Exhorting One Another

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

The fascinating word rendered “exhort” (Greek para-kaleo) in our text verse, elsewhere translated “comfort,” “beseech,” etc., literally means “call alongside.”

For example, note 2 Corinthians 1:4: “[God] comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Also look at Paul’s appeal to Philemon: “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds” (Philemon 1:10). Such words as “desire,” “entreat,” and “pray” are also used.

The unusual importance of the word is pointed up by the fact that its noun form (parakletos) is used as one of the titles of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

Thus, a Christian who is “called alongside” to comfort a sorrowing friend, to beseech a person to do right, or to exhort him to useful action all in the name of Christ, is in effect performing the same type of service on the human level that the Holy Spirit Himself performs on the divine level. Further, our text would inform us that this type of service—whether done in the context of exhorting or comforting or beseeching—is designed specifically to prevent the one to whom he is “called alongside” from being “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” And since this is a moment-by-moment danger to the unwary, the ministry of exhortation (or comforting or entreating, as the need may be) is one which must be performed “daily, while it is called To day.” HMM

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