June 23, 2017
Acts 2:41, 42, 44, 45
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
I looked up in the New Testament, by my computer Bible application, “…one another…” as it applies to Christians. I found 53 times the term is used in the New King James Version. I also counted the different words associated with one another, and came up with 32 that are applied to Christian fellowship. I then considered what featured Scripture to use for this study. I chose one that does not even once contain the words one another in it! But it highlights community in the Christian life – and that is the context out of which One Anothering makes sense! Here is Acts 2:41,42, 44 and 45:
Then those who gladly received…[Peter’s] word were baptized; and that
day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued
steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of
bread, and in prayers….Now all who believed were together, and had all
things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided
them among all as anyone had need.
Although this passage does not feature the term, it surely shows that the early believers cared for one another! Let’s look at this term and the words in the New Testament that are associated with it. The term, one another – ἀλλήλων (pronounced al-lay’-lone) – means just that, one another (also reciprocally; mutually). The 32 words that are associated with one another in the New King James Version (as applied to Christian fellowship) are presented in descending order of the number of times they occur.
• love one another – fourteen times (see John 13:34 – used twice; 13:35; 15:12, 17; Romans 13:8; I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 1:22; I John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12; II John 1:5). In all cases the word used is ἀγάπη (pronounced ag-ah’-pay) – twelve times in the verb form, ἀγαπάω (pronounced ag-ap-ah’-o), and once in the noun form, ἀγάπη. It is the type of love wherewith God loves us – as seen in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It is a totally unselfish love, given without regard of receiving love back! Such love sees the potential in the person loved, and loves in spite of that one’s present condition! (See Romans 5:6-8). We are to love one another in the that way!
• greet one another – four times (see Romans 16:16; I Corinthians 16:20; II Corinthians 13:12; I Peter 5:14). The word greet in each case is ἀσπάζομαι (pronounced os-pad’-zom-ahee). According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, it means “to enfold in the arms, that is, (by implication) to salute, (figuratively) to welcome….” All four occurrences of greet one another add to the admonition in a way similar to this from II Corinthians 13:12: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Many times members of a biological family show such affection to one another. Christians are admonished to show the same to brothers and sisters in the Lord!
• members of one another – two times (see Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:25). The Greek word is μέλος (pronounced mel’-os). It means a limb or part of the body. In I Corinthians 12:12 through 27, Paul expands on this analogy telling us that every part (member) of the Body of Christ is important! Yes, they are different from one another, and have varied functions! But all are necessary and must be appreciated! Here is the summary Scripture of this section, I Corinthians 12:25 through 27:
…there should be no schism in the body, but…the members should have
the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the mem-
bers suffer with it; or is one member is honored, all the members rejoice
with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
Are we treating other Christians as we should? And are we identifying with those perhaps at great distances from us who are undergoing extreme trials and/or persecution?
• the same mind [or like-minded] toward one another – two times (see Romans 12:16; 15:5). In the Greek the word is φρονέω (pronounced fron-eh’-o). Strong gives this definition: “to exercise the mind, that is, entertain or have a sentiment or opinion; by implication to be (mentally) disposed (more or less earnestly in a certain direction); intensively to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience)….” Other Bible versions translate the phrase thus:
✞ “Be [or live] in harmony with one another [or each other].” (Bible in Basic English; English Standard Version; God Word to the Nations; International Standard Version).
✞ “Live together in peace with each other” (Contemporary English Version).
✞ “Have the same concern for everyone.” (Good News Bible).
✞ “…minding the same thing toward one another….” (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible; Modern King James Version).
We are not to show favoritism because of social status or other socially imposed distinctions! Paul finishes Romans 12:16 by writing, “Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” James expands on the thought in James 2:1 through 4 (English Standard Version):
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine
clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing
also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine
clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the
poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you
not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with
Treat all your Christian brothers and sisters with equal love, fairness, and dignity!
We will continue One Anothering in our next blog on Monday.