More Info on One Another Verses
When we read the Bible, the words of Jesus and the story of the early church we understand that the primary commandment of the church was a relational commandment, to “one anther” one another. This instruction occurs 100 times in 94 verses and focuses on living with love, unity and humility, but there are also lots of other instructions.
“One another” is two words in English, but it’s only one word in Greek: ἀλλήλων (ah-LAY-loan). It’s used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church, and 60% of those instructions come from Paul.
When you look at these verses, a few more common themes show up.
One-third of the one-another commands deal with the unity of the church.
- Be at peace with one another (Mk 9:50)
- Don’t grumble among one another (Jn 6:43)
- Be of the same mind with one another (Ro 12:16, 15:5)
- Accept one another (Ro 15:7)
- Wait for one another before beginning the Eucharist (1 Co 11:33)
- Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another—seriously, guys, don’t eat each other (Ga 5:15)
- Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Ga 5:26).
- Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ep 4:2)
- Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ep 4:32)
- Bear with and forgive one another (Co 3:13)
- Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Th 5:15)
- Don’t complain against one another (Jas 4:11, 5:9)
- Confess sins to one another (Jas 5:16)
One-third of them instruct Christians to love one another.
- Love one another (Jn 13:34, 15:12, 17; Ro 13:8; 1 Th 3:12, 4:9; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 Jn 3:11, 4:7, 11; 2 Jn 5)
- Through love, serve one another (Ga 5:13)
- Tolerate one another in love (Ep 4:2)
- Be devoted to one another in love (Ro 12:10)
About 15% encourage an attitude of humility and deference among believers.
- Give preference to one another in honour (Ro 12:10)
- Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Php 2:3)
- Serve one another (Ga 5:13)
- Wash one another’s feet (Jn 13:14)
- Don’t be haughty: be of the same mind (Ro 12:16)
- Be subject to one another (Ep 5:21)
- Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another (1 Pe 5:5)
- Do not judge one another, and don’t put a stumbling block in a brother’s way (Ro 14:13)
- Husbands and wives: don’t deprive one another of physical intimacy (1 Co 7:5)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Ga 6:2)
- Speak truth to one another (Ep 4:25)
- Don’t lie to one another (Co 3:9)
- Comfort one another concerning the resurrection (1 Th 4:18)
- Encourage and build up one another (1 Th 5:11)
- Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (He 10:24)
- Pray for one another (Jas 5:16)
- Be hospitable to one another (1 Pe 4:9)
Of course, Jesus and the apostles give many more instructions to the church; these “one another” passages are a good start, though.
Also: make sure you read these in context! These commands come from Jesus, Peter, John, Paul, and James, and they’re scattered across the New Testament. Don’t just stop at this list: dig into these passages to see what the author was talking about.
Adapted from Jeffrey Kranz