the weblog of Alan Knox

Theology of Encouragement in Hebrews

Posted by on Mar 26, 2009 in biblical theology, edification, scripture | 4 comments

I was excited to get back my first paper in Biblical Theology. I wrote about using discourse analysis (macro-structure analysis) in biblical theology. My professor said that it was well conceived and well presented. This is a very good thing, because I plan to use this methodology in my dissertation.

Now, I’m preparing for my next paper in Biblical Theology. This paper will also be part of my dissertation. I’m looking at the theology of “encouragement” in the Book of Hebrews. “Encouragement” shows up in several important sections of the Book, perhaps the most important being the author’s own statement about the purpose of this book:

I appeal to [encourage] you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation [encouragement], for I have written to you briefly. (Hebrews 13:22 ESV)

Here are the other passages in Hebrews that includes the terms for “encouragement”:

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort [encourage] one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13 ESV)

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:17-18 ESV)

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

And have you forgotten the exhortation [encouragement] that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. (Hebrews 12:5 ESV)

I urge [encourage] you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. (Hebrews 13:19 ESV)

These verse include the “encourage”/”encouragement” word group. Certainly, these are not the only passages in the book of Hebrews that talk about encouragement, but these passages will be the beginning of my research.

I will study each passage in its immediate context and within the context of the book as a whole (macro-structure analysis). From this analysis, I plan to put together (synthesize) a theology of encouragement for the entire book.

From the beginning, it is interesting to note the range of the uses of these terms in Hebrews. Also, it is interesting to note that God, the author, and the readers are all responsible for encouragement.

I’ll keep you posted about my research, and will probably include a few interesting quotes from time to time.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 3-26-2009

    A church that is made up of people willing to sacrifice all to serve the risen Christ is THE ONLY WAY to really fulfill the great commission.

    I applaud Dave’s commitment to such a church and his heart for bringing this idea to the fore-front.

    Thanks for saying what needs to be said!

  2. 3-26-2009

    Sounds like an interesting dissertation. I will look forward to reading it someday.

  3. 3-27-2009

    Allow me to encourage you that I have a great trust you will fairly think and write about the treasure of meaning in Hebrews!

    I am glad you received strong supportive comments on the your paper.

    Keep up the good work, brother!

  4. 3-27-2009


    Thanks for the comment. We should continually seek to live a life of sacrifice and service.


    As I mentioned on your blog, my dissertation is not about encouragement in Hebrews. Instead, that topic will be a small part of my dissertation.

    David (ded),

    Yes, the study has already been encouraging. 🙂