Most of us are familiar with the “one another” commands of the New Testament. In the study guide for  Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything, Tim Keller offers a helpful taxonomy under the categories of affirming one another, sharing with one another, and serving one another. These form, he says, “nine ‘community-building practices’—specific behaviors that build Christian community.” For a more detailed unpacking of each point, see pp. 58-71.

Affirm

1. Affirm one another’s strengths, abilities, and gifts.

  • Romans 12:10: “Honor one another”
  • James 5:9: “Don’t grumble against each other”
  • Romans 12:3-8: Confirm the gifts of one another

2. Affirm one another’s equal importance in Christ.

  • Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you”
  • 1 Corinthians 12:25: “Have equal concern for each other”
  • 1 Peter 5:5: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another”
  • James 2:1: “Don’t show favoritism”

3. Affirm one another through visible affection.

  • Romans 16:16: “Greet one another with a holy kiss”
  • James 1:19: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak”
  • Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another”
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:12: “[May] your love increase and overflow for each other”

Share

4. Share one another’s space, goods, and time.

  • Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love”
  • 1 Peter 4:9: “Offer hospitality to one another”
  • Galatians 6:10: “As we have opportunity, let us do good”

5. Share one another’s needs and problems.

  • Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Encourage one another”
  • Hebrews 3:13: “Encourage one another daily”

6. Share one another’s beliefs, thinking, and spirituality.

  • Colossians 3:16: “Teach and admonish one another”
  • Ephesians 5:19: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs”
  • Romans 12:16: “Live in harmony with one another”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10: “Agree with one another”

Serve

7. Serve one another through accountability.

  • James 5:16: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other”
  • Romans 15:14: “Instruct one another”
  • Ephesians 4:25: “Speak truthfully”

8. Serve one another through forgiveness and reconciliation.

  • Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love”
  • Colossians 3:13: “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another”
  • Galatians 5:25: Don’t provoke or envy one another
  • James 4:11: “Do not slander one another”
  • Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15: Reestablish broken relationships with one another

9. Serve one another’s interests rather than our own.

  • Hebrews 10:24: “spur one another on toward love and good deeds”
  • Romans 15:1-2: Don’t please yourself but please others
  • Galatians 5:13: “Serve one another”
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7 thoughts on “How to Love One Another: Affirm, Share, and Serve”

  1. Brad says:

    This is a great list of Scripture. May we love each other for the glory of Jesus in action and in truth.

    Brad

  2. Timothy says:

    Where does Ephesians 5:21 fit into this scheme? Does one another have the same meaning here as in the other verses?

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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