(Romans 12:8 KJV) Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.You don’t see the gift of nagging? It is hidden in the word “exhorteth.” Nagging is part of the gift of exhortation. The Greek word is parakaleo. It is the root word for the Helper, or Holy Spirit that Jesus promised. Let me try to explain why I call it nagging.
Parakaleo is a compound word which literally means called to be with. The best understanding I can come up with is that of a lawyer or advocate. It means someone who is called along side to be of assistance. This doesn’t really help because people tend to see what they want to see and translate accordingly.
One way of translated is embraced by the multitudes. This translation emphasizes what would be called the positive aspects of the word. In these cases it is translated comfort, help, encourage, invite. We usually welcome this kind of an advocate. It is all positive. It is also part of the meaning. We need comfort and encouragement when we are on the right track and getting beaten down.
The other way of translated is acknowledged, if not welcomed, by disciples. This is where the nagging comes into play. You see, there is some kind of help we don’t welcome. It is the help that points out we are wrong, lazy, misguided. We don’t want to hear it. These cases are translated, appeal, beg, beseech, entreat, preach, urge. We usually interpret those as nagging.
The word has both meanings and the gift of exhortation includes both. There are times when a word of encouragement is what we need. There are times when we need to be hit up side the head. The person with the gift of exhortation knows which to use. This only makes them popular half the time, as you can imagine. I think this is why the word “exhort” works. No one knows what it really means.
Do you have a nag in your life? Maybe it is the gift of exhortation and the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you something.
homo unius libri
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