Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Where One Another

This is part three of a series of the Five W's of One Another. I want to consider the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of the one another passages in the New Testament. Please take a look at the first post before reading further.

Part 1: Five W's of One Another - intro and verses showing what the one anothers are
Part 2: Who One Another
Part 3: Where One Another
Part 4: When One Another
Part 5: Why One Another
Part 6: How One Another 

Today I'll consider a where question.

Where do these one anothers apply?

Most of these verses don't really specify a location for the actions. There is likely many possible settings for these verses.

For example John 13:34-35 takes place while Jesus is sharing that last supper with his disciples. But I wouldn't conclude that Jesus wanted His disciples to love each other only when they were sharing meals together.

When Paul tells the Romans to live in harmony with one another in Romans 12:16, it implies that they were living life together. Likely multiple locations and times.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 we read that the believers were known for their love for all the believers throughout the region of Macedonia. The where in this passage covers a lot of territory.

Hebrews 10:24-25 is an interesting passage. It speaks of believers assembling or getting together. We know believers in the early church regularly got together. With these gatherings in mind we see two one another instructions. They are told to encourage one another, and to spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Let's also consider possible locations for Ephesians 5:18-19. There is instructions not to get drunk with wine, so a likely setting is a home or some casual setting where this would be possible. I can't imagine this problem occurring in a setting where people were sitting in rows of pews. We then read instructions about speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and singing together.

1 Peter 4:9 speaks of offering hospitality to one another. A common location for hospitality is in your home.

A few conclusions:
  • Many of these verses don't specify where the one another actions should take place.
  • Believers would have gathered in homes, public spaces, markets, wherever.
  • I don't believe the early church built a special building so they could do these one anothers
  • Houses would have been a common location for most of these one anothers.
I don't believe the where was really important.

Should the where be important now?

Do you think special buildings make it easier or harder to carry out these one anothers? Showing hospitality, humility, living in harmony, not slandering, encouraging, teaching, instructing, admonishing (giving advice), agreeing with, forgiving, submitting to, singing together, showing kindness, being compassionate, bearing with, serving, accepting, and the repeated call to love one another.

Wherever you happen to interact with other believers, consider how you can participate in these one another activities.

I even believe some of these one another actions can occur online. Even though that where was not mentioned in Scripture. :)


Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I'm searching for some deeper understanding of hospitality as the word was used in the first century. You say it usually occurred at home. My question is did it ever occur elsewhere? Not 'do you think it did,' or 'is it okay if it does' but are there any examples or usages indicating that it definitely did?

Jonathan said...

Hi interesting question.

I don't know of any 1st century examples of hospitality outside of a home. However I was thinking there may be little difference if someone invited others to a picnic at a park. I was being open to the idea that the one anothers could be done in various locations. But some settings are likely better than others.

I'm interested in what you are discovering.

Have you looked at the greek:

And the different verses in the Bible that used the term:

And there seems to be a connection with the word philadelphia that means "brotherly love"

Sorry if I'm not providing you with what you are looking for. Let me know if you discover any leads in your searches.

God bless.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Yes, I did look in the concordance and I have collected all the verses I can find using the term. I have even looked at outside sources to see how other Greek writers used the term.
It outside the home, and so I am inclined to think that if we aren't opening our homes to others, then we are not being hospitable. We may be doing a million other wonderful things, I am just saying hospitality doesn't seem to me to be one of them.

Inviting somebody to your home allows them to enter your life in a way that meeting on neutral ground doesn't. It's not that I think park meetings are bad- they are lovely, can be friendly, welcoming, generous if you provide the food, loving, kind, etc, etc.

I am just not sure we can practice *hospitality* without using our homes.

Jonathan said...

Thanks, sounds right. Our family has been focusing a lot on hospitality this year. In past years we have organized 'pot luck' events at a 'church' building, and we agree there seems to be a difference. One memory I have is people leaving the pot lucks without saying good-bye or thank you. Maybe they didn't even know who to thank, or that we cared if they were there or not. But in a home people always make some connection with the host.


Tim A said...

Yes, the where is very important. It's everywhere. Our one another function is based on our body identity as members of one another. Therefor we should never function outside our identity. Who we are, and our supernatural connection to one another is never on down time or holiday break due to some location.

Whenever we are separated physically, we are preparing for how to build up the others when we are in one place. Even in bed at night is a key one another time.