Another lovely hidden treasure found scattered across the pages of the New Testament is found four times in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, a letter Cannon Beach Community Church read this past week (Sept. 13-20, 2020).
The word in Greek is ἀλλήλους, transliterated as “allelous,” translated into English as “one another,” or sometimes as “each other.” Allelous is a relational word, describing how we relate to other humans, or how God relates to us.
Here are the four times this word shows up in Ephesians.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
In Ephesians 4:2, we are called to live with intention towards other followers of Jesus, being humble and gentle with others by bearing with one another in love. This kind of love is much needed in our world today, as people often do not bear with others in love, but rather condemn others or rant against others with hostility.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
In Ephesians 4:32, we are called to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. This sentence has had a profound impact upon me in my marriage to Trina, as we wrote this sentence into our wedding vows, and spoke them to one another on July 5, 1981, the day we were married, now 39 years ago. Often, over these years of marriage, this invitation has come to me, reminding me who I am and how I am to live with my wife, to be kind to her and compassionate to her, to forgive her just as in Christ God forgave me. She has had many opportunities to live out this “one another” with me as well.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.
In Ephesians 5:19, Paul calls us to speak to one another “with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” We are to “sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” Scripture is to deeply influence our speech with one another, especially the Psalms. How well do you know the Psalms by heart, able to draw upon the wonders and wisdom and prayers from the prayerbook of the Bible? The more we have the words of the Psalms tucked away within our mind and heart, the more these words will come to us when we need them. I find it easiest to memorize the Psalms by singing them, by learning songs written to the exact words of the Psalms. “My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from him!” I can hear the melody of this Psalm song in my heart, singing to me, reminding me to find my rest in God alone. Hymns and other songs from the Spirit are also to influence our speech. Worship is not just a Sunday morning activity, but the way we meet one another, the way we speak to other followers of Jesus. We share from our hearts the abundance we’ve received in times of worship, together with others, or in the privacy of our own homes and hearts.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
The fourth time this hidden treasure is found in Ephesians is in chapter 5, verse 21. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This mutual submission is the “one another” way of life for followers of Jesus, including within a Christian marriage, within a Christian family, and within the workplace. Rather than one person being above another person with power over that person, Paul invites us to lay down our lives in mutual submission to one another, in marriages, in families, and in our relationship with fellow workers. The example for this of course it witnessed in the life of Jesus. We submit to one another “out of reverence for Christ,” for this is the way Jesus lived and how Jesus calls us to live with one another.
Across the pages of the New Testament, allelous, this hidden treasure is found more than two dozen times as a way of describing our life together as followers of Jesus. The root passage is found in John 13:34.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Allelous, or as I like to think of this hidden treasure, “one another,” is rooted in Jesus’ life and Jesus new command to love one another.
By this extraordinary way of love, others who do not know Jesus yet will see we are Jesus followers, as Jesus tells us:
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”