The word “succour” appears several times in the Bible, especially in the King James Version. But what exactly does it mean? The meaning of succour in the Bible can provide key insights for Christians today. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the definition, usage, and significance of “succour” throughout Scripture. We will examine how God provides succour to His people, and how we are called to provide succour to others.
- Succour means to help, aid, assist, or bring relief to someone, especially in times of hardship or distress.
- God frequently provides succour to His people throughout the Bible during trials, temptations, and persecutions.
- As Christians, we are instructed to succour others, especially those in need like the poor, widowed, orphaned, sick, or imprisoned.
- Biblical succour involves both spiritual and physical aid through prayer, encouragement, food, resources, and deliverance.
- Understanding succour helps us trust God more in hard times and have compassion on those who are suffering.
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The word “succour” is not commonly used in modern English. But it appears numerous times in the King James Version of the Bible, translated from Hebrew and Greek words meaning aid, help, or assistance. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines succour as “assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.”() It means to help someone in serious need by providing whatever relief or aid they require.
Succour often implies saving someone from harm or improving a dire situation. It can involve giving physical or material assistance to those lacking basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, or money. But it also encompasses emotional, psychological, and spiritual support – comforting, advising, encouraging, and praying for others in their troubles and trials.
Providing biblical succour is an act of compassion, love, and self-sacrifice for another person’s welfare and deliverance from suffering or danger. It reflects God’s care and concern for His children when they face adversity.
God Provides Succour
One of the most prominent themes regarding succour in Scripture is how God helps and sustains His people in the midst of trial and affliction. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 describes God as the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”()
God promises to be present with us in hardship, providing the aid and relief we need. As David wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)() Hebrews 2:18 says Jesus is able to succour us in temptation because he himself experienced temptation but did not sin. God provides the mercy and grace we need, “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Throughout Israel’s history, God delivered succour to His people in miraculous ways:
- Guiding the Israelites out of Egypt – After 400 years of slavery and affliction, God hears their cries and rescues them with mighty miracles and proofs. (Exodus 3)
- Preserving Israel in the wilderness – God leads, protects, and provides for Israel through the Red Sea crossing, giving manna and quail, and water from the rock. (Exodus 16-17)
- Victories over enemies – When Israel battles fierce enemies like the Amalekites, God intervenes and grants them victory. (Exodus 17:8-16)
- Healing and salvation – Whether through prophets like Elisha and Isaiah or direct divine aid, God brings healing and restoration to Israel. (2 Kings 20, Isaiah 38)
- The Messiah – Jesus Christ ultimately brings the greatest succour by saving us from sin and death and reconciling us to God. (Luke 2, Romans 5:6-11)
No matter the trial, God promises to be an ever-present help offering strength, provision, guidance, and comfort. As Peter said, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) We can trust God to succour us in affliction.
Christians Called to Succour Others
If God so faithfully succours us, He expects us to emulate Him by aiding others in need. Scripture instructs us to be generous, merciful, and compassionate, coming alongside the poor, oppressed, and vulnerable. Jesus said His followers will be judged based on how they treated “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:31-46) Here are some biblical principles about succouring others:
- Help those in need – Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” James 1:27 defines true religion as visiting “orphans and widows in their trouble.” We must not ignore those struggling around us.
- Share resources – 1 John 3:17 says, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” We should use our finances, talents, and time to assist others.
- Pray for others – Intercessory prayer brings spiritual aid. James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” We can cry out to God on someone’s behalf.
- Offer comfort – 2 Corinthians 1:4 says God comforts us so we can comfort others. We should surround the grieving and hurting with compassion, presence, hope, and encouragement.
- Forgive others – Forgiveness brings relief and reconciliation. Ephesians 4:32 states, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
- Speak truth gently – The truth can bring freedom but must be shared carefully and lovingly. Ephesians 4:15 says we should be “speaking the truth in love.” Harsh words won’t provide succour.
God may call us to sacrifice our resources, time, energy, or comfort to bring aid to others. But He promises to equip and reward those who obey His command to provide biblical succour.
