Exhort Definition

The action of exhorting refers to the fact of speaking to someone with the intention of convincing them of something, making a proposal or encouraging them. Normally the exhortator is an individual who has a certain authority over others.

A general addresses his army before battle through an exhortation. Similarly, a religious leader addresses his followers or a political leader addresses his followers through words with which he tries to convey ideas or feelings that serve to motivate them. In any case, an exhortation is a proposal based on reasoning.

In the action of exhorting there are three elements: someone who speaks, an audience and the content of a speech. For words to be convincing, the speaker needs to have certain qualities, such as ease of speech, moral and intellectual authority, and the ability to connect with others.

If the exhortator has discursive ability, the public will pay attention and will most likely accept the proposal of the speech. As for the content, it will be convincing if the message is clear, emotional and direct.

In the theological realm

The term exhortation comes from the Greek, specifically from paraklésis, which could be translated as appeal or consolation. In the New Testament there are various references to this concept and it is normally used to mention the gift of convincing or encouraging others through words. In this sense, Jesus Christ exhorted his followers, that is, he proposed something that should govern his behavior (for this he used parables that served as examples that illustrated his teachings).

In the military field

Before the start of a battle, soldiers know that they can die. Consequently, the one who exhorts them (for example, the general in command) must persuade them to be courageous and determined. The general’s words are a type of exhortation, specifically a harangue. In the harangue the spirit of the troops is inflamed with very emphatic ideas (save the country, fight in the name of God or fight for the freedom of a people).

speaker types

There are speakers who make their exhortation reach the hearts of those who listen to them, while others are boring. In general, there are four types of speakers:

1) the one who speaks only when he is very sure of what he is going to say and his reasoning is based on rigorous information,

2) the one who addresses others with emotional intensity and a certain aggressiveness,

3) the likeable speaker who uses humor to connect with the audience and

4) the practical speaker whose purpose is to explain ideas as best as possible.

Photo: Fotolia – teguhjatipras