One anothering: caring for each other in community

All the New Testament writers refer often to what we are to do to or for ‘one another’ (or ‘each other’ – the Greek is the same). This concept of ‘one anothering’ is a central feature of New Testament ecclesiology, albeit one which receives little attention in contemporary academic discussions. Some time ago I worked through these ‘one anothering’ statements and summarized them in to the following categories. (I’m posting them after a request to do so form someone who listened to my audio talks on ‘rethinking church’.)

*    be at peace with one another, forgiving, agreeing, humble, accepting, forbearing, living in harmony and greeting with a kiss
*    do not judge, lie or grumble
*    show hospitality to one another
*    confess your sins to one another
*    be kind to one another, concerned, devoted, serving and doing good
*    instruct and teach one another
*    admonish, exhort and stir up one another
*    comfort and encourage one another

Reflection questions
1. Which do you think you (as a church and as an individual) are good at?
2. Which do you think you (as a church and as an individual) are not very good at?
3. What stops you (as a church and as an individual) doing more ‘one anothering’?

This list is based on the following verses:Mark 9:50
John 13:34-35*
Romans 12:10
Romans 12:16 (Romans 15:5)
Romans 14:13
Romans 15:7
Romans 15:14
Romans 16:16 (1 Peter 5:14)
1 Corinthians 12:25
2 Corinthians 13:11-12
Galatians 5:13
Ephesians 4:2Ephesians 4:32 (Colossians 3:13)
Ephesians 5:21
Colossians 3:9
Colossians 3:16 (Ephesians 5:19)
1 Thessalonians 5:11; 4:18
1 Thessalonians 5:15
Hebrews 3:13
Hebrews 10:24-25
James 5:9
James 5:16
1 Peter 4:8-10
1 Peter 5:5

*See also John 15:12,17; Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11,23; 4:7,11-12; 2 John 5.

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5 thoughts on “One anothering: caring for each other in community

  1. This post reminds me of the need for teaching to the ‘put-on’ nature of discipleship as well as what we need to ‘put-off’.

    David Powlison teaches “The Three Trees” diagram based on LUKE 6:43-45 to biblical counseling students. It’s intended to help us understand the roots of good and bad behavior. I’ve heard he once said that students usually do well at identifying the bad fruit and it’s roots. That’s because most of us are very familiar with that kind of tree. It’s easy for us to talk about the ‘put offs’. However, when asked to detail and flesh out what good fruit looks like, students find that much more difficult to do. Since we’re not as familiar with that tree it’s harder to talk about the ‘put ons’.

    Perhaps we need to hear and read more about how to ‘put on’ good fruit. I’m talking about going deep into each of the bullet items above and detailing what these ‘one anothers’ look like.

    Providentially I’m starting a new teaching series on the ‘one anothers’ this Sunday! What other work have you done on this topic?

  2. Have you seen the book I wrote with Steve Timmis called Total ChurchIt’s about doing life and mission in the context of the day-to-day life of the Christian community. One of the ‘slogans’ of the book is ordinary people doing ordinary life with gospel intentionality. Also chapter 9 of my book You Can Change is about how we help one another grow and change as Christians, incuding comments on rebuking one another (the ‘one anothering’ most churches reckon they do worst on).

  3. Tim,

    Thanks for responding. Yes, I’m aware of the book but haven’t read it yet. I plan to change that soon. A close friend of mine highly recommended it.

    For myself, it’s the ‘in love’ piece of Biblical correction that makes it so difficult ;-)

    Definitely looking forward to your book. Thanks again.

  4. Pingback: Love one another: what the web says « Very random thoughts

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