What do you think is the most accurate translation of “propheteousa” in 1 Corinthians 11:5? A conservative translation would be merely “speak,” but I don’t think that translation accurately captures the meaning. Yet I’m also not sure about translating it in a more extreme manner as all-out teaching and preaching as a representative of God. Literally, the "pro" seems to reflect speaking "on behalf of" God, doesn't it? -- I.S.
I agree that “speak” doesn’t quite work in this translation. “Pro” originally implied speaking on behalf of another, or possibly speaking ahead of time. Prophētousa is a participle (feminine singular, present active participle, “prophesying”). I would warn you, however, that NT Greek is extremely fond of prefixes, although many times these do not substantially alter the meaning of the word.
(Lamentably, we notice this trend in the many modern English words. Take, for example, “epicenter.” The epicenter is actually the spot over the center of a quake -- a quake which may issue several kilometers underground. But people don’t know Greek prefixes, or like to sound clever, so they say epicenter instead of center; or amphitheater when they mean theater; etc…)
If women were prophesying, like Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:9), this gibes with Joel 2:28-32, the passage Peter quotes in the first Pentecost sermon. Yet this may still be to beg the question: what is the nature of this prophecy? I may be mistaken, but it appears we are dealing with a miraculous utterance. And yet prophecy in the gift-list of Romans 12 — there are 5 such lists in the NT — may well not be miraculous. (See my NT Chapter Notes on Romans 12.)
While I am open to the possibility that prophecy was identical to (or little different than) preaching, I would like someone to prove this. (One may also make a case that some prophecy [the non-preaching variety] is an act of worship.) Now while I have often heard attempts at "prophecy," these have been without exception occasions of embarrassment. I suppose the Lord will do what the Lord will do, and we shouldn't try to force things.