The Gospel of John: Love One Another, Revisited!

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

After previously referring to the commandments of God in general (John 15:9-11), Jesus now refers to one commandment in particular. The command is to love one another.

The phrase “one another” is frequently found in Scripture: particularly in the New Testament. It refers to the relationship believers have with each other. The word reciprocal, mutual, shared and communal are synonyms.

There are some 59 New Testament references using the phrase “one another” or “each other.” Some examples of the Bible’s teaching regarding the phrase “one another” including the following.

  • “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)
  • “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)
  • “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
  • “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
  • “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)
  • “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
  • “Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13)

However, far and away the most frequent call by God is for believers to love one another.

  • “…Love one another…” (John 13:34).
  • “…Love one another…” (John 13:34).
  • “…Love one another…” (John 13:35).
  • “…Love one another…” (John 15:12).
  • “…Love one another” (John 15:17)
  • “…Love one another…” (Romans 13:8)
  • “…Love each other.” (I Thessalonians 4:9)
  • “…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)
  • “…Love one another.” (I John 3:11).
  • “…Love one another.” (I John 3:23).
  •  “…Love one another.” (I John 4:7).
  • “…Love one another.” (I John 4:11).
  • “…Love one another.” (I John 4:12).
  • “…Love one another.” (II John 5)

While the Apostles Peter and Paul both encourage believers to love one another, the most frequent usage of this particular phrase is found in the Gospel of, and the Epistles of, the Apostle John. He also is the only apostle to record our Lord directly invoking this phrase.

The self-sacrificial love of the will we are to demonstrate toward other believers is based upon a prior love by our Lord towards sinners who become believers by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

How may we love another? Oh my, there are so many ways our love for fellow believers may be demonstrated.

  • Sharing a hug.
  • Praying for a fellow believer’s needs.
  • Visiting someone in the hospital.
  • Raking leaves.
  • Shoveling or snow blowing a driveway or sidewalk.
  • Baking a loaf of banana nut bread for someone.
  • Inviting a person over for coffee.
  • Meeting them for coffee and paying the bill.
  • Helping a single mother by paying for an oil change for her car.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but I hope it is a practical one which may spur your own thinking as to how you may love one another.

Soli deo Gloria!

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