Biblical Limitations (Boundaries) to the Prophetic

There are Nine Biblical Boundaries to Prophecy

Limitations is a good word

                Speed limits on the roads in town are good as they protect life

                So with the prophetic  – limits to it protect us from spiritual hard

                                Speed limit when obeyed – keeps people safe

                                 Prophetic boundaries when properly understood keep people safe

I know 8 or 9 of them – We stumbled upon them as I spoke at length with a friend – prophet


Limitations – boundaries = what prophecy is not and never can be 

I’m going to prophesy over people till Jesus is done with me

                But there are some expectations that are not Biblical, correct or realistic

You see:

You can expect too much of personal prophecy

You can expect too much of the Apostle/Prophet who brings the prophetic word

9 Biblical Limitations

  1.  It is not perfect
  2. It is not inclusive
  3. It is not mainly about details
  4.  It is not a validation of character
  5. It is not a guarantee of anything
  6. It is not about current fact or present reality
  7. It is not an escape or an ‘out’ for you
  8.  It does not automatically qualify you for anything
  9.  It is not judgemental or critical

So we are going to look at limitations – boundaries – parameters                                                                               

1.        It is not perfect – 1 Corinthians 13:9

We know in part … okay – we don’t know everything about God and we can accept that

AND  we prophesy in part – we will not know everything about a person or a situation                                                                           But the part we do know is certainly inspired

Paul is saying: Personal prophecy is not exact and not complete in details

“Not Prefect”

  • Doesn’t mean it’s flawed
  • Doesn’t mean it’s defective
  • Doesn’t mean it’s inaccurate in any way
  • Means it is partial in it’s content → it is the ‘part’ and not the ‘whole’
  • Means not the very words of God as in OT and NT prophecy
  • Means general rendering of the will of God  
  • Supernatural speech
  • Not perfect 
  • Not the whole
  • Not the very words of God
  • Means it is interpretive and expressive of the will of God
  • Means in part- not the whole

Other versions:

A)     “Our knowledge is fragmentary and our prophesying is fragmentary”                                      

 I am under no pressure to tell you everything God is saying to you in one little prophecy                                                                                                                                                                            

Other Versions:

B)      ‘We prophesy bit by bit’                                                                                                                                                                Good bits – but only bit by bit

                                                Don’t expect too much

 We will not have all the truth or all the solutions for you and your life

C) “The prophet’s words give only a part of what is true”

  • It is TRUE but only part of the truth
  • Don’t expect too much
  • It will not be “the truth and the whole truth…”

D) “What we prophesy is incomplete”   

  • It is good
  • It is God
  • It is Supernatural
  • It is exciting

2.       Personal prophecy is not perfect


God’s speaking skills are perfect

Man’s listening skills are less than perfect

                So: we are to  “Test all things; prove all things”

3.       It is not all inclusive

                You can take an “all inclusive” vacation

“All Inclusive” means all costs are set out  up front – all tips, airfare, food, room, taxi, etc.

Personal prophecy is not all inclusive

  • It doesn’t take in everything
  • It doesn’t cover everything
  • It is not comprehensive
  • It will not cover every subject in your life – every need – every situation


It is only a slice of the pie – not whole pie

It is only one room in your “house”

We do not prophesy in whole – we prophesy in part

People get mad when God does not confirm what they are doing for the Lord

                 “Relax” – It is not all inclusive

Don’t expect too much

1.       It is not perfect

2.       It is not all inclusive

  • It is not about details
  • It is about the big picture and the final outcome
  • It is not about the journey – it is about the destination…

You are expecting too much when you are expecting prophetic details

Joseph in Genesis – rejected, sold, jailed

                 He was told destiny/destination and God left out (did not mention) the details

If God had told him the details he would have stayed in bed

Minor details (Joseph) God failed to mention:

  • Parent’s reaction
  • Brother’s reaction (wanted to kill him)
  • The pit
  • The Midianite slave traders
  • Small detail – Egypt
  • Potipher’s wife
  • Small detail – dungeons
  • The forgetful butler

In the end

He did make it to his destination according to the two visions he had and did fulfill his destiny

It just took 13 years and a little bit of hell (10 of those years in various prisons)

Prophecy is not about the details

God does not give up details – He gives up the outcome/destination

4.       It is not a validation of character

Prophecy validates ‘gifting’ and not character

Seldom talks about character or lack of character

Everyone I prophesy over has character issues

                But receiving a word does not validate character

                                It simply  validates giftings and callings


                No character when God spoke to him prophetically

                He was a coward with an attitude

Angel said:  “Mighty man of valour – The Lord is with you”

Gideon replied:  “Really!  Mighty man and God is with me – well, if that is true – angel of the Lord – and I doubt it is – why is the enemy in our land and where are the miracles my forefathers spoke about?”

