Expository Studies

Play Video
Play Video

Daily Encouragement

Play Video

March 19, 2011

Spiritual Gifts

The Spiritual Gift of


Acts 12:23, Page 1722

“Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;”

       Every born-again believer in Jesus Christ has received a spiritual gift from the Lord Jesus Christ.  The term used to describe the gift of exhortation in Romans 12:8 literally means to call along  side of  you (“παρακαλῶν“).    In Romans 12:8, Paul did not define this term.  Therefore, I take the position that he meant his readers would be familiar with the normal usage of this term, preserved for us in Scripture, and it would serve as our guide to understanding this spiritual gift. 

     The Greek term translated here as exhortation has diverse applications in the New Testament.  As you read through these varying uses of the term to call along side, I interpret these passages below as examples on the one hand of spiritual activities all believers will do at times, but, on the other hand, the person with the spiritual gift of exhortation in the forms  described below will have a special gift from God to edify believers and build up unity.  Let us explore some of those uses to gain insight into the different ways God gifts people to exhort in His name and in His ministry to the Body of Christ.

Exhortation/Imploring.  The centurion came to Jesus, imploring Him to help a tormented servant (Matthew 8:6, page 1512).   Although the centurion was not demonstrating the spiritual gift of exhortation, he does illustrate the passion of the gift of exhortation when it comes to imploring.  Paul implored the Ephesians to walk worthy of their calling (Ephesians 4:1, page 1830).    One aspect of the spiritual gift of exhortation includes the gift of imploring people to take action, and specifically, to do the will of God.  In your life, I am sure that you can recall a time when someone implored you to walk with God, to do His will.

Exhortation/Comforting. The comforting aspect of the spiritual gift of exhortation has several important aspects.

         Comforting the Afflicted. God Himself really cares about each believer and comforts them.  He also provides the spiritual gift of comforting, which goes beyond the duty and privilege of every believer to comfort others.  Some believers who have the spiritual gift of comforting have been trained by God using affliction in their lives.  Even while they are still suffering with their own afflictions, by God’s strength and gift, they reach out and call alongside others suffering their own afflictions and comfort them with God’s comfort they have experienced first hand  (2 Corinthians 1:4,  page 1804).  When believers face serious affliction and need comforting, God sends a person with the spiritual gift of comforting. 

       Comforting the Grieving.  When believers see a loved one die, we do not grieve as other people who have no hope.  We comfort one another with the knowledge that each believer has left the body, but is present with the Lord.  Furthermore, each body will be resurrected in glory when Christ Jesus comes in the clouds to rapture His saints in Christ.  The saint with spiritual gift of comfort will apply God’s gracious truth to the grieving in a special outpouring of spiritual activity (1 Thessalonians 4:18, page 1850).

       Comforting the Repentant.  Every believer must comfort believers who confess their sins, so that they will not be overwhelmed by sorrows (2 Corinthians 2:7, page 1806).   Yet, this spiritual gift of exhortation provides special comfort for restoring the repentant soul as it hurts from sin.  Indeed, when the church imposes discipline upon a believer, the goal will always be restoration (Galatians 6:1, 1826).  After repentance, restoration comes with comforting.  In contrast to the exhortation gift that implores, or exhorts in the narrow sense, this gift follows up with people who have strayed, repented and now need comforting.

       Comforting the Depressed.  God comforts the depressed, and sometimes does so through sending people to comfort you (2 Corinthians 7:6, page 1811).   The word used for depression here  (“ταπεινοὺς“) means low, humble, or brought low with grief.  God used the arrival of Titus to encourage Paul and his companions.  The spiritual gift here brings comfort to the grieving, the lowly, the emotionally turmoiled and downtrodden.

Exhortation/Appealing.  Another area of exhortation includes appealing.  Jude appealed to believers to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints (Jude 1:3, page 1912).  Compare the effect of love motivating Paul to appeal to Philemon for Onesimus his runaway slave (Philemon 1:9, page 1868; compare Philemon 1:10 for same word used to appeal).  Some believers possess the special gift of interceding for another person, and appealing for them and appealing to another believer to do the gracious thing.

Exhortation/Urging. The ministry of urging believers falls into four related areas.

       Urging Sensible Living.  Paul urged the young men to be sensible (“σωφρονεῖν“) (Titus 2:6, page 1866).    At times, we all need urging to live a more sensible, and less unrestrained, life.  In particular, this word sensible includes the idea of restraining passions.  God gifts some people to urge you to live under control, and not in runaway passions.  While this gift may be full of emotion like imploring, it also brings all emotions under the control of God.

        Urging Completion.  Likewise, Paul and his group urged Titus to complete the spiritual work among the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:6, page 1812). 

       Urging Believers to Get Along.  This urging may be directed to fellow believers to get along (Philippians 4:2, page 1839).    Some believers possess the gift of getting people at odds with each other, and yet true believers, to reconcile and live together in peace.

