Members One of Another


“So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Rom. 12:5).

The phrase “one another” is used in 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. Of these, 59 are statements that give exhortation to churches and Christians about what we are to do—action we are to take—regarding one another as brothers and sisters. These commands come from Jesus, Peter, John, Paul, and James, and they’re scattered across the pages of the New Testament. One third of the one-another commands deal with the unity of the church. One third of them instruct Christians to love one another. Many of them stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers. As a whole, they emphasize to us the fact that we are members of the body of Christ.

Here in Romans 12, Paul says, “We are members one of another.” This is a short but powerful statement. The church of Christ as a body is a favorite theme in the letters of Paul. We are members one of another. We belong to one another. We are part of one another. The relationship that we have is vital, and carries with it some important implications.

As members one of another, we should strive to maintain the unity of the body. Of course, the unity of the body of Christ is established on eternal principles of truth, and we always remain committed to those principles. But unity also requires a certain mindset on our part. For example, here Paul emphasizes that we avoid thinking too highly of ourselves (v. 3). Unity in the body can be preserved only through diligent application of the principles of humility, compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and love (see also Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 3:12-15).

As members one of another, we are mindful to contribute to the functioning of the body. The wisdom of God is demonstrated in the fact that “we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function” (v. 4). There is unity and there is diversity. Each of us must use the gift God has given us (vv. 6-8).

Dedicated service to God means we recognize our place as members of the body of Christ. Every member of the body can be involved. Every member is committed to the work of Christ. Like players on a team, each of us has a valuable contribution to make.

We should use our gift for the right reason and with the proper motive—not for personal prestige, but for the common good, the good of the body. When that happens, the body will flourish and grow. Then the Lord will bless our work, and he will be glorified.

As members one of another, we care for one another. Paul emphasizes that we remain mindful of each member, ready to give help and encouragement. We are “devoted to one another in brotherly love” (v. 10). We are “contributing to the needs of the saints” (v. 13). We “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (v. 15). We strive to “be of the same mind toward one another” (v. 16).

“But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:24-26).

Dan Petty