Today we are looking at one of the most beautiful words in the Bible that has been rendered almost meaningless and its power stripped by the translators. Let's begin by taking a look at Heb. 13:22.
I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation, (Heb. 13:22) the meaning of the word translated exhortation as set forth here in Hebrews is the Greek word paraklesis.
This word paraklesis is used twenty nine times in the Bible and is translated consolation fourteen times, exhortation eight times, comfort six times and entreaty one time. This will give you a flavor of how the word is used in the King James Version it is the writers contention that exhortation may be a poor translation of the word and that comfort or comforter is the proper translation of paraklesis .
Paraklesis is defined by the dual suggestion that that which comforts, comforts from two unique positions. Consider the paraklete or the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) and also consider the Advocate parakletos (I Jo 1:2) here we have the dual nature of the paraklesis one as Comforter the other as Christ the legal defense of the Believer.
We should look at Luke 2:25 "And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name [was] Simeon; and the same man [was] just and devout, waiting for the consolation paraklesis of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him." This is where we see that exhortation as a synonym of comfort as a meaning for paraklesis simply cannot work.
Matt. 8:5 "And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him," parakleo this is more understandable a use of the word than exhort. Look at one more 2 Cor. 1:4 "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." Parakleo, parakleo, paraklesis and parakleo, used respectively of the word comfort in the verse. Now substitute exhort and the verse makes no sense.
The phrase "we ourselves are comforted" takes on an interesting meaning because of the tense of the verb. It is in the present tense but in the passive voice which represents the subject as being the recipient of the action or the comfort. The phrase is also in the indicative mood which is a simple statement of fact; it says it happened therefore we are comforted. The Word of God is wonderful.
2 Tim. 4:2 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." Here exhort paraklaeo cannot be translated correctly and must be rendered beseech or comfort. The same applies to 1 Tim. 2:6 teach and exhort.
In paraklesis or parakleo we have therefore a word which can easily be robbed of its beauty and power by the application of an imaginative mechanical rule. Its etymology reveals that it means, "to call to one's side"; its usage shows that according to the context, it means either; to entreat as in "I beseech", admonish as in "I exhort" and consolation as in "I comfort" and that in each shade of meaning, the other aspects are present. The beseeching will not be so gentle as to be weak, the admonition will not be so harsh as to be repugnant, and the consolation will not be without comfort.
Paul Griffitts has been a Bibical Researcher for over 30 years
Currently Paul is the Editor of The Good News Letter for Believer.com
Click here for a Free eBook The Two Natures in the Child of God