the weblog of Alan Knox

The Unmentionable One Anothers

Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 in chain blog, community | 21 comments

This post is part of a “chain blog” on the topic of “one another.” You’ll find more information about “chain blogs” at the bottom of this post along with links to other link posts in this chain blog.

Love one another. Be kind of one another. Honor one another. Do not judge one another. Accept one another. Care for one another. Be in harmony with one another. Serve one another. Forgive one another. Submit to one another. Comfort one another. Encourage one another. Be hospitable to one another.

We like these “one another” statements. Oh, we admit that they are difficult to carry out, and we admit that we often fall short of treating one another like the instructions listed above. But, these are good “one anothers”… nice… kind… happy.

But, there are other “one another” statements as well. These are the ones that we don’t like to talk about as much. We keep them locked away in the closet and only take them out for special occasions – only handing them over to certain people and keeping them out of the hands of the normal Christian.

Which “one another” instructions am I talking about? Well, statements like this:

I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct [admonish] one another. (Romans 15:14 ESV)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… (Hebrews 10:24 ESV)

Teach? Instruct? Admonish? Stir up (provoke)? One another? Can we pass? Perhaps we can shuffle these “one anothers” off to someone else who likes getting their hands dirty?

And, while the term “one another” is not used, the following passage conveys similar instructions:

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV)

Ummm… seriously? All of us? “One another”? Surely Paul intended those instructions for our leaders, our elders, someone else, right?

And, this passage?

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled… (Hebrews 12:15 ESV)

It’s certainly not my responsibility to “see to it” (the verb “oversee” actually) that other people don’t fail to obtain the grace of God, is it?

Yeah… let’s don’t talk about these “one anothers”… they’re too messy for me. Let’s stick with “love one another.” Surely we can love one another without teaching and admonishing one another, right? Surely we can be kind to one another without looking closely into one another’s lives in order to correct them, right?

Nice one anothers… That’s all we need.


Chain blog rules:

1) If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.

2) Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain.” Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog (both this post and the other link posts in the chain).

3) When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.


“Links” in the “One Another” chain blog:

1. “Chain Blog: One Another” by Alan
2. “Linking One Another” by Swanny
3. “What Does It Mean to Love One Another? by Chuck
4. “The treasure of “One Another” by Jim
5. “This is how the world shall recognise you…” by Kathleen
6. “Accepting one another in love” by Chris
7. “One Another-ing: A meta-narrative for the church” – Part One and Part Two by Greg
8. “Individualism and ‘one another’” by Pieter
9. “All Alone with One Another” by Jeremy
10. “When it’s OK for Christians to compete” by Joshua
11. “Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone for One Another” by Peter
12. “Be Superficial with One Another” by Jon
13. “The Unmentionable One Anothers” by Alan
14. “Loving More Fully and Widely” by Chris
15. “The One Another Weapon” by Dan
16. “Corporate One-Anothering” (Part 1 and Part 2) by David
17. “The Last Revival” by Tobie
18. “Love: A one another comic” by Dan
19. “I Can Only Love You If…” by Rob
20. “It Was Lost in Translation” by Nelson
21. Who will write the 21st link post in the chain?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-25-2012

    Great stuff, Alan. May we never forget that all the one-anothers are for all of us.

  2. 10-25-2012

    I know you’ve all been waiting for it: please allow me the opportunity to post the next link in the chain.

  3. 10-25-2012


    Thank you. Exactly… the one-anothers are for all of us.


    Yes, we’ve all been waiting… and we’re all still waiting. Looking forward to your post. 🙂


  4. 10-25-2012

    Well said. And I like how you break down assumptions we make of terms like ‘overseer’ by simply showing how it gets translated ‘see to it’ here.

    How do each of us watch out for each other without lording over each other and fighting for power? Maybe by simply letting others know we care?

  5. 10-26-2012

    I’d like to post next (after Dan). I’ll look out for your post, Dan, so I can book a place in your comments section – unless someone else beats me to it 🙂

  6. 10-26-2012

    It’s a great point, Alan, that some ‘one anothers’ are more uncomfortable. Thanks for pointing this out.

    But when we think long and hard about it, even the ‘nice one anothers’ are demanding and difficult. How about ‘love one another’? Does that mean I must love you even if you are mean to me? Well – yes, I think it does. This kind of love is unconditional.

    In fact, the more I think about ‘one anothering’ the more tricky and difficult it seems to be!

  7. 10-26-2012

    Chris, my post should be up on Monday.

