"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 10: Encourage One Another, Part 1

"Encourage one another and build each other up." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11a

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." ~ Hebrews 3:13

This week starts the "one another" phase of The James 1:22 Project. The New Testament is full of "one another" commands. These are God's instructions for how the people of his church are to live together. First and foremost, we are commanded to love one another. John 15:12, 17; Romans 13:8.

All of the other "one another" commands show us the way to love one another. We are commanded:

  • to be devoted to one another and to honor one another above ourselves ~ Romans 12:10
  • to live in harmony with one another ~Romans 12:16
  • to not pass judgment on one another ~ Romans 14:13
  • to greet one another with a holy kiss ~Romans 16:16
  • to accept one another ~Romans 15:7
  • to serve one another in love ~Galatians 5:13
  • to bear with one another in love ~Ephesians 4:2
  • to forgive each other ~Ephesians 4:32
  • to submit to one another ~Ephesians 5:21
  • to spur one another on towards love and good deeds ~Hebrews 10:24-25
  • to confess our sins to each other ~James 5:16
  • to offer hospitality to one another without grumbling ~1 Peter 4:9.
This is a representative list, not a complete one. If you want a complete list go over to Bible Gateway and do key word searches for "one another" and "each other."

My plan for the next several weeks is to focus on some of the "one another" commands. Yes, the command to greet one another with a holy kiss is on the list. I have no idea how to handle that one. I'm debating whether to replace it, but that's for another week.

I'm going to start with something much less awkward---the command to encourage one another. There are many faithful Christian brothers and sisters in my life who I respect and appreciate. I rarely, however, communicate any encouragement to them. I want to become a person who obeys God's command to daily encourage His people, and I'm going to start this week. I'll tell you about it next time. Until then, grace and peace to you.


  1. Great week! Encouraging is almost selfish because it feels so good to build others up, but as you mentioned, it's not done nearly enough. I know I should act on this more.

    Let me encourage you, Nathan. We, as a church, are blessed to have men like yourself, who are gifted in wisdom and discernment, who love God with complete abandon, and who edify their brothers and sisters with things such as this blog. Keep it up, and thanks for sharing your thoughts this week.

  2. oh, and I read a commentary once that said the updated, Western cultural version of 'holy kiss' is a 'hearty handshake'....I strongly recommend you go the handshake route.

  3. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Janele. One of things that I've seen this week is that once I became open to encouraging and went through my day with the expectation that God wants me to encourage others, many opportunities have been presented. It is so easy for us to do and can be so meaningful to others. I really want to make it a daily habit for the rest of my life.

    I'm not sure that I agree with the hearty handshake interpretation actually. A "holy kiss" is commanded several times in the New Testament, and there's nothing in the context of those commands to suggest that it's culturally specific. I think maybe the idea is that we are commanded to love one another---that doesn't end with feeling affection for one another but it starts with real sincere affection. Even the amazing Bible scholar John Piper says it's a gray area whether the command for a holy kiss is universal in nature or only cultural. We are supposed to express our affection for one another in a physical way. So, maybe a warm hug is the modern equivalent, but I don't think a hearty handshake is really in the spirit of that command. When you're talking about men and women, there needs to be boundaries there. I'll certainly err on the side of caution. I'm not going to walk up to you any time soon, Janele, and plant a kiss on your cheek; I promise. I won't, however, make the same promise to Steve; tell him to watch out. I'll have to do some serious thinking about it when, and if, I get to it. I'm not prepared to just dismiss the idea, however, because it makes me uncomfortable.

  4. Ah, noted, thanks for the further insight, Nathan. And consider Steve fairly warned in case he needs to be the first receiver of this godly affection...