       Urging Believers to Abstain from Fleshly Lusts.  Peter urges the believers to abstain from fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11, page 1895).   Fleshly lusts plague all believers, but some believers God empowers with a special gift to urge us to abstain from indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind.

Exhort.  Exhortation has the traditional meaning of advising, instructing, and calling upon urgently.  As we have seen above, each aspect of this gift has different examples given in the New Testament.

       Exhort/Teaching and Refuting.  As we hold fast the faithful word of God’s teaching, we will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict (Titus 1:9, page 1866).  In this case, the exhorting focuses upon taking action based upon the teaching of the word of God.         

    Exhortation/Preaching.  Biblical preaching includes, but does not only include, exhorting believers with the Word of God.  Exhortation includes holding forth in preaching the word of God (Acts 20:1-2, page 1739).  

Paul also exhorted the Thessalonians to Godly living (1 Thessalonians 4:1, page 1849).  The same idea is used of urge and exhortation in Hebrews 13:22, page 1887).   The spiritual gift of prophecy also relates to the exhortation flowing from the prophecy, and means the application of teaching (1 Corinthians 14:31, page 1800).  This spiritual gift links the Word of God with action based upon it.  That action can be refutation, instruction, and application of teaching.

Exhortation/EncouragingIn contrast to what many believers think and practice, God wants to encourage your life.    Believers  must encourage one another and build up one another in Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:11, page 1850).  The spiritual gift of encouragement often includes a note of urgency.

       Encouraging Today.  Because of the deceitfulness of sin, and the way it hardens our hearts, we need encouragement right now, today.  We must encourage one another as long is it is “Today,” so that no one will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13, page 1872). 

        Encouraging Strength and Faith.  Paul sent Timothy ahead to Thessalonica to strengthen and encourage their faith (1 Thessalonians 3:2, page 1848). 

       Encouraging To Endure Tribulations. This encouragement also applies to strengthening souls to continue in the faith, and to endure tribulations (Acts 14:22, page 1728).   As believers, tribulations will come into our lives, and we should consider ourselves blessed.  God has already made us more than conquerors, and believers gifted by God with encouragement remind us of that fact all the time.

Exhortation/Conciliating.  Finally, consider the ministry of conciliating.  Paul said when slandered (“δυσφημούμενοι“), he tried to conciliate (1 Corinthians 4:13, page 1786).  While we all should follow the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12, page 1506), God provides a special gift of reaching out to people who are speaking evil untruths about you.  This type of conciliation touches the lives of the believers who have created significant distance in their relationships with other Christians.  Conciliation brings them together, even in the face of one person being sinful.

      Summarizing this spiritual gift of exhortation does not seem easy, except to make the following points.

       1.  Exhortation comes in many Biblical forms.

       2.    Exhortation is up close and personal.

       3.    Exhortation literally involves getting close to people in love, and calling to them in love, with a purpose.

       Beverly my wife went through this study with me recently.  She said: “Wow, I may have this spiritual gift now that I understand it.”  I suspect that many Christians have never taken the time to study the spiritual gifts, and know more about God has gifted you for service.  Remember that our spiritual unity and maturity depend upon all of the saints, and not the “clergy,” doing the work of service to God.



 Christ Assembly Basics 

Christ Assembly provides free access to various studies from the Bible, the Word of God. The studies in this website are not inspired, but God produced the Bible, consisting of sixty-nine books (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament). The Holy Spirit inspired authors to produce original autographs of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those original authors wrote over the course of many centuries. They wrote divinely inspired words and every word was divinely inspired. The authors communicated in their own styles, and with their own vocabulary, but God breathed out every word of the final autographs. The words in the Bible really matter, and deserve careful study. 
As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
We accept the teaching of the Word of God. As born again believers, baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, the anointing from God teaches us all things. We love to study the Word of God as we abide in Christ Jesus our Lord. God blesses all of us when we read His word, hear His word, and heed His word. We share original studies of the Word of God without cost and we do not receive donations. We support the finances of this ministry through private means, so that we are not a burden to anyone. We oppose charging people to read books, articles, journals or other studies of the Word of God. Such work should be supported by donations, but not in prescribed amounts and not as a requirement to gain access to what God has freely provided. What God has freely given, we should freely share. Just as Paul worked making tents, so we work to support this ministry. 

 Christ Assembly License

The author of all original material on this website retains all legal and equitable rights to the properties at issue. The author granted Christ Assembly a limited-use, revocable license to publish material on this website, while reserving all ownership rights to the original author. You may use any original material on this website to the glory of God, but you may not receive anything of value for such use. You may not receive any donations related to any original material on this website. All use of original material on this website is subject to the revocable, limited license above. You must conspicuously indicate on any use of the original material that it originated from ChristAssembly.org.  Any revocation of the license shall be posted on this website and all rights to use material may be revoked without prior notice. By copying and using any original material from this website, you consent to such license. Christ Assembly opposes any payment for access to studies, articles, journals, or other publications of studies concerning the Word of God. As God has freely given, so also the products of His grace should be freely shared.