I wrote the below back in 2007 and have found it is great to read it again and again.
Barry Austin, a YWAM Missionary of 40 years, shared with our group about ten “one anothers” found in scripture as he discussed the dynamics of relationships, and he noted there were many more in scripture. In light of my last post on commands that I seem to treat as suggestions, I thought it would be interesting to find all the “one anothers” in scripture. I was especially interested given my desire to see more unity in the Body of Christ, a topic I’ve written on frequently.
After you put all the one anothers together in one place it seems that the Christianity presented in the bible is on leave of absence – an LOA. I pray that we who follow Jesus will stop taking an LOA from our main job – being ambassadors of Christ – and start doing what we are told – to LOA, that is, to love one another.
Here’s the list of “one anothers,” all of which are part of our job description:
1. LOVE ONE ANOTHER John 13:34-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
2. BE DEVOTED TO ONE ANOTHER Romans 12:10
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
3. LIVE IN HARMONY WITH ONE ANOTHER Romans 12:16
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Notice that the context of the verse would imply that being proud and conceited is contrary to being harmonious.)
4. LOVE ONE ANOTHER Romans 13:8
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
5. STOP PASSING JUDGMENT ON ONE ANOTHER Romans 14:13
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.
6. TEACH ONE ANOTHER Romans 15:13-14
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
7. GREET ONE ANOTHER Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings. (This is one of those times that even the most literal of readers of scripture would suggest that the verse isn’t normative, but is cultural. To look at the principle behind the verse, or what it would be saying to the original author and reader, we can deduce that we should be friendly to one another. What is interesting to think about is how hard it is to get close enough to kiss anyone we are at odds with. If you think of the worst church or family battle you have ever been in, and then thought about greeting someone who opposed you with a holy kiss, you can quickly see that there is something wrong in the battle itself.)
8. AGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? . . . For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospelâ€”not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
9. SERVE ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
10. BE HUMBLE AND GENTLE AND BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
11. BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO ONE ANOTHER – FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
12. SPEAK AND SING TO ONE ANOTHER Ephesians 5:19
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
13. SUBMIT TO ONE ANOTHER Ephesians 5:21
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
14. BEAR WITH AND FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
15. TEACH AND ADMONISH ONE ANOTHER Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
16. ENCOURAGE AND EDIFY ONE ANOTHER 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
17. SUBMIT, DON’T SLANDER, BE PEACEABLE AND CONSIDERATE, AND SHOW TRUE HUMILITY TO ONE ANOTHER Titus 1:1-2
18. DEVOTE YOURSELF TO DOING GOOD TO ONE ANOTHER – Titus 1:8
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
19. AVOID ARGUING AND QUARRELING ABOUT THE LAW WITH ONE ANOTHER – Titus 1:9-11
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
20. ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
21. SPUR ONE ANOTHER ON TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
22. MEET WITH AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER Hebrews 10:25
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anotherâ€”and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
23. DO NOT SLANDER AND SPEAK AGAINST ONE ANOTHER James 4:11
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
24. LOVE ONE ANOTHER 1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
25. LIVE IN HARMONY WITH ONE ANOTHER, BEING SYMPATHETIC, LOVING, COMPASSIONATE AND HUMBLE 1 Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
26. OFFER HOSPITALITY TO ONE ANOTHER WITHOUT GRUMBLING 1 Peter 4:9
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
27. CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH HUMILITY TOWARD ONE ANOTHER 1 Peter 5:5
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
28. FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER (by walking in the light) 1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
29. LOVE ONE ANOTHER, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, LOVE ONE ANOTHER…. 1 John 3:11; 1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 4:11-12; 2 John 1:5
This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.
It seems to me that if we started trusting in the Lord with all of our hearts and obeying these commands, we might just see God’s Kingdom come and His will being done. We might just see people believe the good news, as he prayed in John 17. We might just see people catching on to God’s love like never before.
My wife noted that it is hard to do many of these things if you aren’t willing to talk. It is also hard to do many of these things if your motives are to prove you are right and others are wrong. It is also very hard to do these things when we harbor anger in our hearts. And, when I think back to experiences I’ve had in church or in my family with fights and divisions, I realize that I was completely disobedient in all of these things. Given the environment one sees in many denominations these days, or just the fact that there are so many denominations in what is supposedly one Body in Christ, it sure makes me wonder whether those who are supposed to be representing Christ are on leave of absence…