Encourage (Exhort) One Another

12 Jul

Encourage one another. A pretty simple command…but how exactly do we do that?

Often we think of encouragement in very narrow terms, like a verbal pat on the back. We forget that there’s another genuine usage of the word, “I’d encourage you to go out for a jog.” (Something Charlotte is trying to gently encourage me to do). In this usage it’s more like an urging or an exhortation. So which usage is Hebrews 3 really using?

Well the first clue might be in your ESV where the same verse actually reads ‘Exhort one another’. The second clue is the context…

The command is given in the context of warding off of a hardened, unbelieving , sinful heart. So this ‘encouragement’ must in some way meet this challenge. Now consider the ‘traditional’ sense of encouragement, the big back pat. It simply doesn’t have the power to combat the danger…in fact it could feed pride and hasten the advance of the hardened heart.

The broader context is the actual practice of the letters author…what’s he actually doing? He’s writing a letter of encouragement to a struggling people. And what does he do, tell them that they are doing a good job? No, he i) Points them to Jesus and ii) Points them away from sin. Even in this particular chapter we see these two things happening. Giving the reader a bigger picture of Jesus (v1-6) and a disdain for sin (v7-end).

So there you have it, chew chapter 3 up for more evidence of this. But if we are to be people who follow this simple command we need to be people who point to Jesus and point away from sin.


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