Exhortation or Teaching? (Day 31)

Last night, I got together with a wonderful Christian woman who has been teaching local women the Bible for years. We sat down to a delicious dinner at a local Italian restaurant, with my list of questions, and a natural compatibility. I dug into my shrimp scampi with gusto (remember, I am 18 weeks pregnant), and Sherilyn encouraged me from start-to-finish.

One of the first things she asked me was, “Are you sure you don’t have the spiritual gift of exhortation with the skill of teaching?” Somehow, I knew the answer right away, but I asked her to explain. She said that the gift of exhortation is when you love to shine the light of God’s Word, inviting people to see, live, and think rightly.  Teaching involves a much more systematic approach, with notes, homework, and careful assessment. I told her I thought she was onto something…

When I got home, I pulled down my big, fat Strong’s Concordance and looked up all the references for “exhort” and “exhortation”. In Scripture, it usually occurs alongside teaching (and patience!).

From the Greek dictionary:

exhort (parakaleo) = “to call near, invite, invoke (by imploration, giving advise, or consolation), beseech, call for, be of good comfort, desire, intreat, pray.” This totally reminds me of my rough-draft tagline! “Inviting you to live in the light of God’s Word.” Coincidence? Of course not!

From the Webster’s dictionary:

exhort = to incite by words or advice, to advise or warn earnestly.

If you know me well, you can answer her question for me. Um, YES! I LOVE TO EXHORT. Love it. Love it. Love it.

I love to give the best advice possible and explain Scripture clearly so that people see a great, big lightbulb and say, “OH! What MAGNIFICENT TRUTH!”

I’m laughing out loud with glee just typing about it.

I also love to teach, but I can see now why God would be leading me into a season of developing my ability to teach the Bible. Because it’s a skill that I can improve and, with God’s help and guidance, I’ll keep on.

This may be “Day 31 of 31” in the blogosphere, but in real-time, I’ve just begun…


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6 Comments to "Exhortation or Teaching? (Day 31)"

  1. October 31, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Laura. I just wanted to share that I’ve been reading your posts and have really been able to relate with this series. I’m in the process of designing my author site to launch in early January (it will be my new writing home) and one of the things I’m going to push more is speaking. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t completely terrify me. But I have seen how God is preparing me for that path. I spoke at our church early this year (just sharing my testimony) and I was shocked at the response I received from the audience. As I was talking, women were crying during the sad parts and laughing at the humor I added in. When it was over, there was literally a line of women wanting to meet me, talk to me, thank me for being so transparent and tell me how much they could relate. It was as if God was showing me there is another way to connect with the world and point people to Christ than just through my blog and my books. Anyway, I’m rambling now, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey. I appreciate it. :-)

    • November 7, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Rosann, how wonderful that you are willing to face something that is frightening for you in order to glorify God. May you be blessed as you follow Jesus…

  2. Joe
    November 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Hey Laura,
    You should check out Chip Ingram’s study on Spiritual Gifts entitled “Your Divine Design” . . . http://www.lote.org . . . It sounds like your main motivational gift is exhortation, but you can use it in the ministry gift of teaching. It’s really a great study! We have extra copies at the church if you’re interested. Ginger could bring them to dance with her!

    • November 7, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Joe! I’d love to take a look at that. Maybe Ginger can bring one along to the dance performance at the end of November? That’d be so helpful!

  3. Joanne
    November 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Dear Laura,

    I affirm your gift of exhortation – it’s all over this wonderful blog! I thank God for the many times I have come here and left with exactly those words: oh what a magnificent truth! The way your family lives out the truth of Gods word has richly blessed and enriched my family life. Keep fanning the flame and I pray we’ll continue to see you and be exhorted in this place! :)

    • November 7, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Thank you, thank you, Joanne. Your words encourage my heart.