“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIVUK)

I am excited to discover this morning that to “encourage” one another is to “paraclete” each other. That is, we are called to do for each other what the Holy Spirit does for us.

The “clete” bit is “call”, the same as the “clessia” in “ecclesia” (church). The church is a group of people who are called “out” (ek) to come alongside (“para”) others and call out words of wisdom, encouragement to them and words of advocacy for them.

May God fill us with his Paraclete that we might be paracletes to each other and those we meet today.

On a related note, the word “translation” is much misunderstood. Most of us tend to think of it as A -> B, but that’s not how languages work.

We don’t usually have different translations because translators don’t agree on what the words in the Bible really mean, as if one translator thought word A meant B but now with scholarly research we discover it actually meant C. The difficulty for the translator is not understanding what word A meant to a Greek speaker in the first century but rather how best to render that meaning in English in the 21st century.

As this example shows, ekklesia means “church” and paraklountes means “encourage” or “comfort” and a parakleton is an “advocate.” These are good translations. But what no accurate English translation can capture is the link between the 3 words which in Greek.

This is why we need a multilingual church, because each human language is able to open our eyes to links and connections that are not apparent when we operate in another language.