09/20/17 Two Better than One

READING: Ecclesiastes 4-6, 2 Corinthians 12

“Two are better than one”

Ecclesiastes 4:2

God created us to be in relationship with other people. In fact, by perfect design He created us in such a way that it is not good for us to be alone (Gen. 2:18). This triune God who is relational in Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit made us to be relational. Too often, though, our sinfulness leads us to be isolated loners who assume no need for anyone else.

The writer of Ecclesiastes, too, recognized the importance of having others in our lives.  Whether in life in general or in laboring daily, it is better, he said, to have companions alongside us: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.  For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Eccl. 4:9-12).

As one writer put it, “Each of us needs the presence, strength, and comfort of having people close to us.”* Having a companion increases productivity, offers a helping hand in a fall, and provides support when needed. And, if two are stronger than one, three are stronger than two – and thus the writer uses the image of a three-strand cord (the strongest cord in the ancient world). An enemy might be able to defeat me if I fight by myself, but it will be more difficult if I have a brother by my side—and even more difficult if I have other brothers walking with me. The more brothers on my side, the more likely it is that I will live in victory.

When I choose to fight battles alone, though, I make myself more vulnerable. I may assume that I have what it takes to struggle alone, but my willingness to try to do so is evidence of my pride and independence. It’s a sign of my sinfulness, not my strength. My foolish choice to fight alone might mean that I will fall alone, too – and “pity the one who falls without another to lift him up” (Eccl. 4:10).


  • Fight against any tendencies you have to being a “lone ranger” Christian.
  • Write a note to someone who has been an affirming companion on your journey.

PRAYER: “Father, thank You for those folks who have been my companions through the years. Help me to be a friend to others.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Ecclesiastes 7-9, 2 Corinthians 13

 *Willard, C. R. (1972). Ecclesiastes. In H. F. Paschall & H. H. Hobbs (Eds.), The teacher’s Bible commentary (p. 380). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.

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