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One anothering

In the study guide for Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything, Tim Keller offers a helpful taxonomy under the categories of affirming one another, sharing with one another, and serving one another. These form, he says, “nine ‘community-building practices’—specific behaviors that build Christian community.” For a more detailed unpacking of each point, see pp. 58-71

Affirm 1. Affirm one another’s strengths, abilities, and gifts. Romans 12:10: “Honor one another” James 5:9: “Don’t grumble against each other” Romans 12:3-8: Confirm the gifts of one another

2. Affirm one another’s equal importance in Christ. Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” 1 Corinthians 12:25: “Have equal concern for each other” 1 Peter 5:5: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” James 2:1: “Don’t show favoritism”

3. Affirm one another through visible affection. Romans 16:16: “Greet one another with a holy kiss” James 1:19: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak” Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another” 1 Thessalonians 3:12: “[May] your love increase and overflow for each other”


4. Share one another’s space, goods, and time. Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” 1 Peter 4:9: “Offer hospitality to one another” Galatians 6:10: “As we have opportunity, let us do good”

5. Share one another’s needs and problems. Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens” 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Encourage one another” Hebrews 3:13: “Encourage one another daily”

6. Share one another’s beliefs, thinking, and spirituality. Colossians 3:16: “Teach and admonish one another” Ephesians 5:19: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” Romans 12:16: “Live in harmony with one another” 1 Corinthians 1:10: “Agree with one another”


7. Serve one another through accountability. James 5:16: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other” Romans 15:14: “Instruct one another” Ephesians 4:25: “Speak truthfully”

8. Serve one another through forgiveness and reconciliation. Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” Colossians 3:13: “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another” Galatians 5:25: Don’t provoke or envy one another James 4:11: “Do not slander one another” Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15: Reestablish broken relationships with one another

9. Serve one another’s interests rather than our own. Hebrews 10:24: “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” Romans 15:1-2: Don’t please yourself but please others Galatians 5:13: “Serve one another” HT: Justin Taylor


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