TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

II. Caring for the Body

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Chapter 26  Part II

Caring for the Body

The care that church members ought to show each other should be one of the defining characteristics of every church, evidencing Christian love. This care should include both spiritual and practical care, with the former largely involving prayer and encouragement.

Pray for Each Other (I): General

Pray earnestly for other Christians

Acts 12:5  So Peter was kept in prison, but those in the church were earnestly praying to God for him.  NET

Pray constantly for other Christians

Eph 6:18  Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.  CEV

Rom 1:9-10  [Paul, to believers:] For God, whom I serve in my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I mention you 10in my prayers at all times, asking that somehow by God’s will I may at last succeed in coming to you.  ISV

Pray for those facing persecution

2Thes 3:2  [Paul:] Pray also that God will rescue us from wicked and evil people; for not everyone believes the message.  GNT

Phil 1:18b-19  [Paul:] Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  NET

Paul speaks of the Philippians’ prayers for him while he was imprisoned because of his work for God’s kingdom (cf. v. 17).

Pray for those spreading the gospel

2Thes 3:1  [Paul:] Finally, our brothers and sisters, pray for us, that the Lord’s message may continue to spread rapidly and be received with honor, just as it was among you.  GNT

Always thank God for other Christians because of their faith and love

Eph 1:15-16  [Paul, to the Ephesian believers:] For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I do not cease to give thanks for you when I remember you in my prayers.  NET

Thank God because of the service of other Christians

Phil 1:3-5  [Paul, to the Philippian believers:] I thank my God for you every time I think of you; 4and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy 5because of the way in which you have helped me in the work of the gospel from the very first day until now.  GNT

 Questions for Section A

Pray for Each Other (II): What to Ask

Ask that other believers will live as God wants

2Cor 13:7  [Paul, to believers:] Now we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong, not so that we may appear to have passed the test, but so that you may do what is right even if we may appear to have failed the test.  NET

Ask God to forgive them when they do sin

Num 14:19-20  [Moses, to God:] Please forgive the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, just as you have forgiven this people from Egypt even until now.” 20Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven them as you asked.  NET

Pray for their spiritual growth

Phil 1:9-11  [Paul, to believers:] And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight 10so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.  NET

The phrase “the fruit of righteousness” (v. 11a) could refer to either good deeds (cf. CEV, NCV) or to righteous qualities (cf. GNT). The concept of being “filled with the fruit” seems to favour the second interpretation.

Pray for them in their work for the kingdom, asking God to aid them in the work

Rom 15:30a  [Paul, to believers:] Brothers and sisters, I beg you to help me in my work by praying to God for me.  NCV™

2Thes 1:11  [Paul, to believers:] God chose you, and we keep praying that God will make you worthy of being his people. We pray for God’s power to help you do all the good things that you hope to do and that your faith makes you want to do.  CEV

Ask God to help and take care of them

1Ki 8:52  [Solomon, to God:] May you be attentive to your servant’s and your people Israel’s requests for help and may you respond to all their prayers to you.  NET

Ps 5:11b  [David, to God:] Protect those who love you; because of you they are truly happy.  GNT

 Questions for Section B

Encourage Each Other

The Hebrew and Greek words translated “encourage” often imply meanings such as “strengthen”, “exhort” and “comfort”.  Believers are to strengthen each other, particularly in regard to faith and work for the kingdom; they are to exhort each other to press on and to live as God wants; and they are to comfort each other in difficult circumstances.

Encourage each other

Heb 10:25  Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.  GNT

Strengthen each other

1Sam 23:16  And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God.  ESV

Jonathan helped David find strength in God.

Encourage and strengthen each other by what you say

2Chr 32:6-8  He [Hezekiah] appointed military officers over the army and assembled them in the square at the city gate. He encouraged them, saying, 7“Be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic because of the king of Assyria and this huge army that is with him! We have with us one who is stronger than those who are with him. 8He has with him mere human strength, but the Lord our God is with us to help us and fight our battles!” The army was encouraged by the words of King Hezekiah of Judah.  NET

Eph 4:29  When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.  NCV™

Encourage others to continue in God’s grace

Acts 13:43  And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.  ESV

Continuing in God’s grace primarily involves remaining true to God and holding to the faith. As such one remains under God’s grace, staying right with him (just as one received God’s grace in originally being made right with him). It also encompasses relying on God’s grace for God to meet one’s needs, notably spiritual needs.

Encourage each other by what you do . . .

Col 2:1-2  [Paul, to the believers in Colosse:] I want you to know what a struggle I am going through for you, for God’s people at Laodicea, and for all of those followers who have never met me. 2I do it to encourage them. Then as their hearts are joined together in love, they will be wonderfully blessed with complete understanding. And they will truly know Christ.  CEV

. . . Do not do anything that will cause another to “stumble”

Rom 14:13b  [Paul, to believers:] Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make another stumble or fall into sin.  GNT

Comfort each other

2Cor 1:4  He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble.  CEV

Comfort those in need by visiting them

John 11:18-19  Bethany was only about two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many people had come from the city to comfort Martha and Mary because their brother had died.  CEV

 Questions for Section C

Help Each Other

Be concerned for each other

1Cor 12:24b-25  [Paul, speaking of the church body:] Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, 25so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another.  NET

Consequently, help each other

Gal 6:2  Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  NET

Heb 6:10  God is always fair. He will remember how you helped his people in the past and how you are still helping them. You belong to God, and he won’t forget the love you have shown his people.  CEV

Meet each other’s needs . . .

2Cor 9:12  [Paul, to the Corinthian believers:] For this service you perform not only meets the needs of God’s people, but also produces an outpouring of gratitude to God.  GNT

. . . Share what you have with those in need

Rom 12:13  Share what you have with God’s people who are in need. Be hospitable.  GW

Acts 2:44-45  All who believed were together and held everything in common, 45and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need.  NET

Help others who are doing God’s work

Rom 16:2  [Paul, speaking to the Roman church about Phoebe:] I ask you to accept her in the Lord in the way God’s people should. Help her with anything she needs, because she has helped me and many other people also.  NCV™

2Tim 1:16-18  [Paul, to Timothy:] May the Lord grant mercy to the family of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my imprisonment. 17But when he arrived in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me. 18May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day! And you know very well all the ways he served me in Ephesus.  NET

Note: What one does for another Christian, one does for Jesus Christ

Matt 25:35-40  [Jesus Christ, to righteous people on judgment day:] For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’  NET

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians