What the Bible Says about Neighbors

August 31, 2009 at 9:19 am | Posted in Biblical neighbors | 3 Comments
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Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

Matthew 5:43-46

You may have heard the common expression, “Good fences make good neighbors.” As Christians, God has specified two groups of people that we are commanded to love: our neighbors and our enemies. It may be that God grouped these together because they are often the same people!

In several previous posts we have opened the Bible and learned to “S.W.I.M.” (see what it means) concerning some of the doctrines in the Word of God relative to our neighbors. Now we will use an acrostic – N.E.I.G.H.B.O.R. – to help review those lessons.

N.otorious and N.eedy neighbors (Luke 10:25-37): No one would have expected a notorious Samaritan to help someone in need, but Jesus used this as an illustration for us to consider before we decide who is, and who is not, our neighbor.

E.quivocal neighbors (Psalm 12:2-3): Equivocation is “doublespeak” or duplicitous language. We must be wary of neighbors who say one thing and mean another.

I.nsurgent neighbors (Joshua 9:15-16): Obedient Christians are anxious to be “neighborly” toward outsiders, but we are cautioned by God to be careful of those who would pretend to be something they are not in order to disrupt Christian fellowship.

G.lorified neighbors (Luke 14:12-14): Christians ought not to cultivate influential people as our favored neighbors, hoping to get something in return, while neglecting those around us who are truly in need.

H.ypocritical neighbors (Psalm 31:11,15): Our highest level of trust should be reserved for God. There are some neighbors who are friendly when things are going great, yet they are nowhere to be found when trouble comes.

B.eneficial neighbors (Ruth 4:16-17): Believers should teach their children – and encourage one another – to be a blessing, instead of a burden, to their neighbors.

O.bservant and O.btuse neighbors (John 9:8-10): Remember, your neighbors are watching you. When God blesses your life, do not let “luck” or “chance” take the credit. Be sure to let your neighbors know more than “how” you were blessed. Make sure they know by “Whom” you were blessed.

R.epudiated neighbors (Ezekiel 16:26): As faithful children of God we should do our best to maintain a good relationship with our neighbors. However, we are commanded not to give in to the temptation of joining in with sinful practices, even if it means the breaking off of fellowship.

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  1. […] much to say about love. Two surprising groups of people are singled out for love in Scripture: Your neighbors and your enemies (Matt. 5:43 – 44): possibly because they’re often the same people! For if ye love them […]

  2. […] may be: (a) cold and indifferent like a stranger to you – in which case you are commanded to love your neighbor, which includes strangers; or (b) hateful and spiteful to you like your worst enemy – in which […]

  3. […] Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments to Children (see commentary here) 2. How Tall Was Jesus? 3. What the Bible Says about Neighbors 4. Strange Weapons Lesson 3: The Pitcher (factual summary) 5. Parallelism in Psalms 6. Don’t […]


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