In the New Testament, there are many occurrences of the phrase “one another” which means to reciprocate or mutually. The root of the Greek word for “one another” is allos. This word means another of the same kind. Therefore this is referring to how one saint or believer is to relate to another saint or believer.
The phrase “love one another” is used much more than any other. The remaining occurrences are either positive qualities we will display when we “love one another” or negative qualities we will display when we do not “love one another”.
The phrase “love one another” is used in the New Testament 15 times. 15 is a product of 5 x 3. Five is the number of grace and the number 3 means complete. Therefore 15 means complete or full grace. This phrase has great significance to the saints. Here are the 15 verses containing this phrase.
· John 13:34
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
· John 15:12
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
· John 15:17
These things I command you, that ye love one another.
· Romans 13:8
Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
· Ephesians 4:2
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love
· 1 Thessalonians 4:9
But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for you, yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
· 1 Peter 1:22
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
· 1 John 3:11
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
· 1 John 3:23
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
· 1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God
· 1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
· 1 John 4:12
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
· 2 John 1:5
And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
The word “love” is the Greek word “agape”. In Greek, there are 3 words for love.
1- Eros – physical or sexual love
2- Phileo – brotherly love. This is a love that is conditional. “I like you because of something in you I like, e.g. we like the same food, same sports team, same school, same games, same books, same music, etc.”
3- Agape – the love of God. This is unconditional love. It’s part of the new nature that we receive from God.
According to John 4:4 God is love (agape). This does not just mean that God loves but that it’s God’s nature to love. It’s his essence. Agape was not available before the day of Pentecost. When Adam fell in Genesis chapter 3 he lost Holy Spirit so instead of being a complete man with body, soul, and spirit instead of only body and soul. All men have inherited their flawed, broken natures from Adam. This nature was impossible to fix, even with the Mosaic Law. Because of our broken natures we needed a new nature to reconcile us back to God. This is what was provided by God on the day of Pentecost for all men and women. Since everything is after its kind then when God imparts his nature to us when we are saved then we receive God’s agape nature. This allows us to fulfill the new commandment.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Jesus said that all of the laws in the Old Testament are fulfilled by the two love (agape) commandments
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all
thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like, unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Agape is how the disciples of Jesus are recognized.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another
It’s interesting that Jesus did not say how we love men that they will know you are my disciples. It’s through their observation of us loving each other is how they would know we are his disciples.
A breakdown of what agape means is expounded in 1 Corinthians 13. In the King, James agape is translated as charity instead of love. It’s the same Greek word.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I have become a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
This is referring to speaking in tongues which can be in a heavenly or earthly language. If the speaking in tongues is not done with the love of God then “I” am just a noise maker. Clank, Clank, Clank!
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
If I have the manifestation of prophecy with a mastery of all mysteries and all knowledge and have faith to remove mountains (believing to overcome any obstacles) and have not the love of God then “I” am nothing. This could be very helpful to others but “I” am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
If I have the motivational gift of giving and give away everything that I have to eradicate poverty and burn out myself by expending all of my time and energy helping others but have not the love of God then it profits me nothing. It could be very profitable to others but zero profit to me.
Do you see the picture that God paints that we could have tremendous gifts and talents that would produce awe from the world and yet personally we would be empty, unprofitable, noisemakers, An unfulfilled shell receiving praise from the world?
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunts, not itself, is not puffed up,
Agape suffers long. Phileo will suffer under great burden and resentment. Agape never elevates itself. Phileo will forever be promoting itself and seeking acceptance from the world. Agape is not puffed up (thinking more highly of himself than deserved). Phileo is competitive and always wants to be in an elevated, visible position.
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Agape is always decent and in order, not self-seeking, very slow to be provoked to anger, thinks no evil. This requires a careful filtering of our thoughts. Phileo is indecent, always looking out for number one, quick to be provoked to anger, and naturally, thinks evil.
Phileo is on display in our culture in music, art, movies, politics, books, social media, advertising, magazines. It’s all about revenge, jealousy, getting even, and if it feels good, do it. Alistair Crowley, one of the most wicked men that ever lived wrote in his Book of the Law, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. This was the guiding philosophy that began in the 1960’s when the Bible was sidelined from public discourse.
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Agape does not celebrate evil but Phileo celebrates the evil of the world. Agape supports all things true, believes all things true, hopes all things true and endures all things true. The Word of God is true so agape supports, believes, hopes, and endures the entire Bible. This implies there is a need to study to show ourselves approved unto God rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
8 Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Agape never fails but Phileo is a miserable failure because of its self-centered nature. All nine of the manifestations (only three are mentioned (prophecies, speaking in tongues, word of knowledge)but all are included) will end one day but agape has no expiration.
9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect comes, then that which is in part shall be done away.
The manifestations are the best that God has to offer but they are partial. The partial will end when the “perfect comes”.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Now we see through a mirror (highly polished metal) unclearly but then face to face. When Jesus comes back for his saints then we will see him face to face and forever be with the Lord.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Our 3 primary motivations/characteristics are faith(believing), hope(looking for Christ’s second coming), and the Love of God but the greatest of these three is the Love of God(agape).
1 John 3
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon[given} us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not because it knew him not.
God deposited his very love nature, in us so that we not only can be called Sons of God but in reality, we are Sons of God. This is not by adoption but by birth. If it were by adoption we would not have the nature of God because nature is passed on by seed.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Hallelujah! I get excited every time I read these verses. I am a Son of God awaiting his return. When you are saved God makes you his Son also. Agape is part of our nature. This allows us to walk in the love of God and not in Phileo love of our old man nature.
The new nature allows us to accomplish lofty goals now that we are saved. Here are a few of them.
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.
We are implored to “walk in love”. This means that our manner of life will emanate the love of God which resides in us.
But speaking the truth in love may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
We can “speak the truth in love”. It doesn’t just say to speak the truth which many of us have mastered but we are to speak the truth in love. The challenge is to do it in love. If you cannot speak the truth in love then it’s best to stay quiet and pursue God for the right words to speak. Your best and only option may be to pray.
We are privileged to live In this administration which allows us to be Sons of God. God raises the standard for us by asking us to obey the love commandments by walking in love and speaking the truth in love. We have much to celebrate as we live in the kingdom as ambassadors of Christ. We should walk with a pep in our step as we joyfully walk in our agape nature.
The remaining occurrences are either positive traits of loving one another or negative traits due to not loving one another.