Acts 20:1-6 – Paul’s Acts of Parakaleo
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for Acts 20:1-6
The title is drawn from the ministry of Paul to his fellow Christians.
A ministry that consisted of both exhorting them and encouraging them to keep their eyes on God’s purposes.
1) PAUL’S MINISTRY TO BELIEVERS – PARAKALEO
In 2 of our 6 verses, we encounter a word that points us to a lifetime of responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
In fact, the concepts behind this word under gird much of the intent behind Paul’s Epistles to the churches.
Parakaleo is that word.
Parakaleo comes from two Greek words:
Para meaning from, alongside, by, besides and near.
Kaleo meaning to call aloud by name or to give a name.
This Greek word is translated into as many as 12 different English words in most of our translations.
Some examples are comfort, encourage, embrace, beseech, appeal, implore, exhort, and entreat.
From these examples we begin to taste the flavor of this word.
Vines Expository dictionary describes parakaleo as a word “used for every kind of calling to a person which is meant to produce a particular effect…hence to comfort, exhort, desire, call for.”
In other words, you call one by name and come along side or draw near to them in order to comfort, encourage or exhort & beseech he or she.
Clearly this is something that Paul did often and excelled at.
Paul’s parakaleo ministry can be best understood when separated into what are, I believe, its 2 intents.
It is these two intents together that encompass the full meaning of the word.
To forsake one for the other is to shortchange the spirit of our calling to give parakaleo.
The question, then, is what are the two forms OR intents of Paul’s parakaleo ministry?
I would suggest that the two forms are “Parakaleo Exhorter” and “Parakaleo Encourager.”
Paul makes clear in the following passage both intents of his parakaleo ministry.
And the passage importantly reveals that it is ultimately not man but God that is “at work”, producing the result or is the power of the parakaleo.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 – For you know how, like a father with his children, we 12 (1) exhorted each one of you and (2)encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
2) PARAKALEO EXHORTER
The first intent or form of Paul’s parakaleo ministry involves the believers need to know and be responsive and obedient to the truth of God’s word.
The English words in your Bible that convey this intent are exhort, beseech, urge, implore, appeal, etc.
I think that the word exhort best catches the spirit of all of them.
Exhort – To give urgent advice, recommendations, or warnings. To urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice, or appeal: exhorted the troops to hold the line – Dictionary.com.
I would define it as “giving instruction” with the purpose of redirecting our actions toward God’s calling in our life.
Some Biblical Examples of this Exhorting type of Parakaleo:
Acts 11:23 – When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,
Romans 16:17 – I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
1 Corinthians 1:10 – I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
1 Corinthians 4:16 – I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 – Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
Jude 2:3 – Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
Titus 1:9 – He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
So we are “exhorted” to:
Remain faithful with purpose – this implies not just dedication and obedience, but to do so for God’s purposes not ours. Avoid false teachers & those that cause division because they lay obstacles that hinder the progress of God’s purposes.
Be unified in mind and judgment.
Increasingly walk with and please God – you have the tools available to you so continually grow.
Dispute earnestly against falsehood.
Rebuke false doctrine by knowing sound doctrine and being able to convey that sound doctrine to others.
So the intent of Paul’s Parakaleo Exhorter ministry is to call us to know, obey, grow and defend God’s Word.
So now knowing what Paul’s Parakaleo Exhorter ministry is, we look to the Bible to tell us why this ministry is so important.
Why parakaleo this way:
2 Timothy 4:1-4 – I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Because Christians embrace false doctrine and turn away from God’s word.
Hebrews 3:13 – But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
That we might help our fellow Christians not be hardened and led astray by sin.
3) PARAKALEO ENCOURAGER
The 2nd intent or form of Paul’s parakaleo ministry involves the responsibility of one believer to build up and encourage another believer in order to strengthen that believers growth and resolve in Christ in spite of events or circumstances.
The English words in your Bible that convey this intent are encourage, embrace, comfort, etc.
I think that the word encourage best catches the spirit of all of them.
Encourage – to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence or to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc. – Dictionary.com
I would define it as comforting with the purpose of reenergizing our affections toward God’s calling in our life.
Some Biblical Examples of this Encouraging type of Parakaleo:
Acts 14:19-22 – But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, • they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered • the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 • When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter • the kingdom of God.
This is an unbelievable example of Paul’s love of his calling.
He was stoned almost to death and yet he does the comforting.
2 Corinthians 7:6-7 – But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.
Acts 15:30-32 – So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who * were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 21 • So that you also may know how I am * and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, * and that he may encourage your hearts.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as • you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 – Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
So we are “encouraged” to:
Continue in the faith in spite of and because of tribulations.
And from Paul’s example, use the hardships we have endured to comfort others.
Comfort with our presence (often meaning affections or embracing) and enthusiasm.
Comfort with our words.
Rejoice in the comfort we receive.
Build up one another.
So the intent of Paul’s Parakaleo Encourager ministry is to call us to love, comfort, sustain and build up our brothers and sisters in Christ..
So, again, we will look to the Bible to understand the importance of this ministry.
Paul experienced the benefit of a Parakaleo Encourager ministrty first hand through the support of Baranabas at what point in his, Paul’s, life?
Why parakaleo this way:
2 Corinthians 13:11 – Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, * live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
We are commanded to.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
That we might help inspire love and good works from our fellow Christians.
2 Corinthians 1:1-6 – Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 • If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we • suffer.
We share in Christ’s sufferings that we might share in His comfort and thereby comfort others as God has comforted us.
Comfort (encouragement) is a currency of God given to us in order to pay to others.
POI – 2 Cor 1:1-6 also makes clear what we alluded to at the beginning of our lesson with “the word of God, which is at work in you”.
GOD IS THE POWER & THE PURPOSE BEHIND THE EHORTING AND ENCOURAGING!
POI – The Holy Spirit also undertakes the 2 forms of parakaleo that Paul does.
Acts 9:31 – Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.
Jesus used the word paraklete, a derivative of parakaleo, to describe the Holy Spirit as the “Comforter” in John 14:16:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever…” – ASV
Ezek 36:27 – I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 – Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
So there is both an emotional/physical cost in the Christian walk and a doctrinal and obedience deficit in the Christian walk.
Paul teaches us that we have a responsibility to assist our fellow Christian overcome these via a Parakaleo Encourager and Parakaleo Exhorter ministry.
Paul gives instruction on how to engage in these ministries and the reason to do so.
All we must do is obey and this enables God to work these things through us.
What are the symptoms of a church’s need for these 2 Parakaleo ministries?
We can say that symptoms might be:
An unwillingness to evaluate and make sense of circumstances, experiences and surroundings using a Biblical perspective.
In other words, we become worldly in our evaluation process.
Another symptom, in my opinion, is that we begin to mistake our hurt pride as a pricked conscience and so make decisions we believe to be wholly correct but are in fact completely wrong!
Discouragement with how things are going in Church.
Discouragement in our walk due to the sin in our lives.