One Another Gathering

http://www.challies.com/resources/visual-theology-one-another
Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, another language, or an interpretation.
-1 Cor. 14:26b

Did you know that before the middle ages, there were no or not many chairs, pews, or fixed seating in churches?  This is from James & Susan White, in their book, Church Architecture:
“Throughout most of the history of Christian worship . . . . there were no pews or chairs. Not until the fourteenth century did seating gradually encroach upon the open space where the congregation stood and walked about during worship. Until that time, the people were on their feet and could go where something was happening . . . . The congregation was mobile and the interior of the church was not regimented into fixed rows of inflexible pews.
"Real church begins when people turn their chairs to face each other."

Where a church meets is not the issue.  I think that how the church meets is the issue.  When we meet, is there meeting?  I think we have lost the art of meeting.  If I say I met someone today, it means we found each other and perhaps began to become acquainted.

I think that how the church functions - meets and does life together, is described and prescribed in the New Testament, specifically in the "one another" verses.  The list of all 59 is at the end of this post.

When we say "one another" verses, what comes to mind?  For me, it is Jesus command to love one another that John records and mentioned again and again.

Jesus is the cornerstone of the church and he is the head of the church who builds the church.  The most important aspect of the church and church life is Jesus.  He sets the tone and casts the vision that only he can fulfill.  He commands us to love one another, saying that our caring for each other will be a witness to the world that he (Jesus) is real.



It seems to me that Jesus command to love one another is the main thing.  I believe that all the other "one another's" flow out of the first one from Jesus.  It seems to me that love for one another is the mark of the church and all the other Apostolic "one another's" are built on Christ and his love that he gives us for each other.

I believe that the core or center of the church is Jesus.  Jesus creates Christians and Christians function in the "one another's".  When we meet, we "one another".  The church is an interactive connecting people.  Each connection has "one another-ing" in it, and all the connected people are gathered around Christ.

I think the church should be interactive.  Bodies, organisms, and families are interactive.  The "one another's" are interactive.  If the church is a family or a body, there needs to be interaction if there is going to be growth and things that are not growing are dead or dying.  A family with no interaction is a (fill in the blank) family.

Below is a list of the "one another's", practiced by the church, in the NT.  One great example is #45 which is James 5:16 that says, "confess your sins to one another that you might be healed".  

We all have our sins forgiven by God when we confess them (1 John 1:9).  But when we confess our sins to another person (one another), James writes that healing takes place.  This is "real church"(3) that can happen "when we turn the chairs to face each other".

What if we went to church (does not matter where it meets) and did not really know what would happen each time, except that "one another" scriptures would ring true?

Let us ask the question, "what is the purpose of gathering?"  Some might answer, "worship", and others would say, "teaching/preaching" or "for learning", and still others might say, "for evangelizing".  But, all three of these are not the answer found in the NT.

The purpose of gathering is mutual edification (2).  Mutual edification comes through interactive "one anothering".  It comes through "body life".  Mutual means "back and forth".  There is some good reading on this linked below.



The 59 “One Anothers” of the New Testament (1)


1. “…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)

2. “…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)

3. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

4. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

5. “…Love one another…” (John 13:35)

6. “…Love one another…” (John 15:12)

7. “…Love one another” (John 15:17)

8. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)

9. “…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

10. “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)

11. “…Love one another…” (Romans 13:8)

12. “…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)

13. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)

14. “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)

15. “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16:16)

16. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (I Cor. 11:33)

17. “…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25)

18. “…Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20)

19. “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (II Corinthians 13:12)

20. “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

21. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” 
(Galatians 5:15)

22. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:26)

23. “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)

24. “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

25. “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)

26. “…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)

27. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)

28. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

29. “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

30. “Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9)

31. “Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)

32. “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)

33. “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)

34. “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)

35. “…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)

36. “…Love each other.” (I Thessalonians 4:9)

37. “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)

38. “…Encourage each other…” I Thessalonians 5:11)

39. “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)

40. “Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13)

41. “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

42. “…Encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)

43. “…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)

44. “Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9)

45. “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)

46. “…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)

47. “…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)

48. “…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8)

49. “…Love each other deeply…” (I Peter 4:8)

50. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9)

51. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)

52. “…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”(I Peter 5:5)

53. “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (I Peter 5:14)

54. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:11)

55. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:23)

56. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:7)

57. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:11) 58. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:12)

59. “…Love one another.” (II John 5)

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I found the infographic at Tim Challies.com here.
1. From Carl F. George, Prepare Your Church for the Future (Tarrytown: Revell, 1991), 129-131. -I am grateful to Andrew Mason for pointing to Carl George's list.
2. The Purpose of Church Meetings, by Brian Anderson
3. Real Church, by Larry Crabb.
"Some Thoughts on Mutual Edification", series, by Alan Knox.
"Mutual Edification and The Church", series, by Alan Knox.

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