Editor’s Note: This week we welcome David Hundert as guest blogger!
The television show, Ted Lasso, is about an American football coach attempting to coach an English soccer team. Lasso often brings his unique style to the locker room, and in one episode it seems he borrowed from a famous Allen Iverson press conference that happened in real life. As you watch the clip, Iverson and Lasso seem to be hung up on a word. See if you can figure it out.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they keep repeating a word or a phrase? Why do they do that? Have you ever heard or even used the expression, “If I told you once, I told you a thousand times…” Why do we repeat ourselves like that? It’s because there was something to say that was important and we want the person we’re talking to, to remember it. As pastors and teachers, we may repeat the point of a sermon or a lesson because it’s important, and we want to drive that point home.
The same goes for Scripture. When you’re reading a passage, and you see that a point is repeated, or there is a word that is used multiple times in the passage, you have to ask yourself, “Why is that? What is the point that the Lord is trying to make here?”
In this week’s five-part blog series, there is a word that I want to focus on. This word or one of it’s iterations are used 100 times in the New Testament alone, and it’s used in 94 verses! Do you think that the Lord might be trying to tell us something? It is the Greek word allelon, and it is pronounced “Ah Lay Lon.” In the Greek, it is only one word, but in English, it is predominately translated into two words, “One Another.”
Are you a statistic-loving, numbers person? You might appreciate the stats on this word. This is by no means an authoritative list, but it is just my attempt to categorize how the New Testament writers use this word. After reviewing all 94 verses and 100 uses of allelon, 27 of them referred to conversations people had with, “one another.” 40 of them dealt with how we need to relate to “one another.” 12 of them really didn’t fit in one category or another. For instance, 2 were mentioned in John’s book of Revelation, so they were in the middle of a prophecy, but there was one usage of the phrase that stuck out to me. There was one use that could have been put in the category of how to relate to one another, but 21 times Scripture tells us to treat each other the same way: “love one another.”
In those 21 verses, fourteen times that Scripture uses the word “love,” it means to “cherish; have affection for.” Five times, it refers to “esteem; affection; or regard for.” Twice it refers to the love of a brother and sister.
“Cherish, have affection for, esteem, regard for, have the love of a brother for a sister…,” how does one accomplish such a monumental task? Especially in consideration of all the stuff we read in the news today. There are kids robbing and killing adults. There are kids walking into stores and walking out with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise that they haven’t paid for. There are parents killing their own children. There are people spewing hate for others based on their race, on their religion, their birthplace, the color of their skin or their politics. What in the world has gone wrong? What is going on today? Most importantly, how do we fix it?
Those that grew up in earlier generations probably have heard that the three things that you don’t discuss around the dinner table were politics, money and religion. However if you look around at the majority of violence in the world today, it comes back to money, religion and politics! What our parents didn’t teach us was how to have a difficult discussion about difficult topics!
So, what do we, as the Church of Christ do with this? We’ll talk about that in the next post.