Monday, June 5
The Bible has a lot to say about encouraging one another. The KJV uses the word only nine times in the O.T. and not at all in the N.T., but uses other equivalent words. The most common Greek word for “encouragement” is “parakaleo,” which means “to come alongside” or “to draw near.” The implication is that one draws near someone to empathize and render aid. Many other English words are used for this—ask, beg, plead, comfort, exhort, urge. So what does the Bible say about encouragement? 1. We all need to be encouraged. I didn’t find a passage that clearly says that, but it’s obviously true. Paul needed to be encouraged, After encountering abuse and rejection everywhere he went, he was evidently discouraged. God appeared to him in a vision (Rom. 18:9-10) to encourage him. “Don’t be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you . . .” So although Paul continued to be opposed, he was not harmed during his year and a half in Corinth. Paul also was concerned for other Christians who were suffering persecution. When he didn’t consider his letters sufficient, he sent Tychicus to encourage the Ephesians (Eph. 6:22). He also sent him to the Colossians for the same reason (Col. 4:8). Evidently Tychicus was the designated encourager! I don’t know anyone named Tychicus, but I would relish having that name—at least as a middle name.