Encouragement refers to the resultant actions and conditions of encouraging someone. It instils courage (<Latin: courage, ‘heart’) into a person and positively transforms their emotional state. It aids, animates and emboldens them to undertake purpose-filled transformative action and to derive satisfaction from it. 

Encouragement is related to enthusiasm, which means ‘possessed or inspired by a deity’ to passionately and zealously pursue something or to follow someone.

 An encouraged and enthusiastic person learns to perceive themselves and the world around them differently; they give up their former gloomy mindset and become joyful, interested, and gainfully active.

Biblical Teachings on Encouragement

Encouragement remains an important teaching of the Bible and it invites its believers to derive encouragement not merely from the socio-cultural, psychological, and material world, but primarily from God as their creator, sustainer, and saviour and lord. 

The constancy of God in spite of repeated human failures and God’s consistent favour for humans are but two sources that encourage religious believers. 

Encouragement In The Life Of Biblical Figures

The most often used Hebrew verb to encourage (chāzaq, ‘to strengthen’) conveys actions that make a person prevail against all odds. This verb conveys the notion that a person remains firm, grows stronger, and gets restored amidst ambiguities, uncertainties, and problems of life. 

For example, when the life of Moses, the deliverer and leader of exiles from Egypt, was about to end, God asked Moses to encourage Joshua (Deut. 1:38) and to strengthen (Deut. 3:38) him. 

Keeping God’s commandments makes the people stronger (Deut. 11:8) and stay focused on the priorities of their life. Consequently, Moses advised Joshua to stay courageous and strong (Deut. 31:6). 

In Joshua 1:6, the Lord (YHWH) repeated what Moses had told and asked Joshua to remain strong and courageous. The reminder of the Hebrew Bible contains numerous occasions, where the kings and people received encouragement from God and others.

Encouragement In The New Testament

The New Testament places the virtue of encouragement as an important aspect of Christian life. For example, 

  • The Greek noun paraklēsis denotes not only encouragement, but also comfort, consolation, persuasion, and appeal. This conveys the idea that someone accompanies and calls on a person so that this person does not lose hope, purpose in life, and good things (Acts 9:31. 13:15, 15:31). 
  • The Lord Jesus Christ remains the source of encouragement. His promise of sending his Encourager (paraklētos, ‘counsellor, advocate, helper’), namely God the Holy Spirit, helps us to carry on the ministry of encouragement.
  • Barnabas embodied encouragement and comfort (Acts 4:36).
  • Romans 12:8 presents encouragement as a type of special ministry. God is an example of patience and encouragement (Romans 15:5 and 2 Cor. 1:3). 
  • The author of Hebrews reminded the dispersed and suffering Christians of that time to bear the message of encouragement (Hebrews 13:22) about the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

The Role Of Encouragement In Today’s World

This ministry of encouragement is important amidst torrents of discouraging news, that mass media pour into our lives. 

Encouragement teaches them to concentrate on what they already have and not on what they do not have. It helps them to take the next small step towards achieving a better future for themselves and a more humane world for all. 


Encouragement keeps people to moving forward. It empowers people to take risks and to defy their circumstances of perceived impossibilities.

What God promised in Isaiah 41:10 holds true for us today: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).

Prof. Dr. Daniel Jeyaraj is an accomplished church historian and currently serves as the Academic Dean at Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life.