The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 12 of 207
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Parakaleo in I Thessalonians.
"How we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his
children" (2: 11).
"And sent Timotheus to establish and to comfort you concerning your faith" (3: 2).
"We were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith" (3: 7).
"We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus" (4: 1).
"But we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more" (4: 10).
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (4: 18).
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another" (5: 11).
"We exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded" (5: 14).
Paraklesis in I Thessalonians.
"For our exhortation was not of deceit nor of uncleanness, nor in guile" (2: 3).
It is manifestly impossible to use the word "comfort" in every one of these passages,
but in one of them the true word in the sense of soothing or consoling actually occurs
(5: 14). What we apparently want is a word that shall combine the idea of exhortation
and comfort--not exactly consolation, and not exactly warning. This word we find in
Deut. 3: 28:--
"But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him."
In the Septuagint the words are reversed, viz., "strengthen and encourage", and the
second word is the translation of parakaleo. It will be seen that these ancient translators
knew that underlying the idea of comfort in sorrow was the "fortifying" of the spirit,
expressed fully and yet quite idiomatically in the English word "encourage".
If the reader will examine the eight references from I Thessalonians given above, or
any other of its many occurrences, and substitute the word "encourage" for the
renderings, "exhort", "beseech", "comfort", etc., he will find in it the word that fully
fits every case.
The first step towards being presented perfect in Christ Jesus, therefore, is for the
heart to be encouraged, even as Joshua was encouraged, to stand firm upon all the word
and will of God for us. This will be the result of the double ministry of "warning and
teaching" mentioned in Col. 1: 28.
Flowing from this encouragement of heart is the condition described as "Being knit
together in love". At first there may not appear to be a most intimate connection between
parakaleo ("comfort", "exhort", "encourage") and sumbibazo ("knit together"), but let us
see. This word sumbibazo is found in Eph. 4: 16 and Col. 2: 19:--
"From Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every
joint supplieth . . . . . maketh increase of the body" (Eph. 4: 16).
"From whom all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit
together, increaseth with the increase of God" (Col. 2: 19).