Recently my pastor said that "one another" is a principle in the Bible. So I searched that phrase in my Bible and it's all over the place and I thought I'd do a little study on it!
First off, when you search the phrase "one another" in the KJV Bible, you get 53 results, 39 of which are in the New Testament. Some verses are telling you how to treat one another while others are describing how not to treat one another. For now I think I'll just focus on ways we are called to treat one another.
O N E A N O T H E R
Listed below are 19 verses that contain the phrase "one another." Since the KJV Bible uses language that is sometimes hard to understand, I've added in notes, definitions, and some of my thoughts while reading!
"If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet." -John 3:14
We are to be like Jesus and he washed his disciples' feet. To me, this shows a sign of respect and also forces us to have humility. I once heard that the servant who was designated to wash the feet had the lowliest job, and yet Jesus chose to do it. He chose to do something that no one expected him to do. And that's another aspect of this verse; we need to do things for each other that are unexpected. Don't just do what is asked; but go out of your way to show your brother or sister in Christ that you love and respect them.
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;" -Romans 12:10
Philostorgos is the Greek word that was originally used for "affectioned," and interestingly it was the only time this word was ever used in the Bible. It means: tenderly loving, kindly affectionate to. It's the devoted kind of love that family members share; the special affection shared between members of God's family – people who are born again (divinely adopted) and serving the same (heavenly) Father.
In the second part of the verse, we are told to "prefer" one another. The original word used means to be a leader. We are called to set good examples to our family (and to the world), always exhibiting proper behavior. I've also heard someone interpret this verse to mean that we should prefer our brothers and sisters over ourselves.
"Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." -Romans 14:13
The first part of this verse is seemingly straightforward: Don't judge because you are incapable of righteously judging someone. Instead of judging, worry about yourself -- make sure you aren't causing your brother or sister to fall by encouraging them to sin or involving them in your own sin.
"Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God." -Romans 15:7
To receive our brother or sister in Christ means to welcome them. And not just a weak welcome, but showing personal interest and letting them know that you truly care and are glad they are a part of your life. Make it personal; don't just be generic. Christ couldn't have made it any more personal for us when he died on the cross. He sacrificed himself. Sometimes we have to sacrifice ourselves. Personally, I am often shy, sometimes I click really well with someone I've just met, but it's usually slightly uncomfortable for me. However, I am called to receive my brothers and sisters, so I need to lay aside my fears and be welcoming. We are called to treat each other just as Jesus treated people. How do you think Jesus received people?
"And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." -Romans 15:14
To admonish means to warn, counsel, or exhort. We are never supposed to judge and condemn people, but we should always be discerning for the truth. When you genuinely see that a brother or sister is doing something you believe is causing harm to them you can start by praying for them and eventually, if needed, you can gently pull them aside to discuss how you're worried about them.
"Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you." -Romans 16:16
"All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss." -1 Corinthians 16:20
"Greet one another with an holy kiss." -2 Corinthians 13:12
"Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen." -1 Peter 5:14
To salute means to welcome and greet one another or to pay respect to someone. This seems pretty general, but to me, it reminds me to be friendly. The joy of Christ should be overflowing so that others can see we are different. People will be attracted to Christ only to the extent that they see Christ in us. As far as the kiss goes, it's not common anymore, but at the time this was written it was a way to show brotherly affection as you were coming and going. However it is a holy kiss, it was not romantic. Holy means to be set apart, sacred, and of God. When we greet each other today, we don't have to kiss because honestly that just freaks me out a little bit, but we can still greet each other in a holy way - the Christ in me should be mingling with the Christ in others.
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." -Galatians 5:13
I love this scripture because without knowing the context and understanding who Jesus is and what he did for us, it sounds very contradictory. The beginning of the verse says we've been called unto liberty. Liberty means freedom, the Greek word originally used was often used to describe freedom from slavery. We are free from being a slave to sin, however now we have the privilege to serve one another or be each other's slaves. The Greek word originally used was doulos, which means to be a bondservant to Jesus Christ. Knowing what Christ did for us should humble us enough to want to serve each other out of love.
For more about this topic of serving, check out a series Nancy Leigh DeMoss did on the Revive Our Hearts radio program. It's called "Serving Like the Savior" and it truly transformed the way I view serving my brothers and sisters!
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:2
To "bear" means to carry or take away and a burden is a weight that carries personal and eternal significance. We often see our brothers and sisters going through trials that we can't imagine having to go through ourselves and many times they truly look like they are being weighed down by something. It is our duty to raise their arms and earnestly and fervently pray for that individual to help lift some of the burden. Christ bore all of our burdens on the cross and now we must bear the burdens of others if we are to be Christ-like.
