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Encouragement

Overview

This is the general ministry of encouragement, comfort, and exhortation by all believers for others. It is different from the spiritual gift of encouragement and exhortation.
  1. This is the general ministry of encouragement, comfort, and exhortation by all believers for others. It is different from the spiritual gift of encouragement and exhortation. General encouragement is what we are all to do for other believers. Some people understand encouragement in the strong harsh sense—getting after people. This is not the primary use. Encouragement is strong and gentle—always gracious (see 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). Our English word encourage has the idea of giving courage. The Greek also implies this. The main verb translated encouragement, urge, comfort, exhort is the word parakalew parakaleo and the noun is paraklesi~ paraklesis. The basic meanings are to call to one’s side, to appeal, to advise, to summon, to urge, to encourage; strengthening another in belief or a course of action; an appeal, request; lift another’s spirits, comfort; even to give divine refreshment as Nigel Turner wrote in Christian Words, 73. Vine lists parakalew under exhort and beseech. God the Father sent the Holy Spirit to be the believers’ comforter, helper, and encourager (John 14:16 and 26, John 15:26, and 16:7). Believers are to encourage other believers in their Christian lives (see below). There are other Greek words used that round out the idea of encouragement: paramuqeomai paramutheomai means to encourage, soothe, relieve, alleviate as in 1 Thessalonians 2:11; paramuqion  paramuthion means encouragement, consolation, alleviation of [discouragement] and is found in Philippians 2:1; paramuqia  paramuthia in 1 Corinthians 14:3 also means consolation, encouragement to one who is depressed or in grief; panhgoria panegoria is used only in Colossians 4:11 and can mean comfort or source of encouragement;euyuchew eupseuchew, in Philippians 2:19 means to have courage or be heartened. Acts 18:27 (NASB) uses protrepo, to turn forward or propel, and translates it “encouraged.”
  2. Paul introduces biblical encouragement in the first chapter of his second letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). He presents here the reason for on the job training: so we can encourage others by the way God has encouraged and comforted us in our personal hardship, tests, and suffering.
  3. Who and what encourages believers?
    • God (Acts 9.31, Holy Spirit; Romans 15.5, Father; 2 Corinthians 1.3, Father; 7.6, Father; 2 Thessalonians 2.16-17, Father and Son).
    • The Word of God (Romans 15.4; 1 Thessalonians 4.18; Hebrews 6.18; 12.5; 13.22; 1 Peter 5.12).
    • Relationship with Christ (2 Corinthians 1.5; Philippians 2.1).
    • Other believers (Colossians 4.11; 1 Thessalonians 4.18; 5.11; Hebrews 3.13; 10.25).
    • Good news about the spiritual growth and Christian life of other believers (Acts 15:30-31; 2 Corinthians 7.6-7, 13; Ephesians 6.22; Philippians 2.19;Colossians 4.8; 1 Thessalonians 3.7; Philemon 7).
    • The apostles, missionaries, and pastor and teachers
      • Teaches and exhorts (1 Timothy 4.13; 2 Timothy 4.2; Titus 1.9; 2.15).
      • Speaks to edification and exhortation (1 Corinthians 14.3).
      • Exhort honestly and to please God (Romans 12.8; 1 Thessalonians 2.3-4).
  4. The Bible encourages believers to do certain things. The range of meanings of the Greek words below is given in point 1 above. Parakalew is used in all the references. Paramutheo is added in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 and 5:14).
    • To present ourselves to God, and not be conformed to the world but to be progressively transformed for God’s will (Romans 12.1-2).
    • Encourage the discouraged or faltering (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 2:5-11; 1 Thessalonians 4.18; and 5:14; Hebrews 3:12-13 and 10:25).
    • To pray for other believers and for authorities (Romans 15.30; 1 Timothy 2.1; Hebrews 13.18-22).
    • To beware of trouble makers and avoid factions (Romans 16.17; 1 Corinthians 1.10-14).
    • To follow spiritual leaders (1 Corinthians 16.15-16).
    • To walk worthy of God and please him (1 Thessalonians 2.11-12; 4.1).
    • To contend for the faith (Jude 3-4).
    • To abstain from fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2.11).
    • To stop living undisciplined lives and instead to work for a living (2 Thessalonians 3.12).
    • Elders are to shepherd the congregation (1 Peter 5.1-2).
  5. The Bible encourages believers to do certain things. The range of meanings of the Greek words below is given in point 1 above. Parakalew is used in all the references. Paramutheo is added in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 and 5:14.
    • To present (paristemi, aorist active infinitive) ourselves to God, and not be conformed (suschematizomai, present passive imperative) to the world but to be progressively transformed (metamorphoo, present passive imperative) for God’s will (Romans 12.1-2, parakalew parakaleo, present active indicative).
    • Encourage the discouraged or faltering (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, v4 parakalew parakaleo, present active participle nominative singular with article; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, v5 parakalew parakaleo aorist active infinitive; v8 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative; 1 Thessalonians 4.18 parakalew parakaleo  present active imperative; and 1 Thessalonians 5:14 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative and paramuqeomai paramutheomai present middle imperative; Hebrews 3:12-13 parakalew parakaleo present active imperative; and Hebrews 10:25 parakalew parakaleo present active participle nominative masculine plural).
    • To pray for other believers and for authorities (Romans 15.30 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative; 1 Timothy 2.1 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative; Hebrews 13.18-22 v19 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative).
    • To beware (skopeo, present active infinitive) of trouble makers and avoid factions (Romans 16.17 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative; 1 Corinthians 1.10-14 v10 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative).
    • To follow (hupotasso, present passive subjunctive) spiritual leaders (1 Corinthians 16.15-16 v15 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative).
    • To walk worthy (peripateo, present active infinitive + axios) of God and please him (1 Thessalonians 2.11-12 parakalew parakaleo present active participle nominative masculine plural and paramuqeomai paramutheomai present middle participle nominative masculine plural; 4.1 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative).
    • To contend (epagonizomai, present middle infinitive) for the faith (Jude 3-4 parakalew parakaleo present active participle nominative masculine singular).
    • To abstain (apoechomai, present middle infinitive) from fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2.11 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative).
    • To stop living undisciplined lives and instead to work for a living (2 Thessalonians 3.12 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative).
    • Elders are to shepherd (poimaino, aorist active imperative) the congregation (1 Peter 5.1-2 parakalew parakaleo present active indicative).
  6. All believers have opportunities to biblically encourage other believers in a wide variety of circumstances. What are some applications taken from this doctrine that we can do?

Last Update

Thursday, March 17, 2011