Serious character issues – BUT God still called him a ‘mighty man of valour’

King Saul – Had some serious character issues that came out later            

                 God still made him king of Israel

King David – A ‘man after God’s own heart’

  • An adulterer
  • A thief
  • A murderer
  • A liar

His (David) prophetic word did not validate his character

                Validated giftings and responsibilities

#4  Does not necessarily validate character

  5.       Not a guarantee of anything

                It is about potential

Whether or not you achieve your potential is not my responsibility — if you miss God or fail God shame on you! I did my job.

We don’t write the letters – we deliver the mail

King Saul

                 Samuel did his Job and prophetically called out Saul as King  / Saul disqualified himself

You can’t blame Samuel for that

You can’t blame Samuel for David becoming an adulterer and a murderer…

Personal prophecy does not speak to certainties, guarantees or inevitabilities…not at all

Speaks to your potential, possibilities, probabilities

                                Kingdom options that God sets before you

Don’t expect too much – There are limitations!

If you don’t meet the conditions – cheer up, it won’t come to pass.

6.       Personal prophecy is not about current fact or present reality

 I am frankly amazed at what God does not say in prophecy sometimes

                                The stuff he over looks

                                The stuff he refuses to comment on

God often skips over current reality

                Speaks to things that are not as if they are (Romans 4:17)

“How come God didn’t talk to me about my job? I lost my job a week ago…”

                 He has already been to your future and got you a new one so it was not on his mind

Don’t expect too much – it does not always speak to now or current situations

Other versions:

                “He speak of future events with as much certainty as if they were already passed”          

You want him to address current facts and reality and He skips right over that… He does not bring correction into that person’s life and then makes it worse by speaking of things that don’t exist as if they did already!         

God know you will never grow up without seeing your destiny

7.       It is not a magic wand

                 Prophecy is New Testament – it is not New age

                Prophet not psychic

Prophecy is not about what God is going to let you ignore

Prophecy is not about what God is going to let you avoid

A lot of people want a prophecy to endorse them to either ignore or avoid their problems

                They want a prophecy to make things go away

                                Escape mechanism

Prophecy is not about what you can ignore or avoid

It is about your future and your destiny (should you choose to say “yes” to it and what you will go through on your way there (a few of the details)

Joseph’s two dreams were not about what he could avoid or escape from – they were to prepare him for what he was going to go through

David’s anointing by Samuel was not about what he could avoid  – but what he was going to go through

Prophecy is not a magic wand

Saul who became the apostle Paul… He is just starting ministry – not yet an ‘Apostle’

                Two prophetic voices – Agabus and Annanias

Word #1 (exciting) – the Lord would say you are to suffer a lot for the kingdom and the gospel

Word #2  – I don’t know whose belt this is but this person will be bound just like this

From bad to worse

Words to help him get through the valley – not to remove it

Psalm 105:17,19 “until word came to pass – the word tested him” (Joseph)

8.       Prophecy does not automatically qualify you for anything

It does not make you competent or suitable for whatever it is God wants you to do

In fact,

                Personal prophecy actually DISQUALIFIES you more quickly for future Kingdom responsibilities

In other words – it accelerates your qualification or disqualification for the work God calls you to depending on how you respond to it and what you do with it

Respond properly – qualifies you

Do not respond properly – disqualifies you

Hearing from God is powerful but you will be held accountable

You will not hear from him again until you do something about the last time he spoke into you life!


Children of Israel

                 God spoke

                 They did not obey and did not walk in obedience

God disqualified them (quickly) from their prophetic inheritance (the word about them entering the promised land became null and void)

9.       Prophecy is not judgemental or critical

Its primary purpose is not to arrest you, indite you, charge you or condemn you

Its purpose is not to expose or embarrass you

It is not fundamentally pessimistic in nature

It is fundamentally optimistic in nature

You expect too much if you expect in a public setting that it will rebuke, correct, chastise…or punish

God is extremely optimistic about us (more than we are actually)

He sees potential and expresses potential

He is God of 2nd, 3rd, 4th chance

                Even if a righteous man falls 7 times he can get back up

You are expecting too much if you are expecting God to prophetically correction in public

9 Biblical Limitations

1.       It is not perfect

2.       It is not inclusive

3.       It is not mainly about details

4.       It is not a validation of character

5.       It is not a guarantee of anything

6.       It is not about current fact or present reality

7.       It is not an escape or an ‘out’ for you

8.       It does not automatically qualify you for anything

           9.       It is not judgemental or critical

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