What did Paul do on each of his three missionary journeys? Preach? Yes. Establish churches? Yes. But what else? Note the following passages:
●First Journey: “...strengthening the souls of the disciples...” (Acts 14:22).
●Second Journey: “...strengthening the churches” (Acts 15:41).
●Third Journey: “...strengthening all the disciples” (Acts 18:23).
How is this accomplished? The word for “strengthening” is found four times in the New Testament. Three of these are cited above. The other is also in Acts: “And Judas and Silas . . . encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words” (15:32 emphasis added).
Our souls are strengthened by teaching and exhortation! Again Acts 14:22, but this time the whole verse: “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.’”
So how did Paul strengthen disciples? By encouraging them to be faithful. By teaching them what to expect. By reminding them of their goal: heaven.
Barnabas used the same method. After arriving at Antioch and finding many converts, “he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (Acts 11:23).
Oh, how we need this! So when the church assembles, let’s show up, listen, learn —and be strengthened!