Question: "What does the Bible say about togetherness?"
Answer: Togetherness can be defined as a feeling of satisfaction in being united with other people for a specific purpose. Simply being in close physical proximity with a crowd of people does not create that feeling of togetherness. A spirit of unity that results when minds are in agreement creates togetherness.
Togetherness has some practical benefits over being alone, and this is true in many situations:
“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).
Togetherness can be either positive or negative based upon the reason for it. A good example of togetherness in a positive context is the togetherness of Adam and Eve. It was not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18), so God created Eve and brought her to the man (verse 22). The principle of a man leaving his parents and cleaving to his wife was thus established, as two become one flesh in marriage (verse 24).
An early example of togetherness in a negative context is the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. After the flood (Genesis 6–8), people began to repopulate the earth. But rather than spread out and fill the earth as God had instructed (Genesis 9:1), they stayed close together and became a law unto themselves. Genesis 11:4 records the leaders saying, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” The exact reasons for this tower-building and God’s subsequent destruction of it have been debated for centuries. Most likely, the togetherness required to build such a tower was related to some sort of idol worship as the people were actively disobeying God. Because they were so unified in their rebellion against God, the Lord destroyed their unity by confusing their languages (Genesis 11:7). This resulted in His plan being accomplished, as people finally did spread out across the earth and subdue it.
When people join together for God’s purposes, He loves it. He chose Abraham’s descendants to become a nation unto themselves (Genesis 12:2) and brought them together to learn His laws and His ways (Deuteronomy 5:31–33). He kept them from starvation during a famine (Genesis 41:53–42:5) and led them out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 14:21–22). Through this unique group of people, God would one day send His Messiah (Isaiah 9:6–7). God blessed them together when they obeyed Him, and He punished them together when they rebelled. Throughout the Old Testament, God often dealt with nations as a whole and blessed them when the people, in togetherness, honored Him (Psalm 33:12; 144:15).
Togetherness is one of the most important themes in the New Testament. In Jesus’ longest recorded prayer, He prayed that His followers would “be one as you and I, Father, are one” (John 17:21). The apostle Paul pleaded with the churches in many of his epistles to “preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Colossians 3:12–14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
The opposite of togetherness is dissension and strife, which the Bible strongly condemns (1 Corinthians 3:3; Matthew 12:25; Romans 13:13). Divisions within the body of Christ halt God’s work through us and turn our focus inward rather than outward toward others. Christ’s church consists of all believers; we have been baptized into His body and gifted in various ways to benefit that body (1 Corinthians 12:7–11, 13). When we work together, rather than each one seeking his or her own agenda, we accomplish more for God’s kingdom. Togetherness in spirit, with Christ as our Head, is God’s ideal for His family.
“How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).