"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;" -Ephesians 4:2
Lowliness: humility, modesty
Meekness: mildness, gentleness, kindness
Longsuffering: patience, forbearance
Forbearing: endure, bear with, have patience with, suffer, admit, persist
This verse is packed with instruction. When we forbear our brothers and sisters and help bear their burdens, we must enter into that carefully. We can't come in to help thinking we're better and more experienced, therefore qualified to help. We also can't come in feeling sorry for ourselves or angry with someone. We have to be humble; aware that it's Christ in us seeking to do good and not our own works. A gentle and patient approach is needed as well. Think about how patient God is with us as we continually fail each day!
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." -Ephesians 4:32
To be tenderhearted means that you're merciful and compassionate, which is exactly what's needed in order to truly forgive.
"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." -Colossians 3:13
When we forbear one another we have patience with one another. A quarrel is any fault or complaint you may have towards someone, but we are called to forbear one another and have patience, suffer a little bit for your brother or sister's sake and forgive them.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." -Colossians 3:16
To let the word of Christ dwell in you richly means it dwells in you abundantly and that means it is plentiful or a large portion! It is to take up most of our being. And it's not just memorized words, it is words that bring life and motivate you to live like Christ. The more we allow Christ's word to dwell in us the more easily we can teach and admonish (warn, counsel, exhort) one another. Singing spiritual songs is needed, but I think if you go a little deeper it's also saying that we are to tune our hearts to God's and His will for us.
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." -1 Thessalonians 4:18
What words? The 18th verse is the last verse in the chapter so you have to read at least all of 1 Thessalonians 4 (or even the entire book) to understand the context. Beginning at 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Paul began to describe the return of Jesus. He was reminding the church of the Thessalonians to not get too upset about death because we have a hope! Jesus will return to take his Bride away. We can use these words today to comfort our brothers and sisters who are struggling and discouraged.
Sometimes I wish that Christians talked about this more openly because this is one of the main reasons we are always able to have joy! There is nothing better to think about than Jesus coming back for us, not only does it comfort us to think about, but it encourages us to keep striving towards holiness so that we can be a Bride member.
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." -1 Thessalonians 5:11
The Greek word originally used for "edify" was oikodomeó, which translates to: to build a house. I love that definition because we are called to build each other up. When I think of building a house there are so many different and specific aspects to it. There are the big things like foundation and structure, and in general we are called to be kind to one another and have a good foundation of friendship. But there are also tons of little things, like picking out the hardware for your kitchen cabinets -- we are also called to do little things to edify each other. Going out of your way to do something nice for a friend. As the saying goes, sometimes it's the little things. Getting an encouraging card at the right time didn't take much time or effort for the person to send, but the person who received it might remember it forever because it was exactly what they needed to get through that time in their life. And finally, when building a house, things are bound to go wrong, and sometimes we have to go back and fix and repair things. In order to continue to edify one another we have to constantly evaluate the relationship, if you want to grow a relationship you have to build the foundation, if your friend seems down you try to uplift them, if you've offended them you have to ask for forgiveness.
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." -Hebrews 3:13
The Greek word originally used for "exhort" is parakaleó, which means to send for, summon, invite, entreat, encourage, comfort, and console. And the thing that really jumps out at me in this verse is the word daily. It's not just when you feel like it; we are to do this every single day. Don't put things off for another day; if you are thinking of someone then get in touch with them today, don't wait for tomorrow. When you reach out to others it can be humbling, but in the end it always makes you feel good. I'm not sure I've ever heard someone say they regret reaching out to someone; even if their efforts were not well-received, they usually still feel good about it because they feel as if they've done their part.
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." -Hebrews 10:24-25
We must carefully consider and discern our brothers and sisters. How are my actions affecting those around me? Are my actions provoking my friends to do good things? The first thing that comes to my mind about this is gossiping or bragging. Talking about others to a friend and getting them to talk negatively with you is the opposite of this verse. Having a self-righteous spirit or bragging about your accomplishments can also provoke your friend to some not-so-good works, or at least thoughts. Even just bringing up something that is upsetting to them, such as talking about having children to a woman who can't is something we need to constantly be thinking about and considering.
When we come together in church or in fellowship we should be exhorting each other! As I mentioned earlier, it's the Christ in me fellowshipping with the Christ in you. I feel so refreshed after a church meeting or hanging out with friends and having spiritually encouraging conversations. It truly refreshes my soul! And as the world waxes worse and worse our souls will begin to crave this more and more.
L O V E O N E A N O T H E R
Things of significance are repeated in the Bible and the phrase "love one another" is used 11 times alone! While the 19 verses listed above do not directly say to love one another, they are giving us specific ways to show love one toward another! Christ loved us by dying for us; we must die to ourselves to show love to our brothers and sisters.
- "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." -John 13:34
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." -John 15:12
- "These things I command you, that ye love one another." -John 15:17
- "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." -Romans 13:8
- "But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." -1 Thessalonians 4:9
- "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart." -1 Peter 1:22
- "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." -1 John 3:11
- "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." -1 John 3:23
- "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." -1 John 4:7
- "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." -1 John 4:11-12
- "And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another." -2 John 1:5
This is day 8 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges click here. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.