Defining a Prophet
What is a prophet? In the old times, a prophet was an individual who received a call from God to be His spokesperson, often connected with some crisis that was about to occur, and then announced God’s message of judgment and or deliverance to Israel and the nations. The importance of this office can be seen in the fact that the word prophet occurs over 300 times in the Old Testament and almost 125 times in the New Testament.
A prophet is an authorized spokesperson for God with a message that originated from God and was communicated through a number of means.
The derivation and meaning of the word prophet has been a matter of controversy for several centuries now with no prospect of closure on this debate. Since most of the solutions to this mystery have been based on etymologies or terms in similar languages, it is small wonder that no resolution has been forthcoming. Linguists are especially agreed that the most that etymologies can yield are only various suggestions. The only safe course in resolving the meaning of a word is to depend ultimately on usages in contexts.