Romans 12:8: The Gift of Exhortation
- Models of encouragement
- Words of encouragement
Today we are going to be looking at one of the more underappreciated gifts, the gift of encouragement/exhortation. Romans 12:8 reads, ‘the one who exhorts, in his exhortation.’ The Greek word here occurs 107 times in the NT and has been translated in various ways, beseech, comfort, desire, pray, entreat, console. The word for exhortation in this text is literally paraklese, this may sound familiar to you because when Jesus promises the Holy Spirit He promises the Parakletos. This means the one called alongside. The Latin translation of this is cum forte, the one who strengthens from which we have the familiar title, the Comforter. Today we are looking at the gift of drawing alongside/comforting. There are two main ways we could understand the gift of exhortation. On the one hand it could refer to part of a preacher’s responsibility in preaching to the heart. Some have suggested that where teaching is directed to the mind and educating the Christian; exhortation is aimed at the heart and bringing an appropriate response of repentance or obedience in the Christian. This is possible, but we have already dealt with this ministry when we spoke about teaching and admonishing one another. So today I would like to look at the more general gift of exhortation or encouragement.
We will be doing two things, we want to look at models of encouragement looking at the Holy Spirit and Barnabas; and then we want to focus specifically on words of encouragement and the power of our words to each other.