Scriptural Gem for July 2015

In 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 we read: 'For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory'.

In the passage above, even though he is speaking generally to the Thessalonians, Paul gives us his view of fatherhood and uses three distinct words to describe how a father is to deal with his children. The translation above is from the NIV but in the KJV, the three words are translated as 'exhorted', 'comforted' and 'charged'. Do we all know what these words actually mean or are we attaching our own meanings? The original Greek clarifies the picture beautifully...

The first word Paul uses (translated as encouraging or exhorting) is 'Parakaleo'. This word literally means 'to call to one's side'. The second of the three words (translated as comforting) is 'Paramytheomai' which literally means 'to speak very closely with'. The third word is 'Martyromai' which means 'to testify or be a witness'.

Together these three words paint a lovely picture of a father calling his child to his side, speaking closely with them and testifying / being a witness. This final element is most important. We cannot use the old adage, "Do as I say but not as I do." Rather our words must be backed up by the evidence of Christ's life in us, or the spoken words will be of no value.

Father, as we call our children near, may they be struck by the Living Christ in us. Mere human words are powerless. Amen.

Werner Schreiber