Discover What the Bible Says about How to Treat One Another
Apply These Biblical Tips on How to Value Others
Throughout the New Testament we see instructions of how we should treat one another. Let’s call these the “one another” directives. We are to:
- Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10).
- Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16).
- Stop passing judgment on one another (Romans 14:13).
- Accept one another (Romans 15:7).
- Instruct one another (Romans 15:14).
- Greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Peter 5:14). We must discern how to best implement this command.
- Agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought (1 Corinthians 1:10).
- Encourage one another (2 Corinthians 13:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13, and Hebrews 10:25).
- Serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13).
- Bear with one another in love. Be completely humble, gentle, and patient (Ephesians 4:2).
- Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Jesus forgives us (Ephesians 4:32).
- Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19).
- Submit to one another out of reverence for Jesus (Ephesians 5:21).
- Bear with each other and forgive one another (Colossians 3:13). That is, forgive others as Jesus forgives us.
- Teach one another (Colossians 3:16).
- Admonish one another with all wisdom (Colossians 3:16).
- Build up each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
- Spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
- Keep loving one another as brothers and sisters (Hebrews 13:1).
- Do not slander one another (James 4:11). This includes gossip.
- Don’t grumble against one another (James 5:9).
- Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble (1 Peter 3:8).
- Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9).
- Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5).
- Have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7).
- Wash one another’s feet (John 13:14). It’s up to us to discern if this is a literal command or a figurative instruction.
- Love one another (John 13:34-35, Romans 13:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:23, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:11-12, and 2 John 1:5).
The last two of these one-another commands come from the mouth of Jesus. The rest of them are in the letters written by Paul, John, and Peter, as well as the author of Hebrews.
Love One Another
The charge to love one another is the most common of them, mentioned ten times. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John all tell us to love one another. Jesus says that loving one another is his new command to us (John 13:34-35). Another time Jesus says that the greatest commandment of the Old Testament law is to fully love God, and the second most important one is to love others as much as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:35-40).
In a world that has multiple meanings for the word and a distorted understanding of how it functions, what does real love look like? How do we fully love one another? The Bible explains that too. Paul says that love:
- is patient
- is kind
- does not envy
- does not boast
- is not proud
- is not dishonorable of others
- is not self-seeking
- is not easily angered
- keeps no record of wrongs
- does not delight in evil
- rejoices with the truth
- always protects
- always trusts
- always hopes
- always perseveres
From Gods perspective on the topic, love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
As a church, however, we’re doing a poor job of following these one-another instructions. If each person individually did their part to apply these commands in their every-day interactions, our church would be a much different place. And the world in which we live would be better off.
If each person did their part to apply these biblical instructions on how to treat one another, our church—and our world—would be a much better place.
[Read more about this in Peter’s upcoming book, Jesus’s Broken Church.]
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.