Building Up One Another by Gene Getz
No one reading the New Testament objectively can deny that God has a unique plan for every Christian during his life on earth. True, God has an eternal plan, but that plan begins in space and time. God desires that every believer be a functioning member of a local church a local “body” or “family” of believers. These believers mutually care for one another, minister to one another, and consequently build one another up in Christ.
”Paul states this plan most clearly in his Ephesian letter. Christians are to “speak the truth in love.” And as we do, “we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:15 16*).
Again and again, New Testament writers exhorted believers to engage in specific activities that would enable the body of Christ to function effectively and to grow spiritually. Frequently they used a unique word to describe this mutual and reciprocal process the Greek word allelon, most frequently translated “one another.” In fact, excluding the Gospels, the word is used 58 times in the New Testament. Paul leads the list for frequency, having used the word 40 times.
*Unless otherwise noted, italics in Scripture quotations are mine.
Obviously, certain of these concepts and injunctions are repeated from letter to letter. But when all the “one another” exhortations are studied carefully, and grouped together according to specific meanings, they can be reduced to approximately 12 significant actions Christians are to take toward “one-another” to help build up the body of Christ.
This is what this book is about. It includes 12 chapters built around these powerful exhortations. You’ll find it more than just a study of what these injunctions mean. Each chapter includes a practical section: a series of steps for putting these exhortations into action in your local church.
These practical sections represent more than mere theory. They have been tried and tested. They work. When these injunctions are not only talked about but applied, you’ll be involved in one of the most dynamic forces on earth the
functioning body of Jesus Christ.
“Love Is the Greatest”
Foundational to all meaningful Christian action is love. It is the “more excellent w4y’ (1 Cor. 12:31; 13 :13). And as
might be expected, the exhortation to “love one another” appears more frequently than all others. Of the 48 references to what we are to do for one another as fellow believers, 11 times we are told to love one another.’ If you add Christ’s
direct commands to “love one another,” which are recorded in John’s Gospel, the total comes to 16 in the New Testament.
There is no question as to what is most important. Love is the greatest! To love fellow believers is a basic injunction of the New Testament repeated more than any other. And when Paul was thrilled with a church that was maturing and growing, he always thanked God for their love. When he
1 ‘ Rom. 13:8; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thes. 3:12; 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11 12; 2 John 5.
2’ Eph. 1:15; Phil. 1:3 5, 9; Col. 1:4; 1 Thes. 1:3; 2 Thes. 1:3.
analyzed a church, the “bottom line” was always “love.” And thus he wrote to the Colossians after enumerating numerous Christian virtues: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Col. 3:14) Peter agreed! He wrote: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins”. (1Peter 4:8)
If we begin with Jesus Christ’s basic marching orders to His disciples, we shouldn’t be at all surprised at this New Testament emphasis. He said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another, As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples in you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Most all of the additional “one another” exhortations in the New Testament actually demonstrate love in action. They tell us how to love! And so, may I be so bold as to offer Paul’s prayer as my own as you read and study this book: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in the knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9 11).