In Romans 15:14, Paul writes the following:
"And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another." (NASB)
"Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." (NKJV)
"I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another." (ESV)
The word that is translated "admonish" or "instruct" carries the idea of giving instructions in regard to belief and behavior. It suggests warning, teaching, advising, exhorting.
We must keep in mind that this passages falls near the end of Romans. Romans is a letter full of great doctrinal truths about what we should believe and how we should live this out. In fact, if you only had one of Paul's letters, this would probably be the one you would need to have.
In 15:14, Paul tells the Roman Christians that they are able to admonish (instruct, teach, warn, exhort, advise) one another. Based on its location within this letter, it is clear that Paul believes they can effectively teach the great truths of this letter to one another. In fact, the apostle seems to expect it.
Broadly speaking, we see Paul telling the Christians in Rome to admonish one another. They are to spend time teaching and being taught. It is important to see that every Christian is to be admonishing and being admonished. Each is to be exhorting and being exhorted.
This goes along nicely with what we see in Hebrews 10:24-25, where we read, "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 author of Hebrews expects Christians to stir up love and good works. How is this done? It's done through the admonishing/instructing that we see in Romans 15:14.
In order for the above to happen, Christians need to spend time with one another and really know each other. They also need opportunities for this type of communication to take place. In my experience, the best way for this to happen is in informal settings where people are free to talk and relax.
As we think about the 15:14, we should also ask ourselves whether or not the above can happen as our churches gather. In your church family, does one person or a small group of people do most of the teaching/admonishing? Or, is there an expectation that everyone has the responsibility to both teach and be taught?
In your church, is everyone made to feel as if he is the priest he is? Are you reminded that you are, as a child of Christ, competent to instruct others? Or, are only certain people viewed as knowledgeable enough to do the vast bulk of the teaching? If so, who fosters this view?
Paul provides us in 15:14 with another reminder that church life is not passive in nature. As we come together, we need to be prepared to actively edify our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is not an option; rather, it is expected.
The church gathering is not a show. It should not be a ceremony. Rather, the bible describes it as a time when God is glorified through our building one another up in Jesus Christ. This is something Paul tells us that we should do for the good of the body. It is what we all should do.
So, let us actively admonish and be admonished. In doing this, we all grow closer to Christ together.