  8. 10-26-2012


    I think that passage at the end of Hebrews 12 (especially around verse 15) helps us understand what the NT means by “oversee.” But, we miss it because of the way the verb is typically translated.


    Yes, absolutely. We all recognize the difficulties in loving others. The difference is that we accept that “love one another” refers to all believers. But when it comes to “teach one another,” “edify one another,” “admonish one another,” etc., many Christians feel these are only for their leaders. I’m looking forward to your post!


  9. 10-26-2012

    My post’s ready now, Dan. I think what I’ll do is make it live now but not connect it into the chain until yours is up on Monday. That way my regular readers get it right away and it will still follow after yours in the chain.

    Hope that’s OK,


  10. 10-26-2012

    Hey Chris, just go ahead and drop yours into the chain now, I will follow you.

  11. 10-26-2012

    Alan wrote, ‘when it comes to “teach one another,” “edify one another,” “admonish one another,” etc., many Christians feel these are only for their leaders.’

    You know, I’m so used to thinking in terms of everyone working together in the body that I failed to notice this as a major point of your post! I’ve been living like this since the mid-70s when my children were very young. Now they’re grown up and I have granchildren aged 6, 6, 4 and 3!

    In a sense we should all lead and all follow. We all have value and experience to offer. May I recommend a guest post on my own blog? Written by Steph Bennett, it descibes her early experiences of one anothering.

  12. 10-26-2012

    Oh, hi Dan! OK, here goes then. I’ll link to your post as soon as I see it.

    The 14th link in the chain is ‘Loving more fully and widely’

  13. 10-26-2012

    Chris, Loved your post! I’d like to share mine next, but I cannot comment in disqus. I will share my link here on Monday, and if someone wants to copy it there for me, that would be great, thanks!

  14. 10-26-2012

    Dan and Chris,

    Thanks for working that out, and I copied Dan’s comment to Chris’ post so that everyone will know that he’s posting next.


  15. 10-28-2012

    When we read a “one another” and want to “pass,” it is because we are taking the verse out of context. For example, Romans 15:14 comes after 14 and a half chapters. Many steps precede 15:14. A few are: entering into justification in ch 3, being saved in His life in 5:10, knowing that our old man has been crucified in 6:6, being freed by the law of the Spirit of life in 8:2, many other experiences of the Spirit in ch 8, and presenting our bodies and being transformed at the beginning of ch 12. The extent that we have been through the foregoing in Romans is the extent to which we admonish/instruct one another.
    Rom 15:14 is not a yes or no, not a laity or leader matter. It is a growth matter; the degree of our growth in Christ is the degree to which we should admonish one another. Were Christians in Rome any more advanced than us? I doubt it. We need to go ahead. If we sense a failure, we can confess and ask for forgiveness. If we don’t go ahead, we should also confess and ask for forgiveness.

  16. 10-29-2012


    Actually, Paul says that he is convinced that the Romans are able to admonish one another. He didn’t say they would be able if they followed everything that he wrote. That’s even more interesting when you consider that Paul did not know most of the Roman Christians. Yet, he still says he knows they are able to admonish one another.


  17. 10-30-2012

    Alan, agreed. Paul considered them able. Yet, he wrote the epistle as a whole and I think he was confident that they were to some extent realizing the whole. The point of my first paragraph is, if we limit ourselves to portions of our preference (and perhaps choose to ignore other portions), then we are contradicting the wholeness of the Bible.

  18. 10-30-2012


    I agree. It’s always dangerous to ignore anything that God has revealed through the Scriptures.


  19. 12-7-2012

    A very needed post, today, in our Christian world of ‘positive’ thinking.
    Yes, there are “the ones that we don’t like to talk about as much. We keep them locked away in the closet…”

    These are covered in depth in Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies. If anyone would care to review it, I would be glad to send you the pdf. Contact link on http;//

  20. 12-16-2012

    Whew! You just won’t let up, will you Alan? We’ll be neck deep in mutuality and reciprocity before you’re done.
    The only way a member of the body can ‘see to it’ that another member doesn’t fail is to yield to the Head and so contribute his own strength to his particular joints.
    Jesus’ healing miracles almost always deal with weak or unyielding body parts, particularly palsy, the ultimate ‘members out of whack’ disease.
    I guess healing physical bodies points to glorifying His own Bride/Body, as well as being a benevolence to the sick person.
    Say good-by to pointing fingers as a means of ‘oneanothering’.
    Thanks for the article.

  21. 12-17-2012


    “Pointing fingers as a means of ‘oneanothering’…” I’ve never heard it put like that. That’s a very interesting way to look at it…



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