Analogy of the Word
Regardless of the homiletical expression of your hermeneutical discovery, nestled within Romans 12:6 is found the essence of a discrete theological gemstone that illustrates and amplifies the strategic scheme of what it means to deliver a word from the Lord. Whether your exegetical journey results in a manifested oration of a topical or expository delivery, there is an application of beauty and truth that remains consistent.
It is my conclusion that we do not speak much about the non-miraculous gifts of Romans 12:6-8 in churches of Christ today, because we do not know what to do with the spiritual or grace gift of prophecy. Because of that, many in churches of Christ are not even aware of the value, nature, and role these gifts play in the collective body of Christ and local congregations today. Paul said, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Romans 12:6). Contextually, the Romans 12:6 rendering of prophecy is different from the 1 Corinthians 12:10 prophecy conception. Romans 12:6 speaks of a forth-telling, while 1 Corinthians 12:10 spoke of a foretelling. Not to go too deeply in that arena, but the premise of this project is to uncover the root purpose and strategy of proclaiming the written word.
There is a solo and divine element in Romans 12:6 that we can easily miss. The phrase in Romans 12:6 is “let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.” As a gift that some have in the church, the verse is emphasizing prophesy (forth-telling), the sharing of the revealed Word, and the skill in purpose. The Apostle Paul said prophesy is to be done “according to the proportion of faith.” What is essential to understand in the text is the type of faith in the passage and the meaning of proportion. Although it seems to be the case in the text, faith in this passage is not referring to your faith and trust in God, it is referencing the one faith, the Word of God as revealed to humanity, identical to Ephesians 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” The word proportion in the Greek is analogia, and is where we derive our English word “analogy.” Thus the orator of the Word is to be gifted by the grace of God in carrying out the responsibility of the Word in making the analogy clear to the hearer. This passage is not connecting personal faith with a prophetic sharing of the Word; it is manifesting the nature of how the Word is to be shared by the one gifted for that purpose. From the preacher to the pew, is it made clear to the flock how the Word aligns and applies to their life today?
Jesus was the master at this and we most often refer to them as parables. To depict what was in the mind of His Father, Jesus made analogies clear by using grapevines, fig trees, sheep, fish, bread, children, etc., and the man of God has this same responsibility today. Old Testament prophecy was steeped in analogy, and we simply call them shadows and types. So while one gets caught up in the essence of their exegetical study through a process of topical or expository preaching, do not forget the primary thrust of making the analogy clear. Without the mathematical or proportional analogy made distinct, there can be no application for the listener.
According to John 15:3 Jesus declared that His disciples were cleansed or cut by the Word. Remember, you are the clay In The Potter’s Hands and God has paved a way to save you today!