Succour in the Psalms
The Book of Psalms contains many cries to God for succour in times of distress along with praise for His compassionate aid. Reading these psalms can help us cling to God when we feel afflicted and are seeking relief. Here are a few key examples:
- Psalm 18 – After recounting God’s deliverance from enemies, David says in verse 35, “You have… upheld me by Your gracious right hand.”()
- Psalm 20 – This psalm asks God to “send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion” (verse 2).()
- Psalm 22 – Although feeling forsaken by God, David cries out for aid saying, “But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!” (verse 19).()
- Psalm 27 – Amidst enemies, David says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?” (verse 1). He is confident God will “hide me” and “set me high upon a rock.” (verse 5)()
- Psalm 46 – This psalm famously declares, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (verse 1)()
- Psalm 94 – The psalmist feeling oppressed calls on God to rise up and “be my help” (verse 17). God will return wrath on evildoers but provide refuge (verses 21-22).()
When facing any troubling situation – sickness, oppression, loneliness, persecution – we can cry out to God for help like the psalmists did. God promises to be our helper and deliverer.
Succour in the Gospels
Jesus’ life and ministry epitomized coming alongside those in need to provide compassionate aid and relief. He perfectly fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah would “bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and comfort all who mourn.” (Isaiah 61:1-2)() Here are some key examples of Jesus bringing succour:
- Healing sicknesses and diseases – Jesus healed every kind of illness and disability, often restoring people to full strength immediately. (Matthew 4:23) His miracles brought physical relief.
- Casting out demons – Demon possession caused terrible suffering. Jesus’ commands liberated many from demonic power, reforming their lives. (Matthew 8:16, Luke 8:26-39)
- Forgiving sins – Jesus forgave people’s sins and cleansed their consciences. This brought profound spiritual and emotional relief. (Matthew 9:2)
- Raising the dead – For mourning loved ones, Jesus returned individuals like Lazarus from the dead, turning grief into joy. (John 11:38-44)
- Welcoming outcasts – Jesus embraced those scorned by society like tax collectors and prostitutes, providing them fellowship. (Luke 15:1-2)
- Defending the vulnerable – Jesus protected the woman caught in adultery, children others tried to turn away, and the rights of widows. (John 8, Luke 18:1-8)
- Dying on the cross – Christ’s atoning death for our sins brought the greatest succour by reconciling us to God and giving eternal life. (Romans 5:6-11)
Jesus met every kind of need – physical, mental, social, spiritual. His compassion reflects the Father’s heart for the hurting and lost. We must follow Jesus’ example of offering succour through sacrificial service.
Succour in the Epistles
The New Testament letters expand on Jesus’ teaching and example, instructing the Church on how to live godly lives caring for one another. The epistles call Christians to generously provide succour on Christ’s behalf. Here are key instructions about succour:
- Help fellow Christians – Paul describes the church as Christ’s Body, saying if “one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26) We must support struggling believers.
- Care for the vulnerable – James 1:27 says pure religion means visiting “orphans and widows in their trouble.” We must aid vulnerable groups facing hardship.
- Welcome strangers – Hebrews 13:2 states, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” We should show hospitality, not knowing others’ needs.
- Bear one another’s burdens – Galatians 6:2 urges us to carry each other’s burdens. We should help remove sources of suffering weighing others down.
- Comfort the grieving – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 reminds us God comforts us in trials so we can comfort others. We must surround mourners with compassion.
- Pray for each other – James 5:16 teaches, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Our prayers can support the hurting.
Our churches must be havens of biblical succour where no need goes unmet because we are all focused on caring for one another in love.
Succour in Revelation
The apocalyptic imagery in Revelation portrays believers facing intense persecution and tribulation in the end times. But God promises to preserve and sustain His people, providing ultimate succour. For example:
- Revelation 3:10 – Jesus says, “I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Jesus pledges to protect believers during coming global disasters.()
- Revelation 7:16-17 – The saints who survive the tribulation will no longer experience hunger, thirst, heat or pain because “the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” God will comfort His people.()
- Revelation 21:4 – In the new creation, God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” God’s children will experience ultimate relief from all suffering.()
No matter how terrifying the evil and persecution, God gives us the courage to endure by promising we will receive eternal succour in His presence. This hope inspires us to offer temporal succour to others now.
Succour – aid and relief in times of hardship – is a prominent biblical theme. God knows His children will face trials and troubles, so He extends compassionate deliverance, strength, and comfort. We see God faithfully succour Israel throughout the Old Testament and Christ embodied succour during His earthly ministry. Scripture calls us to follow God’s model by ensuring the afflicted and vulnerable receive generous succour through our prayers, resources, and support. Clinging to God’s promises of present and eternal succour equips us to endure and overcome all life’s troubles. Understanding the biblical meaning of succour transforms how we trust God amidst trials and how we can become vessels of His care to a hurting world.