V. 1 ** The apostle uses an interesting grammatical structure here in
verse one to lay out for us the four qualifiers of the request he will
be making in verse two.
Read verse one again - Is Paul questioning the existence of these four
godly qualities in the life a believer?
No - The word "if" is used here in the first class condition
and could easily be translated "since". He is saying that because the four things he mentions here in verse
one do exist, that his request of verse two should naturally follow.
Let's look at these one at a time -
1) ** What does Paul mean by the "encouragement in Christ"
which exists within the lives of those who share a like precious faith?
"Encouragement" translates paraklesis, which means to "come
along side". Because of our unity in the faith which is in Christ,
we are equipped to come to each others side for love, support, strength
and compassion. cf. Romans 15:4-6 and Acts 4:34-37
2) ** How about the phrase "consolation of love",
what does that expression connote?
paramuthion - carries the idea of tenderness, just as the love of
Christ is in fact tender toward us, we should have a tender heart
toward one another. cf. Ephesians 4:32, 1Thessalonians 2:7 and 1Peter
3) ** What does the third qualifier mean?
"fellowship of the Spirit" - We learned this term back
in chapter one, verse five. koinonia - lit. means fellowship, but
carries the idea of participation or sharing. Because we have a "fellowship"
with the Holy Spirit, we also have fellowship with each other.
cf. 1Corinthians 3:1-3, Titus 1:4, Romans 1:11-12