Here is a good summary from an article I came across again recently in my files:
Encouragement includes the giving of courage, hope, confidence, support and help.
The apostle Paul ties the act of encouragement to the process of building up one another: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).
We can aid our understanding of the word encourage by looking at the gift of encouragement (or exhortation) as stated in Romans 12:8. Students of the Greek language indicate the word comes from the same family of words used to describe the Holy Spirit as our paraclete, “one who comes alongside us to help.” Leslie B. Flynn wrote of encouragement as helping to strengthen the weak, steady the faltering and console the troubled. . . .
In Scripture encouragement is often closely aligned with restoration and renewal of Spirit. For example, Psalm 3 is David’s reflection on the horrible experience of having his son turn against him, causing such a rift that all David’s relationships were broken. Psalm 3 indicates, among other things, that God replenished David’s courage (encouragement), restored his confidence (depleted by his experience) and revived his hope. Some of the same of the same results will accrue from our involvement in encouraging others.
A study of 42 NT references to the word encourage quickly reveals this is a ministry for all believers, though some have special ability because of God’s gifting. Encouragement is coming alongside another to offer help and hope.