When I learned Greek and Hebrew, I found it helpful to use mnemonic devices to memorize vocabulary. I would take what the Hebrew or Greek word sounded like, and take the English translation of the word, and then try to come up with a sentence that included both.
So, for example, the Greek word speiro sounds like “sparrow” and it means “to sow.” The mnemonic device I used was “I sow seeds the sparrows eat.” Another example is with the Greek preposition epi. It sounds somewhat close to “I pee” and means “upon, on, at, by” and so I used the mnemonic device “I pee upon, on, at, or by the tree.” It’s crude humor, but it worked for me!
One Greek word I always thought was somewhat ironic was the Greek word allelon. It means “one another.” The device I used to memorize this word is “all alone with one another.” I found this device ironic because you would think that no one can be all alone when they are with other people, but the truth is that some people are never more alone than when they are with others.
Some of the most lonely people I know are those who have the most friends and go to the most parties. They party as an attempt to fight back the encroaching loneliness that threatens to choke them every minute of every day. Their nearly manic efforts to always be with people and around other people are all because they feel loneliness taking over their lives. Though they are with people all the time, they are all alone most of that time.
The reason behind this is that although such people might be with others all the time, very few of those others actually know the person.
Marriage is a great example of this. Many people get married partly because they think marriage will help them to finally escape the deep sense of being alone. They feel that if they get married, they will never be alone again. But millions of married couples discover a few months after the wedding that they feel more alone than ever before! This person who is supposed to love them, know them, and care for them like no one else on earth, seems to be too busy, too distracted, or too concerned with other matters. As a result, millions of married couples are never more alone than when they are in the same room with their spouse. Such a sense of deep loneliness will quickly suffocate and destroy the marriage. I believe that such loneliness is so widespread, it is probably the largest threat to the institution of marriage today.
But there is another societal institution which is threatened by widespread loneliness among its members. This other institution is the church. The vast majority of the people involved with a church feel incredibly lonely, even when they are in the same room with other people. In church, we often feel all alone, even when we are with one another. We are allelon with one another.
I always find it interesting when pastors and teachers tell us that we can fulfill the “one anothers” in Scripture by joining a church, faithfully attending on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, and by getting involved in a church ministry. In my experience–and I don’t think I am “alone” in this–such activities do little to quell the sense of being all alone with one another in church. The solution to feeling alone in church is not to attend more church services and Bible studies.
What is needed, and what Scripture calls for, is not just being in the same room with one another, or heading in the same ministry direction with one another, but actually getting to know one another by digging into their lives and letting them dig into ours.This is painful, scary, and messy. Sometimes it leads to shouting; other times to tears. But the more you truly learn about the lives of the people around you, and the more you let them learn about you, the less likely you are to feel all alone with one another. Instead, you will begin to practice the Christian life with allelon (one another).
So who in your life can you get to know more deeply today?
This is a blog post in a Chain Blog started by Alan Knox. Read on to learn about the other links in the chain, and to find out how you can participate in this chain blog.
Links in the ‘One Another’ Chain Blog
- Chain Blog: One Another – Alan Knox
- Linking One Another – Swanny
- What Does It Mean to Love One Another? – Chuck McKnight
- The treasure of ‘One Another’ – Jim Puntney
- This is how the world shall recognise you… – Kathleen Ward
- Accepting one another in love – Chris Jefferies
- One Another: A meta-narrative for the church – Part One and Part Two by Greg Gamble
- Individualism and “One Another” – Pieter Pretorius
- “All Alone with One Another” by Jeremy Myers
- “When It’s Okay for Christians to Compete” by Joshua Lawson
- “Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone for One Another” by Peter
- “Be Superficial with One Another” by Jon
- “The Unmentionable One Anothers” by Alan Knox
- “Loving More Fully and Widely” by Chris Jefferies
- “The One Another Weapon” by Dan Allen
- “Corporate One-Anothering” Part One and Part Two by David Bolton
- “The Last Revival” by Tobie van der Westhuizen
- “Love: a ‘One Another’ Comic” by Dan Allen
- “I Can Only Love You If…” by Rob
- “It Was Lost in Translation” by Nelson
- “Consider Others Better Than Yourself” by Chuck McKnight
- Who will write the twenty-second link post in the chain?
Chain Blog Rules
- If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.
- Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain.” Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog (both this post and the other link posts in the chain).
- When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.