The Primary Activity of the Early Church

Have you ever thought about the frequent “one another” commands in the Bible?  Ever counted them?  I haven’t either…but a quick Google search of “how many one anothers in the bible” pulls up 41,200 results.

I’m sure there were earlier trustworthy references in the Google results.  I came across this list from Intervarsity on page two.  They found 55 references to “one another” or “each other” in the New Testament alone.  You can download their list right here.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot after hearing Andy Stanley make two attention-grabbing comments in a talk at the re:group conference.

Here’s his first comment:

“The primary activity of the early church was one-anothering one another.” Andy Stanley

Just think about that for a minute.  Really let it soak in.  Now ask yourself this: How much one-anothering is going on in your church?  Is it the primary activity in your church?

Here’s his second comment:

“When everyone is sitting in rows…you can’t do any one anothers.”

This comment ought to help all of us make decisions about how to integrate the essential ingredients of life-change.  See also, Essential Ingredients for Life-Change.

What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

  • Jag

    I suppose our small groups most closely resemble what the early church was like and their main purpose is to ” one another”. So, I think if churches are incorporating this they are doing pretty well. The practicality of doing it in a church service (such as not sitting in rows) makes things challenging. I think people who visit churches might be intimidated by an atmosphere of instant intimacy, although I think breaking up in groups and praying for each other during the service on some kind of a regular basis would be a good idea.

  • markchowell

    Thanks for jumping in here, Jag. I can see how you might take from my post that one-anothering was all the early church did…but that wouldn’t be accurate. They gathered in the Temple courts and from house to house. When they were in the Temple courts, they may have had time to one-another one another, but that wasn’t the purpose. They were taught the scriptures, they sang psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, they prayed, etc. Andy’s comments are based on the idea that if you’re ONLY sitting in rows (the experience of many), there can’t be much one-anothering going on.

    Make sense?

    Thanks again for jumping in here!

    mark

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