Argument (Acts 2:40) or advice intended to incite hearers to action. The ability to exhort or encourage to action is a spiritual gift (Romans 12:8) sometimes associated with prophets/preachers (Acts 15:32;
1 Corinthians 14:3). Elsewhere mutual exhortation is the responsibility of all Christians (Romans 1:12;
1 Thessalonians 5:11,1 Thessalonians 5:14;
Hebrews 10:24-25). The Hebrew Scriptures provided New Testament preachers with a source of exhortation (Romans 15:14;
Hebrews 12:5-6). The synagogue sermon was described as a “word of exhortation” (Acts 13:15). As such it called for applying the truths of the scriptural text to life. Indeed, exhortation is the goal of orderly worship (1 Corinthians 14:31). Letters of exhortation were common in the ancient world. Messengers often supplied additional encouragement to supplement the written message (2 Samuel 11:25;
Colossians 4:8). Two New Testament documents describe themselves as exhortations (1 Peter 5:12;
Hebrews 13:22). The effect of the letter of the Apostolic Council was similarly described as exhortation (Acts 15:21). Though it does not designate itself as such, the Epistle of James is an exhortation.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'EXHORTATION'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".