“Follow the way of Love, and eagerly desire gifts of the spirit, especially prophecy.” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1
What is Prophetic Art?
What comes to mind when you hear the word Prophetic Art?
For many years I didn’t have a clear understanding of what it was, until I searched deeper and learned more about each word—Prophesy, and Art. After study, reflection, and prayer, I have summarized what I’ve learned into my own personal definition of “prophetic art” . . .
Prophetic Art is a personal revelation from the Holy Spirit expressed through the author’s imaginative and technical skill for the purpose of edification, encouragement, consolation, conviction or guidance (yet not always free from human error) to the body of Christ.
Now let’s take a closer look at each word—Prophecy, and Art, and see how this definition came about.
What is Prophesy?
For some of us, the word “prophecy” conjures up visions of predicting future events or something spooky that may make us feel uncomfortable. But once we understand its purpose and use in the Bible, we begin to see why God’s Word tells us to earnestly desire the gift of prophesy—
“Follow the way of love, and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” —I Corinthians 14:1.
In studying the topic, I came across a wonderful article by John Piper on the New Testament Gift of Prophesy. This is the definition he gives . . .
The New Testament gift of prophecy is a regulated message or report in human words usually made to the gathered believers based on a spontaneous, personal revelation from the Holy Spirit for the purpose of edification, encouragement, consolation, conviction or guidance but not necessarily free from a mixture of human error, and thus needing assessment on the basis of the apostolic (Biblical) teaching and mature spiritual wisdom.” —John Piper.
What is Art?
Art plays a large part in making the world infinitely more rich, fun, and exciting! I can’t even imagine a world without art! It would feel like a world void of sunshine, fresh air, and colorful seasons. The definition of art is rather subjective and debatable, and it seems that there is no agreement among historians and artists as to the definition, which is why we’re left with so many definitions. The concept itself has even changed over the centuries. For simplicity sake however, let’s begin by looking at what Wikipedia has to say about art.
Wikipedia defines art as, “a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.”
This is a wonderful definition, but whether art can truly be defined remains a matter of debate. Art History expert Shelley Esaak shares her thoughts ( in a letter to her students) on the definition and finishes by defining art in its most simple form stating that “art is form and content.”
Another thoughtful reflection on the topic, which beautifully illustrates that the definition of art is still open, was written by my lovely young niece, Lina Grace Nahhas, a budding artist herself . . .
Now back to the original question—What is Prophetic Art?
Hopefully we now have a better understanding of both prophesy, and art. Now let’s put them together and attempt to define prophetic art. An article I absolutely loved, written by Matt Tommey, answers the question, “What is Prophetic Art?” Here is an excerpt . . .
“Artists are the life-givers in culture. We are a pivotal intersection point where the Kingdom of Heaven meets culture. It is there that we have the unique opportunity, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to translate the Kingdom of Heaven into a language that bypasses words and goes directly into the human spirit. When we collaborate with the Holy Spirit in this dance of Kingdom creativity, His power, His Life and His Light merge with our faith, creative thoughts, imaginations, desires and skill into art that carries the literal presence and power of God. It is in this context that our art, no matter the creative medium becomes prophetic.” (Read More)
In closing, I’d like to leave you with the gold standard for all we do as followers of Christ—LOVE—under which all our gifts and art fall, to the gory of God.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” —I Corinthians 13
What’s your experience with prophetic art? I’d love to hear from you!
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Would you like to learn more about Prophetic Art?
Check out this beautiful Coloring Devotional filled with Prophetic Art and coloring pages, all combined with the Art of Story-Telling!
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