We all crave belonging and community. We want to be a part of something. We need true belonging but how exactly do we find it?
The truth is, we need each other. We need to trust, rely, and depend on one another. God gave us each other to walk alongside, encourage, spur one another in love. We are to carry each other’s burdens, care for each other’s practical needs, warn each other of sin, and rejoice with each other.
When you become a believer there is the automatic expectation that you will join a church. Why? First, to be taught in your faith and second to join a fellowship of believers.
This second one is just as important as the first. We are going to explore this concept with Bible verses about community and see how God had a plan for this right from the beginning.
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What Does the Bible Say about Community?
You will find quite a bit of scripture on community in the Bible. God never intended for us to go at life alone but to break bread with and share our burdens with one another.
Community is God's desire for us!
Biblical community – a community of other Christ-followers – is even more important because it helps us stay focused on God.
One of the best examples of community in the Bible is seen in the early church in the book of Acts.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”Acts 2:42-47 NIV
A few chapters later and we see they are still living in complete fellowship, a wonderful concept of community.
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”Acts 4:32-35 NIV
Do we have to sell all of our possessions in order to be a part of a godly community?
No, but this is a good example of how the first church was selfless. Communities run best when we are focused on loving one another and less upon ourselves.
Bible Verses about Community
The importance of community in the Bible is pretty clear!
The following verses provide a great Bible study about community. They are meant to not only encourage us but teach us how to treat one another.
Paul talks a lot about believers being the body of Christ. While that concept is too long to discuss in detail here, I wanted to mention it because the body of Christ is the same as a community of believers.
After God created Adam and placed him in a beautiful garden, He watched him and said that it is not good for man to be alone. He created Eve for him.
Sure, this is a verse usually used for marriage, but I think it applies to all relationships. Family and friends are important relationships. God created us to live in groups or communities.
Solomon says it well (as only he can!).
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV
Life is so much better when we do it with others! We accomplish more, we share the burdens, we share the celebrations.
We need others. We need them for encouragement, help, and support in all ways: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.(Romans 12:4-5)
We all have a job, a purpose, a place of belonging.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:12-14
It is important to put Jesus’s words about love and what he did for us as our first Bible verse about connecting with others.
Without our connection to Jesus through his love, our connections with others will be self-centered. A good, biblical community begins with God’s love for mankind.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.Proverbs 17:17
You know, it was just recently that I understood what “a brother is born for a time of adversity” means. God provides us friends and family to help us through hard times. He knew we would need that. God knew that His perfect creation was now corrupt with sin and we would suffer in ways He had never intended.
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.Proverbs 27:9
“The pleasantness of a friend…” It is pleasant to have a friendship, especially one in which you are both seeking God.
In church circles, we often speak of fellowship. Just like the old advice of “if you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people” goes, if you want to be encouraged on your spiritual journey, it’s best to surround yourself with people on that same journey.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25
Paul even instructs us to meet. Why? Because it’s not good for us to be alone. We need teaching and instruction. We benefit from sharing each other’s pain and rejoicing in each other’s blessings.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.Colossians 3:16
This verse contains so many helpful tips, I feel as if it’s bursting. Allow God to work through you as you help and encourage and fellowship with other believers.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.Matthew 18:20
Only two or three. Big can be good, but small is more than sufficient.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!Psalm 133:1
David says it well; it is pleasant!
1 Thessalonians 5:12-14
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.1 Thessalonians 5:12-14
Of course, Bible verses about fellowship have to include instructions for that fellowship. We are sinful creatures and far too often fall back into old habits. Gossip, unforgiveness, and discontent can ruin a community of believers.
Community can be used in several ways. Our church family can be our community, our local neighborhood, or our entire town. We are here to be the salt of the earth. God’s love should pour through us and into our families, churches, and communities.
1 Peter 4:8-9
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”1 Peter 4:8-9
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”Ephesians 4:2-6
“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.”Zechariah 7:9-10
Paul is addressing the church here, but be humble, gentle, and patient applies to any kind of community. It also applies to any kind of relationship.
There is a running theme of compassion throughout the Old Testament and this is a perfect example. God wants us to embrace those around us, help them, support them, and love them.
There is no end to the number of scripture about community and loving one another. That love is shown in various ways, one of which is helping others.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of ChristGalatians 6:2
This is my favorite of the Bible verses about helping others because I have seen it played out in my own life.
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.Leviticus 19:9-10
Right from the beginning, God instructed His people to help others, take care of the poor, be mindful of people in your community. We were not meant to be alone.
We are continuing with the concept of community within the church as well as around us and how we need to love in these circles.
Looking on the interests of others takes an effort on our part. An effort to come out of our own minds an take a look around us. It can also mean simply taking time to listen to your friend rather than filling the conversation with the trials and successes of only your life.
So, what does the Bible say about community service?
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”Philippians 2:3-4
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”Galatians 6:10
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”James 2:14-17
There is always opportunity! Some people are a little more difficult to do good to (you know who I’m talking about!) but God requires that we put forth the effort.
How are you feeling about these Bible verses about community? Is there scripture that stands out to you?
May our Lord provide you a faithful community in which to grow and flourish as a child of God and may He fill your heart to overflowing that you may bless the community around you