God does not intend for us to live out our faith on our own. When He saves us, He saves us into His family, the church, so we can live and grow together with other believers. We cannot be everything God desires for us, we cannot fulfill God’s purposes for us, we cannot receive everything God has for us, without a vital connection to a local church.
God designed the church to be a unique fellowship. The Bible uses the Greek word koinōnia to describe this spiritual relationship between believers (Acts 2:42). Koinōnia means “having in common, sharing, partnership, fellowship.” Individual believers both receive what they need and give what others need within the context of the church.
So, what does this giving and receiving – this koinōnia – look like? There is not one single passage in the Bible that gives a detailed, all-encompassing description. However, the New Testament is peppered with examples, principles, and commands about what believers should be for each other. For example, the phrase “one another” is frequently used to point to a specific way believers should relate to other believers. Although the following list is not comprehensive, these 14 “one anothers” are a great start to helping us understand the koinōnia of the church.
14 “One Anothers” for the Church Today
- Love one another (John 13:34-35, 1 John 4:7)
- Comfort one another (2 Corinthians 13:11)
- Serve one another (Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 4:10)
- Restore one another (Galatians 6:1)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Honor one another (Romans 12:10)
- Do good to one another (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
- Meet one another’s physical needs (James 2:15-17, 1 John 3:17)
- Pray for one another to be healed (James 5:16)
- Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
- Teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16) – correcting wrong belief and behavior and instilling correct belief and behavior
- Spur one another to good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
These “one anothers” reveal the scope and depth of our koinōnia relationship – from putting the needs of others before our own to allowing another believer to hold us accountable for our behavior. This spiritual relationship is so different than anything we can find in the world. Only in the church can we give and receive everything God intends. He has provided everything we need through “one another.”
In what ways have you experienced the unique koinōnia of the church?