The Bible speaks about unity or community among the saints. What are some of the top Bible verses about community? Here are seven of my favorite.
What is Community?
The short answer is that the word “community” is a compound word; “com” means with and “unity” means what the word says…unity or being unified or having a common union. In short, God wants believers to dwell in union and in community having the same mind that is in Jesus Christ (Phil 2:1-11). I hope to provide Bible verses that establish this fact.
Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”
I heard about a large church in Dallas, Texas that actually divided because they couldn’t agree over the color that the carpet should be in the sanctuary. How do you think Jesus felt about this? I heard an analogy once and it went like this: The bride came down the aisle but something was dreadfully wrong. She had a sleeve of her gown that was torn, she had a black eye, her lip was bloodied, she walked with a limp, she had an arm in bandages, and her hair was a mess. What is the analogy? There you go…the Bride of Christ has been fighting again! Sometimes Christians do not act like Christians and let me tell you that most of the persecution I get is not from atheists, agnostics, or those hostile to God. My worst persecution comes from other Christians. That is possibly why my late grandmother loved this verse; “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers [and sisters] dwell in unity!” Maybe she loved it because it doesn’t happen very often.
Romans 12:4-5 “For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
To have community we need to have unity and to have unity we need to understand that the “body” or the church has many members and these “members do not all have the same function.” Each member serves a critical area in the needs of the saints. One can teach, another can show mercy, yet another is able to give. Not everyone can give, not everyone can teach, but each individual member of the body has something to contribute. One of our church members ended up having to go a nursing home and she thought her usefulness to the church was gone, however I think one of the greatest needs for the church is prayer. She now had more time than the rest of us to pray and she has become our prayer warrior and we could not do what we do as a body without this woman’s petitions before God in our behalf.
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Although this section of Scripture is teaching about how to deal with a sinning brother, the principle is still the same. When two or more gather in Jesus’ name, He is there in their midst. That doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t with each one of us when we are alone, but there is something about bringing a matter before the church or believers when someone has sinned or continues to sin against a brother or sister. This section is frequently the model used for church discipline and maybe that is why Christ said “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
A friend of mine was having a bar-b-que and I intentionally moved one coal over to the side. Eventually it started to die out and cool off. This reminded me of the need for each of us to “stir up one another to love and to good works” because if we are off to the side, by ourselves, we tend to cool off pretty quickly. For one thing, if we are living the Christian life as a solo act, who can we stir up to love and good works? Who would there be to do the same to us? When I put that dying coal back into the rest of the coals and stirred it up, it began to get hot again and glow. That is why the author of Hebrews said we should “not neglect to meet together”…but “encourage one another” and even more so “as [we] see the Day drawing near,” the “Day” meaning the day of the Lord’s return. The “Day” would seem to be approaching rather rapidly, although no one knows for sure when that “Day” will be, but we still need one another more and more with each passing day.
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Have you heard the saying “a joy shared is doubled…a sorry shared is halved?” I think it’s true. When we have a burden, the last thing we need to do is to isolate ourselves. Everyone in the church has gone through or will go through trials, sorrows, and sufferings and the fact that they have enables them to minister to those who have or are going through the very same thing. It’s more comforting when someone has experienced the same thing as you have because they can truly say “I understand.” When we bear one another’s burden, we lighten their load by sharing their sorrow with them. Misery does love company but isolation makes the person experiencing the sorrow have too much to bear on their own.
First Thessalonians 4:18 “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
We can comfort one another with what words? With the words of Jesus’ imminent return, which was what Paul was writing to the church at Thessalonica about where he had just written that he didn’t want them “to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” (1 Thess 4:13). At a recent funeral I presided over, I used these words to comfort those who had just lost a beloved mother, sister, friend, and church member. Those who grieve don’t grieve as the world does because we know that we will see them again, therefore the Christian funeral is not really a “goodbye” but a “see you later.” Knowing this, we can “comfort one another with these [same] words.”
First Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
I conclude with another verse from 1 Thessalonians because we are to admonish one another while in community. We should “encourage the fainthearted” and “help the weak” and be sure to “be patient with them all” as the Lord God is patient with us. By Paul’s use of the word “brothers” we can see that this is written to the community of believers, the body of Christ, the church. Once again, it’s hard to “encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, [and] be patient with them all” if you are living the Christian life in isolation. We need one another just as we need the Head of the Body of Christ, Jesus Christ.
Clearly, community is the body of believers and we see how good and pleasant it is to dwell in unity, working together as many members yet one body, knowing that Jesus Christ is in their presence, to stir up each other to love and good works, bearing one another’s burdens, comforting each other with the promises of Christ’s return, and help the fainthearted, weak, and be patient with them. We need each other and are stronger together than we are individually. Like the coal in the bar-b-que, left to itself, a lone coal dies out and loses that fire for the truth of God’s Word, for the children of God, and for walking with Christ as we ought to be doing every day.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon