What Does the Bible Say About Unity?

By Faith Way

Unity is a common theme throughout the Bible. God desires for His people to live and work together in harmony. Jesus prayed for unity among believers, and the early church provided an example of unity. Unity comes from the Holy Spirit and requires humility, love, patience and effort from Christ’s followers.

Bible Teaching on Unity

What Does the Bible Say About Unity?

God Desires Unity for His People

The Bible makes it clear that God desires unity for His people. In Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17, He prays for unity multiple times:

“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11)

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21)

Jesus prayed that believers would be united just as He and the Father are united. He tied this unity to leading the world to belief in Christ.

The early church provides an example of the type of unity Jesus prayed for. Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-35 describe the believers being of “one heart and soul.” They shared with one another, spent time together, and praised God together. Their unity was a powerful witness that led to the growth of the church.

Paul also emphasized Christian unity. He used the metaphor of a body to describe how the church should function together as one unit, with many members unified under Christ (Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor 12:12). He pleaded with the Corinthians to have “no divisions” among them and to be “united in the same mind” (1 Cor 1:10). Paul urged the Ephesians and Colossians to make every effort to maintain unity (Eph 4:3; Col 3:14).

Benefits of Unity

The Bible indicates many benefits that come from unity among God’s people, including:

  • Brings joy (Ps 133:1)
  • Leads to praise of God with one voice (Rom 15:6)
  • Provides an attractive witness for Christ (John 17:21)
  • Contributes to the growth and fruitfulness of the church (Eph 4:13,16)
  • Gives strength to withstand the enemy (Matt 12:25)

Unity results in God commanding a blessing (Ps 133:3). Our loving God desires the very best for His children, and unity allows the church to experience the full blessings He has planned.

Threats to Unity

While unity is God’s desire, the Bible is realistic that threats to unity exist. Divisions and quarrels among believers date back to the early church between groups like the Hebrews and Hellenists (Acts 6:1).

Pride is a major source of disunity. Philippians 2:3 says to consider others more significant than ourselves. James 4:6-7 notes that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. A proud, selfish spirit that demands its own way destroys unity.

Other threats to unity include:

  • Lack of patience and compassion (Eph 4:2)
  • Disobedience to God’s Word (1 Cor 1:10)
  • Worldly thinking (1 Cor 3:3)
  • Slander and gossip (Prov 16:28)
  • Focus on minor disagreements (Rom 14:1)

Sin hinders the work of the Holy Spirit, who brings unity. As believers walk in holiness and obedience to God, they will experience greater unity.

Fostering Unity

The Bible provides practical advice on how Christians can cultivate unity:

  • Have humility, gentleness, and patience (Eph 4:2)
  • Bear with one another in love (Eph 4:2)
  • Pursue peace and mutual edification (Rom 14:19)
  • Accept one another (Rom 15:7)
  • Admonish one another with wisdom (Col 3:16)
  • Pray diligently for unity (John 17:20-21)
  • Keep your eyes on Christ (Heb 12:2)

As believers fix their eyes on Jesus and rely on the Holy Spirit, they can have patience and grace to work through issues and maintain unity.

Bible Quotes on Unity

What Does the Bible Say About Unity?

The Bible contains many verses that instruct believers regarding unity. Here are some key Bible quotes about unity:

Unity with Christ

“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

These verses emphasize that our unity with Christ enables us to bear fruit. Staying connected to him is vital.

Pursuing Unity

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27)

Paul urges believers to live worthy of their calling in Christ by making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. This requires humility, patience, love, and teamwork.

Witness of Unity

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21)

Our love and unity are a powerful witness for Christ to lead others to belief in Him. Disunity hinders evangelism.

The Bible is replete with instructions regarding the unity God desires for His church. As Christians follow biblical principles of humility, love and patience, they can walk in closer unity for God’s glory.

Examples of Unity in the Bible

What Does the Bible Say About Unity?

In addition to teaching about unity, the Bible provides real life examples of unity among God’s people. These examples illustrate what biblical unity can look like in practice.

The Early Church

The early church in Acts 2 and Acts 4 sets a high standard for unity. The believers were unified in their teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42). They shared possessions, sold property, and gave to anyone with need (Acts 2:44-45).

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32)

The early church provides a practical example of what it means to be of “one heart and soul.” This level of unity was key for the rapid growth of the early church.

Paul and Barnabas

Paul and Barnabas demonstrated unity despite a sharp disagreement. In Acts 15:36-41, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them on their next trip, but Paul did not because Mark had previously deserted them.

“And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed” (Acts 15:39-40).

While Paul and Barnabas disagreed and separated, their conflict did not become personalized or bitter. They continued serving the Lord in different locations. Later Paul spoke favorably of Barnabas (1 Cor 9:6) and Mark (Col 4:10). This shows unity amidst disagreement.

Paul and Peter

Paul also maintained unity with Peter despite confronting him publicly. When Peter withdrew from eating with Gentile Christians due to pressure from Jewish believers, Paul called out his hypocrisy.

“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” (Galatians 2:11)

Peter’s actions were undermining the truth of the gospel and compromising Christian unity between Jewish and Gentile believers. Yet there is no evidence that Paul’s confrontation damaged their relationship. They continued to serve the Lord and maintain doctrinal unity in the church.

Jesus and His Disciples

Jesus provided the greatest example of unity and oneness with God. Although His disciples often disagreed and failed to understand His teachings, Jesus patiently taught them and prayed fervently for their unity (John 17). Even when their faith was weak, Jesus maintained unity with them. He rebuked sin when necessary but always acted in love.

The biblical examples of unity, though imperfect, provide principles for maintaining loving Christian unity through patience, grace and teamwork.


What Does the Bible Say About Unity?


What Does the Bible Say About Unity?

In summary, the Bible clearly emphasizes the importance of unity among believers in Christ. God desires for His church to reflect the unity of the Trinity. Disunity hinders our witness and relationship with God. Therefore, Christians must make every effort to preserve the unity that comes from the Holy Spirit. This requires following biblical principles of humility, patience, love, forgiveness, and fixing our eyes on Jesus. As we walk in holiness and obedience to God’s Word, we will enjoy the blessings of Christian unity for the glory of God and growth of His Kingdom.

Leave a Comment