In Genesis 2:18 (ESV) it says “It is not good that the man should be alone….” God designed us with a need for fellowship. There are many verses in the article below dealing with “one another.” I recently watched Robin Williams in “Patch Adams.” It is a movie based on a true story. In the beginning Patch Adams is depressed and suicidal. He checked himself into a mental hospital. And while there he found the “cure” for his condition was in connecting with, and helping, people. He went on to medical school and became a medical doctor who invested his life in helping others. It is sad to think Robin Williams forgot that story of Patch Adams in his last days.
Reading these verses in this article make clear the command to fellowship with and love one another. In Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol“, the ghost of Jacob Marley warns Ebenezer Scrooge of the perils of focusing only on profits at the expense of his responsibility to others. He tells Ebenezer: “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
May we make time to enjoy one another during this New Year. Take time to love on someone.
“One another” is two words in English, but it’s only one word in Greek: ἀλλήλων (ah-LAY-loan). It’s used in 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church, and 60% of those instructions come from Paul.
kisses? Yes! Four of the “one another” commands are about kissing.
When you look at these verses, a few more common themes show up, like unity, love and humility.
Unity. One third of the one-another commands deal with the unity of the church.
- Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
- Don’t grumble among one another (John 6:43)
- Be of the same mind with one another (Romans 12:16, Romans 15:5)
- Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
- Wait for one another before beginning the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:33)
- Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another—seriously, guys, don’t eat each other (Galatians 5:15)
- Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Galatians 5:26)
- Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ephesians 4:2)
- Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Bear with and forgive one another (Colossians 3:13)
- Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
- Don’t complain against one another (James 4:11, 5:9)
- Confess sins to one another (James 5:16)
Love. One third of them instruct Christians to love one another.
- Love one another (John 13:34, John 15:12, 17; Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 1 John 4:7, 11; 2 John 5)
- Through love, serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
- Tolerate one another in love (Ephesians 4:2)
- Greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Peter 5:14)
- Be devoted to one another in love (Romans 12:10)
Humility. About 15% stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers.
- Give preference to one another in honor (Romans 12:10)
- Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)
- Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
- Wash one another’s feet (John 13:14)
- Don’t be haughty: be of the same mind (Romans 12:16)
- Be subject to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
- Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)
Here’s the rest:
- Do not judge one another, and don’t put a stumbling block in a brother’s way (Romans 14:13)
- Greet one another with a kiss (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12)
- Husbands and wives: don’t deprive one another of physical intimacy (1 Corinthians 7:5)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Speak truth to one another (Ephesians 4:25)
- Don’t lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)
- Comfort one another concerning the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
- Encourage and build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Be hospitable to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
Of course, Jesus and the apostles give many more instructions to the church; these “one another” passages are a good start, though.
Also: make sure you read these in context! These commands come from Jesus, Peter, John, Paul, and James, and they’re scattered across the New Testament. Don’t just stop at this list: dig into these passages to see what the author was talking about.
One more note on the kissing: check out the cultural settings of these verses before planting one on your pastor’s cheek next weekend. and remember, “It is not good that the man should be alone…, so we need these verses to help us get along.
Some other “One Another” pages