What is exhortation? Is it something we need? Is it something we should give to others?
English translations of the Bible use the words exhortation and exhort. One dictionary definition of “exhortation” is “an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something.” This word refers to the act of exhorting, inciting, or giving advice—urging someone to some course of conduct or action, or trying to persuade someone to do something.
Serious students of the Bible know that there are many things those who desire to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ are instructed to do. They must love God with all their might, love their neighbors as themselves, and study God’s word daily. They must strive to obey His commandments, pray about God’s Work, pray for one another, and care for orphans and widows in their trouble. They should be lights and examples to the world, seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness, love and pray for their enemies, keep themselves from being corrupted, and many other things.
If we seek all these things, we need exhortation. We as human beings need to be motivated to do what God expects us to do, so the Bible is filled with exhortation. One example is in Jeremiah 11. Jeremiah was a prophet of God who delivered God’s message to Judah before, during, and after Judah’s fall and captivity in Babylon. God commanded Jeremiah, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying: ‘Hear the words of this covenant and do them. For I earnestly exhorted your fathers in the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, until this day, rising early and exhorting, saying, “Obey My voice”’” (vv. 6–7).
The Lord and His judges and prophets, as well as His later disciples and apostles, all gave many exhortations. The Gospel of Luke 3 records an example of John the Baptist exhorting the multitudes: “And with many other exhortations he preached to the people” (v. 18).
God’s servants today are still exhorting the Church and the world by preaching the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God and revealing the meaning of the Bible’s end-time prophecies.
We all need God’s exhortation. Should we give exhortation to others? In Hebrews 3, we are exhorted, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily” (vv. 12–13). This is repeated in Hebrews 10, where the Apostle Paul continues his exhortations: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (vv. 24–25).
The “Day” being referred to is the Day of the Lord and its prophesied end-time events. Do you see it approaching? If you watch world news and are familiar with the Bible’s exhortations concerning prophetic events, you see the Day of the Lord approaching before your eyes. We watch those in Western nations becoming more and more like those in the days of Noah, and more and more like Sodom and Gomorrah—and we see that the return of Jesus Christ is drawing closer and closer, day by day.
You may find the following articles helpful: “We Must Cry Aloud and Spare Not” and “The Day of the Lord: What Is It?” Also, be sure to check out the free study guides Armageddon and Beyond, Do You Believe the True Gospel?, and Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.