Sanctify one another, humble one another, scrutinize one another, pressure one another, embarrass one another, corner one another, interrupt one another, defeat one another, sacrifice one another, shame one another, judge one another, run one another’s lives, confess one another’s sins, intensify one another’s sufferings, point out one another’s failings . . . .

The kind of God we really believe in is revealed in how we treat one another.  The lovely gospel of Jesus positions us to treat one another like royalty, and every non-gospel positions us to treat one another like dirt.  But we will follow through horizontally on whatever we believe vertically.

Our relationships with one another, then, are telling us what we really believe as opposed to what we think we believe, our convictions as opposed to our opinions.  It is possible for the gospel to remain at the shallow level of opinion, even sincere opinion, without penetrating to the level of real conviction.  But when the gospel grips us at the level of conviction, we obey its implications whatever the cost.  Therefore, if we are not treating one another well, then what we’re facing is not a lack of niceness but a lack of gospel.  Our deficit is not primarily personal but theological.  What we need is not only better manners but, far more, true faith.  Then the watching world will know that Jesus has come in among us:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35

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21 thoughts on ““One anothers” I can’t find in the New Testament”

  1. I loved it. Especially the list of “one anothers” listed straight away. Lol. Cute but very real.

  2. Tony Lane says:

    Few people believe in “judge one another”. It’s “I’ll judge you, but don’t you dare criticise me!”

  3. Martin says:


    Logs come in many lengths,
    shapes and widths
    with one thing in common
    each a solid mass

    They are scattered throughout the world
    in deserts, on tundra
    along rivers of the wild
    especially numerous lodged in our brains

    You see, logs don’t need water,
    sun or anything else to give them form
    they only need a mind,
    and even though they reflect no light
    each shines bright with delusions
    dazzling myopic eyes

    Logs are personalized
    each of our names inscribed
    upon knots and whorls
    on surfaces of smooth and roughened bark
    along the grain of judgments
    we heap upon others
    as we stumble blinded by the dark

    There is a big log lodged in you
    there is an even larger one clogging me
    when I try to take yours out
    my own log blocks my sight

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  5. Duane Warren says:

    Good post. As Christians, we are called to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, and whether we like it or not, non-believers will notice the way we live our lives. Many of them base their perception of Christianity on how they see Christians acting, and, in my opinion, Christians are one of the biggest reasons why some people reject Christianity. Many who profess to follow Christ do not love the way he did. Jesus told his disciples: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

    Love can do amazing things. It can fix problems, mend relationships, and change hearts.

    We maybe forget that there is great power in love……

    Proverbs 10:12
    Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.

    1 Peter 4:8
    Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

    So I guess this post should stir each of us to examine ourselves……because these are the words that rang in my heart after reading this……. I ask you to love. Love not out of guilt or obligation, but with a pure heart that knows what Scripture says and is committed to changing lives.

    May we all strive to love God, and each other, all the days of our lives. After all……He promises that it will be worth it.

  6. Dawn Wilson says:

    You don’t know how many times I’ve thought these same thoughts – but you actually wrote about it. Kudos on a great post. The key phrase for me is: “The kind of God we really believe in is revealed in how we treat one another. ” If we truly knew the character of God, we’d understand what He expects from us. He says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And our love should reflect His. Thanks for making me rethink this concept today.

  7. Joel Kersey says:

    I too was convicted by and encouraged by the reminder of this post. I completely agree with his words about how our beliefs are actually revealed by our actions. All the same, I’m wondering how Ray is distinguishing from texts like 1 Cor. 5:12 where we are told by Paul to judge one another on issues of Christians living in sin. How should we approach the commands of Jesus to love one another while also considering sin and hypocrisy within the church?

  8. Duane Warren says:

    Nowhere are we able to find Jesus saying that we are never to be discerning about ourselves or others. How would we know there is a plank in our eye or a speck in our brother’s? Think about other things he said in the Sermon on the Mount. He spoke about “hypocrites” (you can see the root work “critic” in hypocrite). A hypocrite is one who judges by a false standard. Jesus also said that we can’t “serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). By what standard do we decide? He also warned about “false prophets” (Matt. 7:15). By what standard do we know they are false?

