Tuesday, June 14, 2016

One Another


In the New Testament there are 100 uses of the Greek word “allélón” (or ἀλλήλων ) pronounced “ah-LAY-loan” which we translate in English into the two words “one another. These 100 instances are contained in 94 verses, 60% of which were written down by the apostle Paul. 47 of these verses are instructions for the followers of Christ. The website above lists many of them, breaking them into categories such as Unity, Love, and Humility. I’ve used these verses as a counterpoint when friends of mine have tried the argument “I’m spiritual, but my faith is a private thing… I don’t need a church.” It’s impossible to carry out the “one another” instructions by yourself! We are designed to live in community, doing life with like-minded people whom we can love and support and encourage, and look to for the same.

At first glance, only two speak directly to married couples:

Ephesians 5:21 prefaces the familiar submission and love instructions for wives and husbands stating: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

1 Corinthians 7:5 is the most marriage-centric, imploring spouses do not deprive one other of physical intimacy, except by mutual agreement for a time to devote yourselves to prayer.

What about the rest though? What can they tell us about how to behave in a married relationship? A few times in Jesus’ ministry, he holds up an example of God’s goodness in some minor matter, and then compares it to God’s goodness to us, saying “If God does this, then how much more should we expect, being his children?”

(See Matthew 7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! or Luke 12:28
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!)

Marriage is a holy institution, designed by God to be picture to the world of his love for all of us. The church is described as Christ’s bride, and in Revelation it is the image of a wedding feast that heralds the reconciliation of God and creation. With that in mind, if the “one another” commands are how we are to act towards all our neighbors, than how much more should we who are married display those behaviors towards our spouses?

In the fall I’ll begin a series looking at many of these commands in detail. Consider these verses over the summer, with regard to how you and your spouse treat each other.

Remember that four of the one another verses are about kissing.

And work on living out that one from 1 Corinthians.