Exhortation has three basic meanings in the Bible:

1. A call to come to one’s side is the literal meaning. Today, we would use the phrase “get on board” to convey the same idea. When this meaning is intended, the phrase I urge you... is a common translation, as well as encourage, beseech, implore, appeal, and entreat. A sense of urgency and importance is implied. Peter exhorted the crowd on Pentecost to obey. Paul exhorted the divided church in Corinth to agree.  Acts 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:10

2. Encouragement to continue is an exhortation to someone who is already on your side. Barnabas and Paul visited Christians in various places, exhorting them to continue in the faith. In fact, Barnabas means Son of ExhortationActs 11:23; Acts 14:22; Acts 4:36

3. A message of comfort is also called exhortation. Paul provided reassuring information about the second coming to the distressed Christians in Thessalonica, telling them to comfort one another with his words. The church in Corinth needed to comfort a recently restored brother.  1 Thessalonians 4:18; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8

Exhort and exhortation are very common words in the New Testament, and we should be frequently exhorting one another in whatever way is needed. Be like Barnabas.  Hebrews 3:13; Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:11

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, exhort you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called. With all humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another in love, be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:1-3

~ SR

Related words: rebuke, reprove

Ruhmann, Scott. “Word of the Week: Exhort.” 27th Street Church of Christ. Access date: . http://www.churchofbend.com/wow/exhort.htm