    We see from Jesus’ words here that we are most definitely to judge, but we are not to judge by our own perceptions or opinions. Rather, we are to judge by the Word of God. We know that most of our judgments involve interaction with people. We are to judge people’s words and deeds by the Word of God, and in so doing we must separate the sin from the sinner. This helps us reserve judgments on someone’s heart and give him the benefit of the doubt, at least until we have enough facts, and that may take a while. As Oswald Chambers says, “There is always one more fact in every man’s case about which I know nothing.” Consider the following verses:

    Romans 16:17 and 18
    (17) I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
    (18) For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

    3 John 1:9-12
    (9) I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.
    (10) So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
    (11) Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
    (12) Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone–and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

    Once again, the point Jesus is making is that we are not to judge by our own standard. Rather, we are to judge by God’s standard. First, I must judge myself by this standard. The more I am aware of the beams in my eyes, the more I am aware of God’s grace and mercy and Jesus Christ’s strength to help me. Jesus does not say we should not be concerned about a speck in our brother’s eye. He simply tells us that we will not be able to effectually help someone else with his issues if we have a telephone pole sticking out of our own eye. The more I am aware of my own “planks” and God’s solution, the more I can see this for you and help you.

    It is the Word of God that nourishes us and helps us mature so that we can properly distinguish truth from error.

    Hebrews 5:13 and 14
    (13) Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
    (14) But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

    True love is based on knowledge and insight into the heart of God. True love discerns what is best. True love is filled with the fruit of righteousness and gives glory and praise to God. Let us put on the mind of Christ by hiding God’s Word in our hearts and acting on it moment by moment. As we do, we will grow up in Him and be able to walk a path of genuine discernment as our Lord did, judging everything by the written Word of God and the word revealed to us by the spirit of God in our hearts. May our Father bless each of you this day……peace.

  9. Ben Janssen says:

    This is good, but I have to wonder: what do we do about the “one anothers” that are sometimes accused of being judgmental? I’m talking about things like “exhort one another” and “admonish one another.” How do we do these and still “treat one another like royalty”? Or conversely, isn’t it true that if we ignore these we are actually not treating people like royalty but rather like dirt?

  10. BOOM! So good.

    I did some research on all the “one another” commands in the New Testament recently. It’s pretty interesting that a third of the commands concern unity, a third concern love, and about 15% concern humility. (I made an infographic of what I found here:

    It’s cool to see what Jesus and the apostles emphasize when it comes to how we treat one another.

  11. Noah D. Roberts says:


    Reminds me of another great Ray line…

    “How you see God will show up in how you see other people.”

    -Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr. (aka “L.L. Cool Ray”)

  12. The question now is: How do I cultivate this unconditional love which God’s calling me to give but one that doesn’t come natural in me? Because the reality is that by you telling me “to love” won’t make me “to love”.
    And the answer the Bible give is… to know, to embrace, and to remember the gospel, the word of truth, which tells me that God has loved me when I didn’t and couldn’t do anything for Him to love me or to stop loving me, for that matter. Only when I take GOD’S AMAZING GRACE deep into my heart, I’ll be able to love Him back and to love others joyfully despite of who they are or what they do. 1 Peter 1 : 1 – 25

  13. Too simplistic. The church has been given “The Keys of the Kingdom” (Matt. 16:13-19; 18:15-20) – judging whether a so-called “brother” or “sister” is a genuine believer is part of our job description; discerning truth, exhorting in it and refuting error is part of the calling of elders (Titus 1:9) . Paul asks, “Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” (1 Cor. 16:12) in a context of admonishing us “to not associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater (it’s popular to say that we’re all constant-idolaters these days), reviler, drunkard, or swindler – not even to eat with such a one” (v. 11). Jesus tell us, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). Sounds like “Judge one another” is pretty biblical. How can we read the Pastoral Epistles and not see the imperative to deal faithfully with aberrant teaching and to refute that which contradicts Scripture? Amen to speaking the truth in love and representing our brothers fairly – but we still must speak the truth and defend sound doctrine when error is propagated and the word of God is mishandled and twisted. Judgments differ – but judgments must be made – and to the teaching of Scripture must be our final appeal. Let men defend what they teach by the Word of God and let the truth prevail (1 Cor. 10:19) in the midst iron sharpening iron.

  14. Eneleida says:

    “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a] 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. James 5:16-17
    But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[a] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[b] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:10-13
    It seems like he skipped at least two passages from the NT.

  15. Eneleida: Your comment makes no sense as the title clearly states the author is listing “one anothers” that they CAN’T find in the New Testament. The ones you list are there, the ones the author lists are NOT. That is the whole point of the article.

  16. Paul Madson says:

    Ray – Once again, thank you!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your words. You seem to always be able to keep the “big picture” in view and remind everyone what “truth wrapped in grace” really looks like.

  17. Dave Briley says:

    “But when the gospel grips us at the level of conviction, we obey its implications whatever the cost.” That is the central nugget of your entire post…..”the sermon within the sermon!” I needed to read that this morning and thank you sir for the timely reminder in my own journey.

  18. Rick says:

    Do these replys have to get reviewed and approved? I’ve tried to reply twice, and it still hasn’t shown up. If they have to be approved, and mine is not going to be, that is fine. I’m just wondering if replys have to be approved and mine is not being approved, or if I’m not sending it correctly. Thanks

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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