This week’s contributor is Debbie Veale – enjoy.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
- Romans 12:8 (Spiritual gifts) if it is to encourage, then give encouragement;
- Romans 15:4-5 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.
- Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Definition from Dictionary.com
Encourage – is a verb – an action word – something we do and not just think about.
- To inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence: e.g “His coach encouraged him throughout the marathon race to keep on running.”
- To stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.: e.g “One of the chief duties of a teacher is to encourage students.”
- To promote, advance, or foster:
Larry Crabb’s defn from his book – “Encouragement – The Unexpected Power of Building Others Up”
Definition: Encouragement is the kind of expression that helps someone want to be a better Christian, even when life is rough!
“As Christians regardless of our gifts or training, we are called upon to encourage our brothers and sisters. Whatever the direction in which our particular congregation is moving, church life will include spending time in the presence of other Christians. And when we meet together as God’s people, we are to encourage one another, to say and do things that stimulate others to a deeper appreciation of Christ and to a stronger commitment to our relationship with him and with each other.”
The Greek word for encouraging is “paramutheomai”
- para = towards, beside, pictures one coming to another’s side to stimulate or comfort.
- muthéomai = to speak from múthos = a tale, myth, speech
So in essence it literally means to speak to someone coming close to his or her side and speak to them in a friendly way.
It means to encourage in the sense of comfort and consolation which is critical in assisting spiritual growth because of the many obstacles and failures Christians can experience.
Wiersbe explains “paramutheomai” noting that…This word carries the same idea of “encouragement,” with the emphasis on activity. Paul not only made them feel better, but he made them want to do better. A father must not pamper a child; rather, he must encourage the child to go right back and try over again. Christian encouragement must not become an anaesthesia that puts us to sleep. It must be a stimulant that awakens us to do better. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)
The opposite of encouragement “Discouragement”
Definition of Discouragement from Dictionary.com
- To deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit, dissuade
- To obstruct by opposition or difficulty; hinder: e.g Low prices discourage industry.
- To express or make clear disapproval of; frown upon:
Counterfeit of encouragement: Flattery
Definition of Flatter from Dictionary.com
- To try to please by complimentary remarks or attention.
- To praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively: e.g She flatters him by constantly praising his books.
Unlike encouragement flattery may come with an ulterior motive from the flatterer.
- Romans 16:18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.