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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Who One Another


This is part two 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. In my previous post I listed a bunch of verses to consider what the one anothers is all about. Please take a look at that 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 3 who questions.

Question #1: Who are the one another verses for?

Scanning through the passages I see Jesus addressing his first disciples. I see Paul addressing believers in Rome, Corinth, and other towns. I think it is safe to say these instructions were directed towards all believers in the early church.

For those of us interested in carrying on in the way of the Jesus and the early believers, I think it is safe to say these verses are for us too.

With the exception of greeting each other with a Holy kiss. For myself I'm going with the idea that the kiss was a normal sign of friendship in that culture. Seeing Christian brothers kiss did not creep people out as it would today. I will try to find other ways to show love to my brothers without making people uncomfortable.

But I think the rest of these are for us: 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.


Question #2: Who are the recipients of the actions listed in the verses in the previous posts?

Me. I think you or someone else is supposed to do all of these things for me.

OK, maybe not. :)

The Greek word used for 'one another' in most of these verses allélón describes a back and forth, mutual partnership. The recipients are many, and the recipients and donors take turn. The recipients are you, me, he, she, they, and we.

Question #3: Who are the donors/givers of the actions listed?

I think I've already answered this. These one another actions go both ways in a mutual relationship. It is not that some do more and others are on the receiving end.

Are you comfortable with mutually sharing in this list with others? 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.

Some of us may not be as comfortable with teaching one another, instructing one another, and admonishing one another. I have come from a background where it is usually a select few who do most of the teaching, instructing, and admonishing.

Often the teaching, instructing, and admonishing, has been more one to the others, than a mutual teaching one another.

Some may not be comfortable with teaching in more structured settings. But I'd encourage you to consider looking to the examples we see in the New Testament where the majority of teaching was done in more interactive and less structured settings. See this post for more on that: Interactive Teaching in the New Testament. I believe God can use each of us in different ways to teach the others of us.

I don't want to diminish the other items in the list. Serving one another is another thing God has been speaking to me recently on. It's not that I am so much against serving in programs, but I feel a renewed call to consider how I can serve other people. Simply people serving other people. I believe that is simply what I see modeled and instructed in Scripture.

I think showing hospitality is a great place to start with many items in this list. You can practice serving others, find opportunities for mutual teaching, show kindness, love, and encourage each other.

I'll get to the Where, When, Why, and How later.

Feel free to practice some of these one anothers by leaving a comment here. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

1 comment:

Tim A said...

In my experience the people least willing to practice the one another instructions are hired pastors. They will not be mutual. They will not receive teaching or spurring etc.. They see themselves as experts and the rest of the saints as lesser dumber sheep with nothing to offer them except $ and compliments.. They see themselves as doctors and the rest of the saints as unlearned patients. The saints like this patronizing approach also. So the very ones instructed with "setting the example" in spiritual matters will exemplify the opposite of Gods design. After all, how can one man be mutual with 100 to 5000 people? He cannot by virtue of the system that requires at least 75 people to pay his salary. Their excuses are many.

As a pastoral student 30 years ago I was taught to maintain a professional distance from the sheep. You will be ruined in your "leadership" if you are mutual and intimate and transparent. What a tragic perversion of Gods design for His people. The chief shepherd is ALWAYS mutual with ALL His sheep. Human shepherds should be just like that.