Related ideas: Inspiration, revelation, preaching, ministry, miracles, Holy Spirit.
Definitions: A prophet was a preacher or proclaimer of God’s word, however in addition to preaching from the scriptures, was able to speak by direct revelation from God, as moved by the Holy Spirit who imparted the gift of prophecy.
Matthew 10:41 "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward..."
Matthew 13:57 "A prophet is not without honour except in his own home town."
Luke 11:49 "...I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill, and some of them they will drive out."
1Corinthians 13:8 "...where there are gifts of prophecy, they shall be done away."
2Peter 1:20-21 "...no prophecy of scripture is... of human will, but men of God [prophets] spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
1John 4:1 "...test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
Revelation 22:18 "If any one adds to the words of the prophecy of this book, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book..."
Some prophets around the time of Christ
Matthew 11:7-14 John the Baptist.
Luke 2:25-38 Simeon and Hannah.
Acts 21:10-11 Agabas.
Prophets in the church
1Corinthians 12:28 "And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets..."
Ephesians 2:19-20 "...the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone."
Ephesians 3:5 "...the mystery of Christ which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit."
Hebrews 1:1 "Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets in many portions and in many ways. In these last days he has spoken to us through his Son."
Comment: The prophet's preaching is often predictive, and we often think of prophecy as about the future. Indeed, the test of a prophet was that his words prove true (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:18-22). However, the work of the prophet was to preach God’s word as he or she was moved by the Holy Spirit. The prophet was a "forthteller", rather than merely a "foreteller". The prophet’s message from God might be as much about the past and present as about the future.