1 Thessalonians 5:11
The Greek word for encouragement is used 105 times in the New Testament. Biblical encouragement can sometimes be confused with complimenting or praising others. This falls short of the full meaning of the word. What is the biblical meaning of encouragement?
- Encouragers pour courage into others to help them succeed.
Be STRONG and COURAGEOUS
In Deuteronomy 31 and Joshua 1, God told Joshua and the people of Israel to “be strong and courageous” seven different times. They were encouraged to be courageous in two specific areas:
- Encouragers say, “Let’s face your fears!”
- Discouragers say, “Let’s focus on your failures.”
- Encouragers say, “God is before you and with you!”
- Discouragers say, “God will abandon you.”
- Encourage one another daily.
Study and Discussion Questions
1. What kind of parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, and grandparents did you have growing up? Would you describe them as encouragers or critics? Did they build you up to succeed, or did they destroy your confidence to reach your full potential? How do you think this shaped your outlook on life and whether you are an encourager or a critic?
2. Find encouragement from these verses (Isaiah 40:31; 43:2; Psalm 3:3-4; 4:8; 27:14; 91:14; 118:6-7; Jeremiah 33:11). Pray through these verse and ask for God’s presence to overwhelm you. What does it do for your confidence to know that God already knows your future and is with you?
3. Some people have the gift of encouragement. We are all to be encouragers, but some people overflow with this gift (Romans 12:6-8). How do you know if you have this gift?
Applying the Word to Life
4. Are you pouring your life into anyone? Are you helping him or her “live the faith” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)?
5. Who are you encouraging? Do you need to go to someone who is discouraged this week and help them realize that they can have hope for a better future? Do you need to go to someone who is anxious and help them overcome certain fears in their life?
6. If you are a wife, would others describe you as your husband’s biggest encourager? Or do you find yourself focused on his failures? What will you do to pour courage into your husband to be a great man of God? Is there an area of his life that lacks confidence that you could help him find self-assurance?