“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)
I have to confess that I’m somewhat fascinated by the Greek word translated “to stir up” in Hebrews 10:24. The Greek word paroxusmos is built on the root parox which is itself a compound word derived from two other Greek words: “para” (a preposition serving as an intensifier) and oxus meaning “sharp.” At its root, the word parox refers to “something sharp.”
The ancient Greeks used the root to form a wide variety of word-uses including: stimulate, incite, urge or spur on, exasperate, provoke, aggravate and more. All of these usages communicate the sense of a sharpening of feeling or action. By the time we come to the New Testament, where the word only occurs twice (here and in Acts 15:39), the word paroxusmos communicates the idea of a sharp contention, irritation or incitement (OK, while I wouldn’t describe this as a “shouting match,” I would describe it as a VERY spirited discussion!).
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews uses the word in the context of the Christian community coming together and giving “serious thought” (that’s the meaning of the Greek word rendered “consider” in Hebrews 10:24) as to how they can “incite” each other to “love and good deeds,” even to the point of “sharp disagreement.”
When was the last time you got together with fellow believers and discussed how to “incite” each other to doing good, especially to those in need (remember Matthew 25:31ff)? If you can’t remember when you last had that discussion, then it has probably been too long! Maybe it’s time for you to get involved and to join us in “inciting a conspiracy of kindness and good deeds”!