Lord who loves this world so much He gave of Himself,
in the person of Jesus, as the sacrifice for our sins. Though God, though
sinless, though the Creator Himself, He became a human being, and in that
humanity took upon Himself the punishment for our evil as the only way that
we, as sinners, could stand pardoned and justified before Him.
Thats the God we serve, and thats the God we seek to reveal in
this quarters lesson.
Gerhard Pfandl, a native of Austria, has been associate director of the
Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference since 1999.
(all lessons may
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl,
prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes
all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New
King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.
The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing
RTF for our MAC friends (this is now a
zip file); and HTML (Web Pages).
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