Summary: One another passages
Encourage One Another
Every week, Bona and I receive one or more messages in our respective phones. The person who sends them is a sister in Christ. From her usual reading of the Bible, she will extract verses she has read and will send them to us in order to encourage. One day she sent the usual sms, we studied here in class Hebrews 3:13. So I wrote her back and said: “I had to erase sms in order to receive yours. It was worth it. Today we were studying Hebrews 3:13. Read it. GBU.”
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
This comes in contrast to what is written in verse 12, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”
This is the key word in this passage. “Encourage” is the Greek parakaleo (parakalevw). It is used a 109 times in the New Testament. It can mean “to exhort, admonish, teach,” or “to beg, entreat, beseech,” or “to console, encourage, comfort, help.” The word has the same root with “parakletos,” which was used to speak of Holy Spirit as Comforter, Helper, or Counselor. In carries the idea of coming to the side of. So properly understood we are to reflect the character of God in our lives, and come to the side of others.
This next phrase links the idea of encouragement with the subject to be encouraged. We are to come to side of “one another.” Christian life is not lived in isolation. We need one another. That means that we need to minister to others, while at the same time we need to be ministered to. This idea of togetherness is a feeling that was very strong in the early disciples. We fool ourselves when we think that we can do it on our own, and we neglect our responsibility as Christians when we fail to exercise our stewardship.
This word gives us the frequency of the task. It is not once in a while. It is not when I can. It is not when I feel like it. Use every opportunity you have to do it. Write a note. Send a sms. Pray a prayer. Greet with smiles.
“…as long as it is called Today…”
This next phrase introduces a sense of urgency. Opportunities may not always be existent. Situations change. People move. The students have a phrase “Tomorrow I will study.” The truth is we don’t know if we have the “tomorrow.” All we have is “today.” And frankly procrastination is one of the many enemies of not doing it.
“…so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
This last phrase gives us one of the purposes behind encouragement. It is pretty evident considering that the verse it builds out of (verse 12) talks about faithfulness. The sin is crafty. Satan is very innovative in finding new ways to tempt us. He will try all that is in his power to lead us away from God. He will try everything to harden our heart. While each one of us is encouraged to develop spiritual discernment, there are times that we are so much caught in something that we don’t note the temptation coming our way. It looks as some times, third parties are able to see better what is going on. This is when the gift of a brother or sister comes into play.
While all the above hold true and the principles are the same, the Scriptures give us another hint on the purpose of encouragement. “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Here the apostle Paul using the coordinating conjunction, “and” puts in the same realm mutual “encouragement” and “edification.”