The Believer’s Contribution to Unity


PrayerMake every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).

God, help us to be all that You want us to be.  We are thankful beyond words for the love that You have shown toward us.  Lord, help us to love one another through the sweet and the difficult times. Amen.

Main Scripture: Read Philippians 2:2.

Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind (Philippians 2:2).

Associated Scriptures:

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.  It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.  For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore (Psalm 133:1-3).

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14, ESV).

Correlative Quotes:

The love which we have for one another should prompt us to put up with the eccentricities of our fellow-Christians.[1] – Bob Deffinbaugh

Unity does not imply uniformity...It does imply a common purpose and interdependence within the body of Christ.[2] – Bob Deffinbaugh

Unity in the gospel is the prerequisite for the unity of the church. Christians who affirm the essentials of the gospel are even now united invisibly, enjoying a special communion with one another across denominational lines.[3] – R. C. Sproul



Paul’s desire for the Philippian Christians is that they would live in unity with one another, and in doing so they would make his joy complete.  In Philippians 2:2, he lists the actions that they can take to bring about his desire of a unified congregation of believers.

The four responses found in Philippians 2:2: “being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit, and of one mind.”


  1. Likeminded:

The first action is “being likeminded”, being one in mind, or being of the same mind.  Likeminded, from a biblical perspective, means that they are of the same opinion about biblical matters.  The Philippians had a common experience in their salvation, their relationship with Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 

It would only make sense that they would then have the same mind about spiritual matters. This doesn’t mean that we should agree on every decision made in the church; however, it does mean that we should approach ever decision with the same spirit of cooperation.

  1. The same love:

Another action is to have the same love, be one in love, or maintain the same love. This refers to both the social and the moral usage in its interpretation. 

In John 13:34, we see the same thought in a different context: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  We should love others as Christ loved us, with a sacrificial love.  In love, He gave his life for us. 

  1. One in spirit:

The next action is: “being one in Spirit,” having one spirit, or united in spirit.  We are to be of one spirit with each other and with the Holy Spirit.  In the original text, the phrase is made up of two words: “One” meaning in union with or together and “spirit” or breath, by implication and translation, Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV) explains it this way: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

  1. One mind:

The final action in this verse is being “of one mind,” one in purpose, or intent on one purpose.  As saints we have a common goal or purpose.  Our purpose in life is to glorify God with our worship and in our daily walk.  Along with this main purpose, we are also commanded to lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ, and to disciple them once they are believers, love others as Jesus loved us, grow spiritually, pray without ceasing, give as God has blessed us, and be obedient to and in God’s word. 

When we concentrate on these common goals with passion and purpose as Christ leads us, we will not be led into community disunity.  Christians with the single purpose of glorifying God with their lives do not let the ordinary distractions of the community discourage them from their goal.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NKJV) attests to this fact when it says: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The condition of the Philippian church was good.  However, Paul pushed them to continue to grow spiritually, constantly raising the spiritual bar.  The issues that Paul does not address in this letter to the Philippians speak highly of this church. 

  1. No Morality Issues:

We do not see the issue, of morality discussed in Philippians which would indicate that they did not suffer from moral degradation. Paul was not concerned with their morality.

  1. No Slander Issues:

We don’t see the issue of gossip mentioned in this letter.  It seems that this was an open group who handled their personal problems and concerns with spiritual maturity. 

  1. No Doctrinal Issues:

We don’t see doctrinal issues, indicating that there was theological agreement within the congregation, and there was not yet any outside influence teaching heresy in their meetings.

Summary Statement:

The Philippian church was a strong church and loyal to the Apostle.  However, there must have been some unity issues within the church, or at least the beginnings of this problem, since a major portion of the letter addresses joy in unity.  We, like the Philippian church, must keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  Since all unity is in Christ, it is Him we have to seek continually.

Lessons within the Lesson:

How important is unity to God? (See Psalms 133:1)

How do we prepare ourselves to live in unity with others?

Discuss the four actions Paul is asking the Philippians to take.

What six actions can we take glorify God?

[1] Bob Deffinbaugh, Ibid.

[2] Ibid

[3] R. C. Sproul, Ibid.