Author: Ron Graham
The One-Another Ministry
—How Christians help each other
The term one another crops up a lot in the New Testament. The faith that you have placed in Jesus Christ is not an entirely personal matter between you and God.
The popular idea of a "personal faith" is not what Christianity is about at all. Certainly, you are individually and personally accountable to God. However, when it comes to thinking about being "one in Christ" you shouldn't be thinking of the "one" as you, but as "one body" of which you are a member in particular (1Corinthians 12:27). That's where the emphasis lies —not on one person, but on one body.
After all the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit think of themselves in that way. As a reflection of their relationship to each other, we make ourselves "members of one another" (Romans 12:5, Ephesians 4:25).
1 Don't Do This to One Another
Before we look at what our obligations to one another are, let's get a few negatives out of the way —things we should not do to one another.
- "Do not judge one another any more" (Romans 14:13).
- "If you bite and devour one another be careful lest you be consumed by one another... Let us not become boastful, provoking one another, envying one another" (Galatians 5:15,26).
- "Do not lie to one another" (Colossians 3:9).
- "Speak not evil of one another my brethren" (James 4:11).
2 Love One Another
Now turning to the positive side, the most obvious one another in the scripture is "love one another". Jesus said this was the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:35-40).
- "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).
- "You are taught of God to love one another" (1Thessalonians 4:9).
- "Be devoted to one another in love --outdo one another in honour" (Romans 12:10).
- "Owe nothing to anybody, except to love one another" (Romans 13:8).
- "Through love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13).
- "Bearing with one another in love... be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another..." (Ephesians 4:2,32).
- "Abound in love toward one another" (1Thessalonians 3:12).
- "Love one another with a pure heart fervently... love covers a multitude of sins" (1Peter 1:22, 1Peter 4:8).
- "Love one another" (1John 3:11,23, 1John 4:7,11,12, 2John 1:5)
The opposite of this characterises non-Christians generally. "For we also were once...spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Saviour and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us..." (Titus 3:3-4).
While love is in the heart, there should be an outward show of affection too. The Bible tells us to "Greet one another with a holy kiss of love" (Romans 16:15, 1Corinthians 16:20, 1Peter 5:14).
3 Edify One Another
"So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which we may edify one another" (Romans 14:19). There are many ways we can edify (build each other up):
- FAITH: "Encouraged by one another 's faith --yours and mine" (Romans 1:12).
- ACCEPTANCE: "Be likeminded toward one another ...Accept one another just as Christ accepted you" (Romans 15:5,7).
- ADMONITION: "Full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, that you may be able to admonish one another " (Romans 15:14).
- TARRYING: "When you come together to eat [the Lord's Supper] tarry for one another " (1Corinthians 11:33). The underlying principle here is that its not right to run ahead impatiently, and leave behind those who are lagging.
- SHARING BURDENS: "Bear one another ’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2, 1Corinthians 12:25).
- SINGING: "Teaching and exhorting one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..." (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).
- SUBMISSION: "Submit yourselves to one another in the fear of God" (Ephesians 5:21).
- ESTEEM: "Let each of you esteem one another as more important than himself... Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:3-5).
- ENCOURAGEMENT: "Comfort [encourage] one another with these words" (1Thessalonians 4:18, 1Thessalonians 5:11)
- SUPPORT: "Seek what is good for one another and for all men" (1Thessalonians 5:15).
- STIMULATING: "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24).
- PRAYER: "Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed" (James 5:16).
- HOSPITALITY: "Use hospitality toward one another without grumbling" (1Peter 4:9)
- GIFTS: "As each one has received a special gift, use it in serving one another " (1Peter 4:10)